skip to content

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct


All students should be aware that any work submitted may be submitted to Turnitin UK software for screening.

The University subscribes to Turnitin UK text-matching software.  The method of use for this software will vary depending on the subject method and course; some courses will screen all work, while some may undertake random checks or only screen particular pieces of work where concerns have been raised. 

These pages have been designed to give students an understanding of the way the University does, and does not, use Turnitin.  

What Turnitin does

Turnitin compares the text of submitted work to sources in its database, which is made up of internet content, selected journals, and previous student submissions.  The software then provides an originality report, which identifies the extent of matched text by highlighting the matches and providing an overall percentage match.  What Turnitin cannot do is to then interpret this report.  The matched text can often include a number of entirely innocent matches, such as entries in the bibliography, the essay title used by all students, or small matches like "the University of Cambridge".  Reports will be scrutinised by an academic member of staff, who will review the report to determine whether the matches may indicate wider concerns around poor scholarly technique or an attempt to gain unfair advantage, and whether any further action should be taken.

Consequences of matched text

As above, Turnitin can only show the extent of matched text; it cannot make any judgement about the seriousness of the matches, and whether these may indicate poor academic practice or an attempt to gain unfair advantage.  If matched text is identified, the Chair of Examiners (or Degree Committee, as appropriate), will undertake further investigation in line with University procedures.  You may be called for an investigative interview or other disciplinary action. 

It is your responsibility to understand and to demonstrate good scholarly technique and academic integrity.  See our pages on the University's Definition of Academic Misconduct, Students' responsibilities, and Resources and support, to understand what is expected of you.  If you are in any doubt, contact your College Tutor or Director of Studies in the first instance; they will help you to understand expectations and seek support.


The University does not require consent from students to submit work to the Turnitin database for the purposes of academic misconduct detection and education, as this is considered one of the contractual, statutory, or public interest purposes in which we manage your personal data; more information on how your data is used can be found on the University's Data Protection pages for students.  However, you do retain the right to remove your work from the Turnitin database after it has been checked, if you wish.  We hope that you will choose to keep your work within the database so as to maximise the effectiveness of the software and to protect your work from future attempts to plagiarise it.  If you would like to make a removal request, please contact your course administrator in the first instance.

Turnitin FAQs

We have collated some Frequently Asked Questions about Turnitin, to help you understand how it is used.  If you have further queries about the use of Turnitin,  please contact in the first instance.