Manual of Policies and Procedures

C/5.3 Academic Integrity

Contact Officer

Director, Governance and Legal Services

Approval Date


Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review


5.3.1 Policy principles
5.3.2 Policy outcomes
5.3.3 Application
5.3.4 Definition of relevant terms
5.3.5 Failure to maintain academic integrity
5.3.6 Identifying and determining minor or major cases of failing to maintain academic integrity
5.3.7 Appeals
5.3.8 Recordkeeping and reporting
Related Documents
Modification History

5.3.1 Policy principles

QUT is committed to maintaining high academic standards in all of its course and unit offerings, and expects students to conduct themselves in a manner which is fair, honest and consistent with the principles of academic integrity, particularly when undertaking assessment (E/2.1).

Courses at QUT promote ethical behaviour, which includes valuing and promoting truth, accuracy, honesty, accountability and the code of practice relevant to the discipline or professional area (C/4.3.3).

The University is committed to providing clear guidance and assistance to students to ensure that they understand the requirement to maintain academic integrity and are aware of the consequences of a failure to do so.

Any actions or practice by a student which defeat the purpose of assessment is regarded as a failure to maintain academic integrity and will be dealt with as student misconduct under the procedures set out in E/8.1.


5.3.2 Policy outcomes

This policy is intended to

  • define and articulate the importance of maintaining academic integrity
  • assist in identifying failure to maintain academic integrity
  • outline what constitutes major or minor cases of failing to maintain academic integrity, and the procedures for dealing with each.


5.3.3 Application

This policy applies to students undertaking undergraduate or postgraduate coursework studies. Where allegations of a failure to maintain academic integrity arise in relation to postgraduate students undertaking a research higher degree, the matter will be dealt with under the University's Code of Conduct for Research (D/2.6).

Academic integrity issues will be dealt with within the faculty designated as the "owner" of the unit for administrative purposes.


5.3.4 Definition of relevant terms

For the purposes of this policy, "Course Coordinators/Unit Coordinators" include similar roles in different faculties and QUT International College including for example Undergraduate Coordinator, Subject Area Coordinator, Discipline Leader etc.


5.3.5 Failure to maintain academic integrity

Failure to maintain academic integrity includes, but is not limited to, the following.

(a) Cheating in examinations

Cheating in examinations includes any action or attempted action on the part of a student which might gain that student an unfair advantage in the examination. Common methods of cheating include:

  • bringing into the examination unauthorised material
  • having access to unauthorised written notes either on paper or another object, or on the student’s body, during the examination
  • unauthorised communication with others during the examination through speaking to others or via electronic means
  • copying or reading another student's work during the examination.

(b) Plagiarism

Plagiarism involves representing another person's (or persons') ideas or work as one's own. It may also include resubmitting one's own work for another assessment item.

Common forms of plagiarism include

  • direct copying, summarising, or paraphrasing another person's (or persons') work without appropriate acknowledgement of the sources (such acknowledgment must take the form required by the particular discipline)
  • using or developing an idea or hypothesis from another person's (or persons') work without appropriate acknowledgement
  • representing the work of another person (or persons') as the student's own work
  • copying non-word based material such as diagrams, musical score, audiovisual materials, art work, plans etc and presenting them as one's own work
  • using another person's (or persons') experimental results as one's own or without appropriate acknowledgment.
(c) Other forms

Other forms of failing to maintain academic integrity include, but are not limited to

  • giving, or providing for sale one's own work to another person, company or web-site etc for copying or use by another person
  • misrepresenting, falsifying, misstating or fabricating data, for the purpose of assessment
  • purchasing or otherwise obtaining assessment material through individuals, companies or web-based tools/services
  • collusion or collaborating with others where not authorised in the assessment requirements.


5.3.6 Identifying and determining minor or major cases of failing to maintain academic integrity

Identifying a failure to maintain academic integrity

Teaching staff will normally identify potential breaches of academic integrity. If a teaching staff member suspects that a student may have breached the academic integrity policy, the unit/course coordinator should be notified.

To assist in identification of potential breaches, unit/course coordinators may require students to authenticate their learning on the assessment item (for example, by showing notes/drafts/resource materials used in the preparation of the item, or by undertaking a viva or practical based exercise).

The unit/course coordinator may also require that a student or students use content matching software to assist in verifying that original work has been submitted, and/or to supply reports generated by such software as part of the conditions of assessment for particular units or particular assessment items. The use of content matching software for this purpose must be clearly stated in the unit outline for the particular unit.

For dealing with cases of failure to maintain academic integrity, it must be determined whether the case represents a minor or major breach.

The Unit Coordinator in conjunction with the Course Coordinator (or the Examinations Officer, Student Business Services, in relation to cheating in central examinations) is responsible for determining if a case is minor or major.

The following considerations can be used to assist in assessing whether the breach is minor or major

  • Extent – how much of the assessment item is in question (for example, a few sentences or several paragraphs); and what proportion of the marks for the entire unit does this assessment item represent (for example, 10% or 50-60%)
  • Level – at what level is the student in their course and how long has the student  been at QUT
  • Knowledge – the student’s exposure to the accepted practices, and cultural norms  (for both domestic and international students)
  • Discipline – what are the accepted practices in the  student’s discipline and the extent to which these practices have been made clear to the student
  • Recidivism – whether the student has been found to have breached the principles of academic integrity in the past
(a) Minor cases

Minor cases of failing to maintain academic integrity include, but are not limited to

  • incidental plagiarism (inadequate, incorrect or inconsistent citation and/or referencing of sources, paraphrasing too close to the original) including minor copying of material, such as copying up to a few sentences (note that this may sometimes be inadvertent, for example, if a student mistakes a verbatim transcript in their notes as their own words)
  • copying of a small number of answers to questions at the end of laboratory practicals

Where it is determined that a minor breach of academic integrity has occurred, the Unit Coordinator should grade the student as appropriate to the criteria for the assessment item, and provide an explanation if low marks have been given against specific criteria relating to appropriate referencing or acknowledgment of source material. No penalty (as set out in E/8.1.8) is applied.

Procedures for dealing with minor cases are found at E/8.1.6.

(b) Major cases

All other cases of failing to maintain academic integrity are dealt with as major misconduct in accordance with procedures set out in E/8.1.7. If a major case of misconduct is proven, the Registrar may impose the penalties set out in E/8.1.8.


5.3.7 Appeals

University Appeals Committee considers appeals on disciplinary matters. A student upon whom a penalty has been imposed under this policy is entitled to appeal to the Appeals Committee on the grounds listed in E/8.1.10.


5.3.8 Recordkeeping and reporting

Records must be maintained for minor and major cases of failure to maintain academic integrity, and in accordance with E/8.1.11.


Related Documents

MOPP E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct

MOPP E/8.1 Management of student misconduct


Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
23.03.12 C/5.3.6 University Academic Board Inclusion of specific information on the use of content matching software and other minor changes
02.12.10 All Chairperson, University Academic Board Periodic review - Minor changes executively approved
31.08.10 All Governance Services Policy revised to reflect introduction of new student discipline framework from 01.09.10
14.11.08 All University Academic Board Policy renumbered to C/5.3 (formerly C/9.3)
15.12.07 C/5.3.2 Vice-Chancellor Removed reference to Executive Director, Northern Campuses (position disestablished from 31.12.07)
06.02.03 C/5.3.5 Chairperson, University Academic Board Revised procedures for dealing with cheating in central examinations
29.11.02 All University Academic Board New procedures, effective from beginning of 2003 academic year (replaces procedures for dealing with cheating and plagiarism)