Academic Misconduct


What is academic misconduct?

There are different types of academic misconduct and these include but are not limited to:

  • Plagiarism is the use without adequate acknowledgment, of the intellectual work of another person.
  • Plagiarism through the use of artificial intelligence tools is defined as the unauthorised or unacknowledged use of artificial intelligence tools to generate work submitted for assessment.
  • Self- plagiarism is defined as the duplication of work submitted for assessment which contains material identical, or substantially similar, to material which has already been submitted by the same student for any other assessment.
  • Collusion is another form of plagiarism where two or more students collaborate on a piece of work to be submitted for assessment. This does not apply to authorised group work.
  • Contract cheating is the term used by the university to describe any work submitted for assessment by a student which has not be produced by them. This includes having another person or commercial service (such as an essay mill) create work on your behalf whether this is paid for or not.

Other forms of cheating include but are not limited to:

  • having a phone (switched off or otherwise) or other unauthorised electronic devices or material in an exam;
  • copying from or communicating with another student in an exam;
  • removing exam materials from the exam hall; producing work on behalf of any other student or impersonating another student during an assessment or examination;
  • and any other conduct which gives one student an unfair advantage over their peers.
  • Research misconduct applies to students studying fully research-based degrees and is any form of intentional unethical practise while conducting research.

Disciplinary actions must be taken by the University if academic misconduct is suspected.


What happens if I am accused of academic misconduct?

If it is believed that a case of academic misconduct has taken place then the Head of School will decide if it is appropriate to conduct a preliminary investigation. An allegation might be raised if a system such as Turnitin gives a high similarity percentage. If academic misconduct is suspected the Head of School will contact the registry to find out if you have previously been found guilty of plagiarism or cheating.

If an allegation is raised then you shall be informed in writing of this and invited to a meeting with the Head of School no later than 10 working days from receipt of the allegation. The student must be provided with copies of all evidence supporting the allegation.

The student may be accompanied by one person if they wish, Students’ Union (SU) Advice can represent you at this meeting.

You can view the process flowchart at:

Flowchart students_student discipline.pdf (


What will happen at the Preliminary Meeting?

In the meeting the Head of School (or their nominee) will outline the allegation and may ask you some questions. You will be given the chance to explain the situation.

A member of staff must be present for the purpose of taking a record of the meeting and your Course Coordinator or another member of staff, where appropriate, may be invited.

SU Advice can attend this meeting with you and help you to prepare in advance.


What could be the outcome of this meeting?

The Head of School, having considered all of the evidence submitted, including any statements or explanation provided by the student, may:

(a) decide that academic misconduct has not occurred, or

(b) decide that there are good reasons for believing that academic misconduct may have occurred.

You will be informed of the outcome within 5 working days. If the head of school decides a case of academic misconduct has occurred then the procedure varies depending on the type of misconduct and if this is a repeat offence.


What does it mean if my case is referred for a Discipline Hearing?

If the Head of School decides academic misconduct has occurred and has referred your case on you will be invited to a hearing with an investigating officer. This referral will be done within 5 working days of the outcome of the Preliminary Investigation being confirmed.

The investigating officer will typically come from out with your school. You will be informed in writing of the allegations brought against you, provided with the submission(s) in question and any relevant evidence.

SU Advice can represent you at this meeting.


What will happen at a discipline hearing?

The investigating officer will explain the procedure that will be followed and introduce themselves.

You will be asked if you admit or deny the allegations.

The head of school will then be given the chance to make a statement outlining their initial investigation and findings. Following this you will be asked to respond to the schools statement. You will have the chance to present any evidence or witnesses to support your case.

The investigating officer will follow this with questions to seek clarity on the situation.

A clerk will be present in the meeting to take a record. SU Advice can attend this meeting with you and can assist you in preparing for it.


When will I find out the decision?

You will normally be sent the outcome in writing within 5 working days. If the investigating officer feels they need to collect more evidence there could be a delay, but you will be notified of this.


What could the outcome of this meeting be?

The outcomes of this progress vary depending on the type of misconduct. If this is your first offence of plagiarism/ collusion or cheating (with the exception of contract cheating) in a taught undergraduate or postgraduate course you will likely be awarded a G3 for the element(s) in question, and normal resit rules will apply.

If this a repeat offence then you shall be awarded a G3 for the course and be at risk of expulsion.

If this is an allegation against a dissertation in a taught postgraduate then you will be awarded a G3 for the dissertation, and no resubmission opportunity will be available. Students who are found guilty of contract cheating shall be awarded a G3 for the assessment in question and shall be expelled. If you are found to have committed research misconduct then you shall fail this course and be expelled from the university.

However an investigating officer has the right to impose a lesser penalty than those listed if appropriate.


Will my extenuating/mitigating circumstances be taken into account?

If you believe that personal circumstances have effected your performance in an examination or assessment you should normally notify the school within 7 days.

If this has not been the case, then it is at the discretion of the head of school where to accept this evidence.


Can I appeal the decision?

Yes, you have the right to appeal the decision using the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Appeals.

If you were to appeal an outcome SU Advice can advise you on the ground to appeal and represent you throughout this process. For more information on academic disciplinary, procedure and standard outcomes refer to the University of Aberdeen Webpage:

Academic Integrity | Students | The University of Aberdeen (