Manual of Policies and Procedures

C/5.3 Academic integrity

Policy Owner

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)

Approval Date


Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review


5.3.1 Purpose
5.3.2 Application
5.3.3 Roles and responsibilities
5.3.4 Academic integrity and professional capabilities
5.3.5 Supporting students to conduct academic work and assessment with integrity
5.3.6 Academic misconduct
5.3.7 Identifying academic misconduct
5.3.8 Recordkeeping and reporting
5.3.9 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History


5.3.1 Purpose

QUT is committed to maintaining high academic and professional standards and expects students to undertake academic work and assessment in a manner which is fair, honest and accountable. This policy:

  • explains the importance of completing academic work and assessment with integrity including how this relates to the development of professional capabilities
  • outlines how the University supports students to develop an integrity based approach to their academic work and assessment
  • describes the circumstances where failure to uphold appropriate standards of integrity in academic work and assessment can be considered academic misconduct
  • explains the processes for detection and classification of academic misconduct.


5.3.2 Application

While the core concepts of academic integrity apply to all students undertaking any form of academic work, this policy applies to students undertaking undergraduate or postgraduate coursework studies. For research higher degree students, integrity matters are addressed in the QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.6) and in the procedures for managing and investigating potential breaches of the QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.7).


5.3.3 Roles and responsibilities


Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar

  • monitors the effectiveness of academic integrity practices and systems, and is alert to new forms of academic misconduct

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)

  • provides training and support for academic staff to design curriculum and assessment that assists students to build their capacity in ethical scholarly and professional practice
  • utilises institutional academic misconduct data to improve practices in teaching and learning
  • oversees the development and administration of academic integrity resources, training and support for students
  • provides training, learning design support and technology-enabled systems for academic and professional staff to design and implement, and conduct student assessment with integrity
  • provides online resources on academic integrity
Vice-President (Digital) and Chief Digital Officer
  • ensures the provision of academic-integrity related software as required by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)
Executive dean
  • promotes a culture of personal and shared responsibility for academic and professional integrity, for all staff and students
  • promotes academic integrity training and support for academic staff, in their learning and teaching roles
  • utilises faculty academic misconduct data to improve practices in teaching and learning, in consultation with the head of school
Chair, Faculty Academic Misconduct Committee
  • provides advice and assistance to relevant faculty staff on academic integrity matters and the appropriate management of academic misconduct
Unit Coordinator
(or equivalent)
  • designs learning and assessment practices that embody appropriate standards of academic and professional integrity
  • designs and conducts authentication of learning processes
  • determines whether a matter should be managed as minor or major academic misconduct in consultation with the course coordinator (or equivalent) and the relevant Faculty Academic Misconduct Committee
Examinations Coordinator
  • determines whether an allegation relating to a central examination should be managed as minor or major academic misconduct
Teaching staff (including markers)
  • identifies possible academic misconduct
  • adopts an ethical approach to academic work and assessment in accordance with this policy and the Code of conduct - student (E/2.1)


5.3.4 Academic integrity and professional capabilities

Courses at QUT promote ethical behaviour, including honesty, fairness, accountability and the adherence to appropriate codes of practice relevant to a discipline or professional area (C/4.3.3). Academic integrity means adopting an approach to academic work and assessment that upholds these ethical principles. Adopting this approach enables students to develop professional capabilities that are based on strong ethical foundations.


5.3.5 Supporting students to conduct academic work and assessment with integrity

QUT assists students to understand how to approach their academic work and assessment in a way that upholds appropriate standards of academic integrity by:

  • designing curriculum and assessment that link academic integrity with the development of professional capabilities (C/5.1.4)
  • providing students with clear guidance and training on appropriate standards and practices of academic integrity
  • fostering a learning environment based on mutual respect and trust between academic staff and students
  • adopting an educative approach to resolving minor cases of academic misconduct
  • providing practical tools and resources (such as text matching software) that enable students to self-assess their compliance with appropriate integrity standards prior to submitting assessment items.


5.3.6 Academic misconduct

The following actions or practices by a student constitute a failure to maintain appropriate standards of academic integrity and may be dealt with as academic misconduct:

  • defeating or attempting to defeat the purpose of an assessment task
  • misrepresenting the nature and/or extent of the student’s engagement with academic work
  • gaining or attempting to gain an unfair advantage over other students
  • compromising the capacity of the University to validly determine their level of achievement of learning outcomes.

