Academic Development and Quality Enhancement

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct policy

The University's regulations on Academic Misconduct are published in Section 2.9 of the Examination and Assessment Regulations Handbook available on the following web pages: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/adqe/standards/examsandassessment

Academic Misconduct includes the following:

  • Collusion
  • Plagiarism
  • Personation
  • Misconduct in unseen exams
  • Fabrication of results

Definitions of academic misconduct [DOCX 14.44KB] for the various types of academic misconduct are included in the Examination and Assessment Regulations Handbook.

It is University policy that the values of academic integrity are promoted.  These values include honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility.  Academic misconduct is prevented by educating students in appropriate academic conduct. Guidance on avoiding academic misconduct can be found on the Study Success at Sussex webpages.  

Concerns regarding academic misconduct must be considered seriously and referred to the Module Convenor. Where a concern has been raised, the student will be given an opportunity to present their case. For cases of academic misconduct which are proven, a penalty will be applied. Penalties that can be applied are detailed in section 2.9.13 of the Examination and Assessment Regulations Handbook.

The flowcharts below and accompanying guidance on these web pages are provided to set out the sequence of events and what is required at each stage of the process:

A list of Academic Misconduct Panel members and Investigating Officers is also available. 

Summary of the process

Where academic misconduct is suspected, the Module Convenor will send an Academic Misconduct Notice of Advice Letter [DOC 32.00KB] to inform the student that a concern has been raised and to refer the student to published guidance on academic integrity in assessment and avoiding academic misconduct. This notice is copied to appropriate members of staff in the School.

An Evidence File will be prepared by the Module Convenor which includes an Academic Misconduct Cover Sheet [DOC 42.00KB] outlining details of the concern raised. This is referred to the Investigating Officer of the School which owns the module, who will confirm the type of case and whether the student has any previous academic misconduct. Their determination could be one of the following:

  • First case of collusion or plagiarism
  • Minor misconduct
  • Major misconduct
  • No case to answer

 In all cases, students will receive written confirmation of the Investigating Officer's decision using the Investigation of Academic Misconduct Letter Template [DOC 33.00KB].

Academic Misconduct Panel

In the case of a major and minor misconduct investigation, an Academic Misconduct Panel will be arranged. This will comprise of three members – the Chair, an academic panel member, and one representatives from the Students’ Union. A note taker will also be in attendance to record the outcomes of each case. Students are invited to attend to present their case and are entitled to be accompanied by either a member of University faculty, for example their Academic Advisor, or a representative from the Student Voice Advocates. 

The Panel will consider the evidence file and hear from the student, if they have chosen to attend. The Panel will then determine if there is a case and apply a penalty, as appropriate. Where the candidate has not been considered by the Panel previously, the Panel will confirm the case as Major or Minor and confirm the associated penalty of a reduction of the assessment mark to zero for a major case or a reduction by 10% points for a minor case. More severe penalties are reserved for cases where the candidate has been considered by the Panel previously.  Outcomes of Academic Misconduct Panels will be confirmed in writing within 10 working days.

Where the case is of exam misconduct and the candidate has not been considered by the Panel previously, the case will be delegated to a designated Chair for decision and the student will not normally be invited to attend a Panel. 

The  Procedure for considering personation cases [DOCX 20.72KB] must be used to consider a case of personation, for example, where a concern that an essay has been purchased online.

First Case of collusion or plagiarism

The Investigating Officer will determine whether the case is major or minor and confirm that it is a First Case of plagiarism or collusion.

Within 10 days of marks publication, the Module Convenor must arrange to meet with the student using the Academic Misconduct Template Invite to Module Convenor Meeting [DOC 30.00KB].  The purpose of the meeting is to explain the proportion of the work judged to be plagiarised or subject to collusion and to explain that the mark that has been determined has been based on the work considered to be the student's own. Guidance is available for Module Convenors meeting with students about a First Case of collusion or plagiarism, Academic Misconduct Guidelines for Module Convenors (First Case) [DOC 45.00KB]. The student will be asked to attend an Academic Practice Workshop and to complete all the assessments. An Academic Misconduct First Case Collusion_Plagiarism Form (15-16) [DOCX 27.22KB] will be completed as a record.

The student may accept the referral to the Academic Practice Workshop or choose to challenge the decision. Challenging the allegation of collusion or plagiarism would involve attending a Panel.

Referral to an Academic Practice Workshop will be recorded on the student's assessment record (but not as a misonduct case).  Attendance and satisfactory engagement at the Academic Practice Workshop will be recorded and will be taken into consideration if a further academic misconduct case occurs.

Where a further concern of collusion or plagiarism occurs (major/minor), the student will be invited to the Panel.

No case to answer

Where there is no case to answer or academic misconduct is not proven, work will be fully marked and the Evidence File pertaining to the case will be destroyed leaving no reference to academic misconduct on the student's record.

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