What is Academic Integrity?

Academic integrity gives you a foundation for being an ethical citizen and a trusted worker in whatever context you find yourself in.

Acting unethically could get you into trouble, both in university and your later professional life.

There are 3 related components of academic integrity

  • Mechanics: knowing how to study with integrity (e.g. understanding sources, referencing)
  • Membership: belonging and contributing to the academic community
  • Morality: understanding and agreeing with academic values of right and wrong


What are my responsibilities?

The University values academic integrity, honesty and ethical scholarship.

According to the University's Student Code of Conduct (opens in a new window), you are expected to:

  • act honestly and ethically in all your academic work and assessment tasks;
  • give recognition to any direct quotes used from other authors or to those authors whose work has made an intellectual contribution to the contents of your work;
  • acknowledge shared ownership of ideas in group projects or assessment tasks.

What if I do the wrong thing?

If you don't behave with academic integrity, you are likely to face allegations of academic misconduct.

The University's Student Misconduct Rule (opens in a new window) defines academic misconduct as:

"conduct by a student that in any way undermines or otherwise puts at risk the academic integrity of any course, unit of study or assessment (including examinations) or the University's academic reputation".

If an allegation is made against you, the best thing to do is be honest and try to learn from the experience.

There is more information for students (opens in a new window) about academic misconduct proceedings available on the University website.

Two of the most common forms of academic misconduct are plagiarism and collusion. Read more below.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s ideas without showing clearly where they come from, or pretending they are your own ideas. For example:

  • handing in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving them credit
  • failing to use quotation marks when you quote someone’s words
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing a few words in a sentence but leaving the rest of it the same, with or without crediting the source
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not
  • handing in work that you already used for another assignment (self-plagiarism)

(Adapted from Plagiarism.org (opens in a new window), 2017)

In order to give credit to someone whose ideas you use, you need to use an appropriate referencing style. Check the Referencing Styles Guidelines (opens in a new window) for more details.

If you feel that it is appropriate for you to reuse work you have done previously, you must always discuss this with the Unit Coordinator before doing so.

What is collusion?

Collusion is when two or more students, act together to cheat, plagiarise or engage in academic misconduct, or encourage others to do so.

Some other examples of collusion are:

  • providing answers to a friend in an online quiz,
  • submitting a group assignment where not all members have contributed equally,
  • using your electronic device or making gestures during an exam in order to share answers, or
  • leaving your work in an insecure place where other people could copy it (e.g. leaving your laptop open, forgetting to collect your printing)

It can be difficult to understand the difference between collusion and collaboration, especially when you are required to complete assignments as a group. Check out our resources on Group work to develop your skills in negotiation and assertiveness.

Drop into a campus library (opens in a new window) and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian (opens in a new window) or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.