The University may impose penalties for substantiated major academic misconduct (E/8.1.8). A finding of academic misconduct may also have significant implications in professional contexts following graduation. 

Academic misconduct includes:

(a) Cheating in examinations

Cheating in examinations involves any action or attempted action on the part of a student by which the student may gain an unfair advantage in the examination. Cheating in examinations includes:

  • bringing unauthorised material into the examination
  • having access during the examination to unauthorised notes or other study aids, whether on paper, another object, a device, or on the student’s body or clothing
  • any unauthorised communication by any means with others during the examination
  • copying or reading another student's work during the examination
  • failing to comply with standards of conduct during examinations (E/6.1.13) in a way which may compromise the integrity of the examination. 

(b) Plagiarism

Plagiarism involves representing as one's own work the language, ideas or expressions of another person/s. Plagiarism includes:

  • direct copying, summarising, or paraphrasing another person/s work without appropriate acknowledgement
  • using, adapting or developing an idea or hypothesis from the work of others without appropriate acknowledgement
  • copying or adapting non-text based material created by others, such as diagrams, designs, musical score, audio-visual materials, art work, plans, code or photographs without appropriate acknowledgement
  • using another person/s experimental results without appropriate acknowledgment.

(c) Self-Plagiarism

Self-plagiarism involves the re-use by a student of their own work without appropriate acknowledgment of the source. 

Students should seek express consent from the unit coordinator prior to re-using their own work in an assessment submission, noting that this is usually permitted only in situations where all of the following conditions are met:

  • the work has not previously resulted in the student receiving credit towards the completion of an award at QUT or any other institution
  • the work is not currently being assessed for the student to receive credit towards the completion of an award at QUT or any other institution
  • the work was the product of the student’s own endeavours and did not involve group work or collaboration with others
  • re-use of the previous work does not otherwise defeat the purpose or objectives of the assessment task.

(d) Contract Cheating

Contract cheating involves a student engaging a third party to provide assessment work and then representing the work as their own. It is generally characterised by extensive use of the supplied material, with limited additional input from the student. Contract cheating includes, but is not limited to:

  • engaging (whether or not for a fee, other remuneration or benefit) a person, company, website or similar, to produce assessable work or materials where such actions are not specifically authorised in the assessment requirements
  • purchasing or otherwise obtaining prewritten assessable work or materials from a person, company, essay bank, subscription service, website or similar, where such actions are not specifically authorised in the assessment requirements
  • producing or supplying on commission assessable work or materials for submission by another person
  • having another person take an examination, test, online assessment, or other assessment type on one's own behalf
  • taking an examination, test, online assessment or other assessment type on behalf of another person.

(e) Collusion

Collusion involves unauthorised collaboration on assessment items with any other person/s. Collusion includes:

  • working with others to produce an assessment item where such collaboration is not specifically authorised in the assessment requirements
  • sharing completed answers to summative assessment items, where it is reasonable to expect that the material will be submitted for assessment by others
  • sharing detailed examples of work related to assessment items, where it is reasonable to expect that the material will be submitted for assessment by others.

 (f) Other Forms

Other forms of academic misconduct include:

  • misrepresentation, falsification, fabrication, or misstatement of data or information used in an assessment task
  • making false declarations regarding the originality or ownership of, or the student’s engagement with, an assessment task.


5.3.7 Identifying academic misconduct

Teaching staff will normally identify suspected academic misconduct. If a member of the teaching staff suspects that a student may have failed to uphold appropriate standards of academic integrity, the unit coordinator must be notified. Relevant considerations for identification of academic misconduct are as follows.

(a) Determining nature of academic misconduct

In considering a suspected failure to uphold appropriate standards of academic integrity, it must be determined whether the case represents a possible case of minor or major academic misconduct.

The following considerations can be used to assist in assessing whether a case should be considered 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 assessable work in the unit the assessment item represents (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 previously failed to uphold appropriate standards of academic integrity.

(b) Minor academic misconduct

Minor cases of academic misconduct are dealt with in accordance with E/8.1.6.  Minor cases include:

  • incidental plagiarism (inadequate, incorrect or inconsistent citation and/or referencing of sources, paraphrasing too close to the original) including minor copying of material
  • copying of a small proportion of answers to questions at the end of laboratory practicals
  • detection of a student's failure to uphold appropriate standards of academic integrity prior to the actual submission of an assessment item.

