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Section 7: Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism in essays and cheating in exams are extremely serious matters. Work where plagiarism or cheating has been detected will be penalised, in accordance with departmental practice. Click on the links below to read the three statements on plagiarism:


Essays submitted must be the candidate’s own individual work. The University Regulations specify serious penalties for candidates who attempt to deceive examiners by submitting work purporting to be their own which is not. At its most blatant, plagiarism in this context can involve copying phrases or sentences of someone else’s work, or closely paraphrasing their words, without acknowledgement, in an assessed essay. Note that drafts and non-assessed work must also have no plagiarised content—use good citation practice throughout the writing process.

Unacknowledged use of web-based material is plagiarism

Special care must be taken with material posted on the world wide web. All sources can be valuable, and you are encouraged to consult as many as you need, provided that you recognise that all documents, however venerable, must be approached critically. The trouble is that anyone can post anything on the web, whether or not it is well considered, and you must therefore be especially discerning when you read or quote from such documents, since it may be that no one else has ever been critical of them.

Use of web resources in no way excuses you from the scholarly responsibility of making proper references to work of authors whom you cite and, as far as you are able, of understanding what they say. Cutting and pasting material from web-sources without acknowledgement is extremely poor practice: if such material finds its way into the final draft of an assessed essay, it will be judged to be plagiarism. Plagiarism counts as cheating, and could cause a student to forfeit his or her degree altogether.

Penalties for plagiarism

The normal penalty is a mark of zero for the examination paper or essay for which the work was submitted, but on appropriate occasions the penalty can be even more severe. For more detailed specification of what counts as plagiarism in philosophical and in literary essays, you should consult the appropriate Departmental Handbooks and the appropriate University Regulations (see links above). If in doubt always seek the advice of your module tutor, personal tutor, or either of the two degree convenors.