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Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct


Cases of suspected academic misconduct should be investigated with care and concern for both the student and the member of staff raising the case.  The University has produced guidance to assist staff in investigating concerns and, where appropriate, taking forward disciplinary action.  

Staff with queries about the process should contact the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA) in the first instance.

Managing investigations

Whilst all academic misconduct is in breach of the University’s disciplinary regulations, it is accepted that misconduct can encompass both minor breaches and serious disciplinary offences.  Where a Chair of Examiners or Degree Committee determine that a minor breach has taken place, they have powers to act within the marking process without holding an investigative meeting, as outlined in the procedure below.  However it should be noted that there must remain a clear distinction between the academic and disciplinary aspects of the case; academic judgement of the work is the responsibility of the Examiners, whereas discipline is the domain of the central University discipline procedures.  Examiners and Examination Boards may not impose any disciplinary sanctions when acting on academic misconduct. 


Identification, detection and prevention

The University offers access to Turnitin text-matching software to assist in the identification and detection of academic misconduct.  Use of Turnitin is not required to take forward investigations, but it can be a helpful tool.  See our pages about Turnitin for more details. 

The following may also be helpful:

  • Forms of academic misconduct
  • The University issued guidance during the 20-21 academic year to staff on managing academic integrity in changing modes of assessment, in response to restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This guidance, while focused specifically within that context, may be useful in considering potential risks or issues in assessment design.  The file may be accessed on the University's coronavirus sharepoint site.

Most forms of academic misconduct can be mitigated, to a greater or lesser degree, through clear assessment design.  The Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning (CCTL) would be happy to discuss your assessment needs and outcomes in more depth.  Your Education Quality and Policy Liaison Officer can also help you in considering course design or assessment challenges.