Where it is determined that minor academic misconduct has occurred no penalty is applied and the assessment item is graded according to the assessment criteria. Deduction of marks or reduction of grade/s must be justified against the assessment criteria or marking guide for the assessment item.

(c) Major academic misconduct

Where not characterised as minor under C/5.3.7(b), allegations of academic misconduct are dealt with as major cases in accordance with E/8.1.7. If a major case of academic misconduct is substantiated, the Executive Dean or Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar may impose the penalties set out in E/8.1.8.

(d) Content matching and authenticity tools

To assist in identifying potential academic misconduct, students can be required to use content matching or authenticity software as part of the preparation or submission of assessment tasks.

(e) Authentication of learning

If a unit coordinator has reasonable concerns that a student’s actions could be dealt with as a case of major academic misconduct, the unit coordinator may require the student to authenticate their learning.  The authentication process must provide the student with an opportunity to demonstrate their competence or knowledge in the subject matter of the assessment item in question, in a manner that is appropriate to the nature of the assessment item.

This might include (but is not limited to) the unit coordinator:

  • requesting the student to show evidence of resource materials used in the production of the assessment, such as notes, drafts (including electronic versions), sketches, concept drawings and reading materials
  • conducting a viva in which the student’s task-related learning is tested
  • requiring the student to undertake a practical exercise under supervision.

The following conditions apply to the authentication of learning process:

  • The authentication process should be conducted as soon as possible after the unit coordinator has identified that they have reasonable concerns that the student's actions could be dealt with as a case of major academic misconduct.
  • The student will be sent a written request specifying the requirement to authenticate their learning, the method for doing so, and the required timeframe in which the authentication is to occur.
  • The unit coordinator will conduct the authentication process and document the outcome, indicating whether or not the student has successfully authenticated their learning with respect to the subject matter of the relevant assessment item. 
  • The unit coordinator may seek advice, where appropriate, from learning and language educators or other experts in reaching a conclusion about whether learning has been authenticated.
  • If the student does not participate in the authentication of learning process, they may be deemed to have not authenticated their learning.

The unit coordinator will consider the outcome of the authentication of learning process in determining whether to deal with the matter as a case of major academic misconduct under the Management of student misconduct policy (E/8.1).

If authentication of learning has not previously been undertaken or attempted, a Faculty Academic Misconduct Committee may refer a case back to a unit coordinator to conduct an authentication of learning process, provided that no findings have yet been made on the allegations by the Committee.


5.3.8 Recordkeeping and reporting

Consistent with E/8.1.12, records must be maintained for minor and major cases of academic misconduct.  An annual report on academic misconduct is prepared and presented to University Academic Board.

Appeals Committee reports to University Academic Board and Council annually, including on appeals for academic misconduct cases.


5.3.9 Delegations

Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (C132) (QUT staff access only).


Related Documents

MOPP C/4.3 Capabilities for QUT graduates

MOPP C/5.1 Assessment and feedback

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code for responsible conduct of research

MOPP D/2.7 Managing and investigating potential breaches of the QUT Code for Responsible Conduct of Research

MOPP E/2.1 Code of conduct - student

MOPP E/6.1 Examinations

MOPP E/8.1 Management of student misconduct

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, Good Practice Note: Addressing contract cheating to safeguard academic integrity

International Centre for Academic Integrity – Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity


Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
21.09.20 C/5.3.6(d) University Academic Board Revised policy to clarify contract cheating
30.09.19 All Provost Approved position title change for Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) to Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education)
13.03.19 C/5.3.3 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Revised responsibilities resulting from organisational structure changes
17.11.17 All University Academic Board Revised policy to include specific information relating to contract cheating and minor clarification to roles and resonsibilities
09.12.16 C/5.3.3 Enhancing the Student Experience REAL Difference Change Manager Revised policy to include REAL Difference initiative, approved name change for position title, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support) to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Library Services) - effective 03.01.17
07.12.16 C/5.3.6 Chair, University Academic Board Revised to clarify academic misconduct - cheating in examinations
25.11.16 All University Academic Board Revised policy - effective 01.01.17
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)