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Plagiarism

The essays you submit MUST be your own work. If you quote directly from the authors whose books and articles you have read you must indicate that you have done so; you should not copy material from other students. To do so is cheating, just as much as copying in an examination, ands will be punished as such by the Department and the University. You should bear in mind that, in fact, the great loser if you plagiarise is yourself. One of the most important skills which you will acquire in the course of your three years is the ability to formulate and express your own ideas in your own way; if you copy someone else's work you are not merely cheating but you are also throwing away one any hope of developing and improving on one of the skills which will make you most employable after you graduate.

You will be required to sign a declaration that your work is your own with each essay or other piece of work you submit for assessment. Read the declaration on the form and be sure you understand it fully before you sign. If you have any doubts about what plagiarism is, or about how to avoid it you should consult with your tutor for the module concerned or with your personal tutor. In particular try to ensure the your notes you take from books and articles make clear what is and what is not direct quotation from the author so that there is no chance of accidental plagiarism.

The University has made the following Regulation on plagiarism and its consequences when detected.

To plagiarise is to take and use another's thoughts or writings as one's own. In a University context, plagiarism includes copying or paraphrasing ideas from published texts without citing the source, and also copying from another student's work or from other unpublished material. It applies not only to essays and dissertations, but also to scientific experimentation, diagrams, maps, fieldwork, computer programmes and all other form of study where students are expected to work independently and produce original material. The University regards plagiarism as cheating and treats it as a most serious offence. It has authorised departments to impose an appropriate penalty whenever plagiarism is identified; these penalties vary in severity depending on the extent of the offence, but may include:
  • the requirement that work should be resubmitted
  • the downgrading of the mark allocated to the work
  • the allocation of a mark of zero to the work
  • the downgrading of the final degree class

It will normally be the case that for an offence in relation to assessed work which contributes towards a module mark but not to the final degree classification, the module mark will be downgraded to zero.

It will normally be the case that for an offence in relation to assessed work which contributes towards the final degree classification, the degree will be downgraded by one division.

In cases where the penalties outlined above appear insufficient, or where the nature of the offence is such that a Board of Examiners believes that it cannot be appropriately dealt with at departmental level, a student may be referred to the Registrar and the Deans of the Faculties for consideration under the Code of Student Discipline.

Any student who knowingly allows any of his or her academic work to be acquired by another person for presentation as if it were that person's own work is party to plagiarism, and such a case will be referred to the Registrar for consideration under the Code of Student Discipline.

All cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Academic Registrar and placed on a central record.

Any student in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism should refer to the relevant sections of departmental or course handbooks, or consult their personal or academic tutors.

In general terms it is better to submit an essay, even if it does not quite reach the standard you might hope to achieve, rather than to submit nothing; in every case it is better to submit nothing rather than to submit a plagiarised essay.

 

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Last updated: 10 October 2002
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