Academic integrity and plagiarism

Academic integrity is important, because students who cheat risk their academic and future careers. Graduates must enter the workforce with the necessary skills, knowledge, and competency. 

You will use other people’s ideas, combine them with your own and produce your own independent academic work. When doing this, you must be:  

  • Honest about which ideas were derived from others 
  • Act fairly by not taking credit for others’ work
  • Take responsibility by finding out what is required of you and how you should carry it out
  • Show respect for others by acknowledging the part they have played in building your knowledge and understanding 

University Centre South Devon (UCSD) is proud to have signed up to the QAA Academic Integrity Charter to promote academic integrity and act against academic misconduct.  More details can be found here: Academic Integrity Charter (


Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s work as your own, without acknowledging its source, and it is an offence under UCSD regulations. You can be guilty of plagiarism even if you did not intend to imply that the work was your own.  

When you first join UCSD, you will be given advice on how to prepare and reference individual and group work in an appropriate academic manner. By following this advice carefully, you should avoid any inadvertent plagiarism of others’ work.  

Originality checker

Turnitin is a text matching tool. It helps academic staff at UCSD to detect the originality of your work, for you to better understand good academic practice and reference material correctly. Click on the link below for more information. 

The Plagiarism Spectrum 

There are penalties and procedures in cases of suspected plagiarism. See the Academic Policies and Procedures page and click on either: 

  • University of Plymouth Examination and Assessment Offences Procedure if you are studying on a UoP programme
  • UCSD Examination and Academic Offences Procedure if you are studying on a UCSD programme 

Avoiding plagiarism 

Unintentional plagiarism often occurs because of poor academic practices, particularly around referencing. Follow this link for more information Referencing 

Avoid citing your own work from previous assignments for which you have received marks already, as it is self-plagiarism malpractice.

Individual work, sometimes including specific components of group tasks, must genuinely reflect your own efforts. You must avoid any practices that could mean that you cannot honestly claim that the work submitted is your own. 

Do not use plagiarism detection websites or essay mills

You may have seen websites that claim to offer free plagiarism checks. We strongly advise that you do not use any essay checker, note sharing or plagiarism detector service at any time while you are a student at UCSD.

Submitting your work to essay checking websites may result in your essays being sold to other students and could mean that your work shows up as being stolen or plagiarised when you submit it through Turnitin.

Do not use essay mills, not only will it result in serious penalties for lack of academic integrity, but such businesses are now illegal in England and there is a real possibility that you may be subject to extortion by the essay mill for several years.  

Working with others: collaboration not collusion

Collaborating with other students to enhance your learning is encouraged at UCSD, but you must understand the boundaries between acceptable collaboration and unacceptable collusion.  

Your lecturers will provide guidance when collaborative group work is expected, and you must not exceed those limits.  

Useful Links 

You can use material that has a copyright in your academic work for assessment purposes, subject to limitations and it being correctly referenced. See Copyright for study 

If you use material that ahs a copyright for any other purpose, you must get permission from the copyright owners.  

It is possible to find free-to-use content online.  Several websites make material available for free use under licences See Creative Commons