Sections 29 and 30 of the University's academic regulations include information regarding academic misconduct and the penalties applied where there is a finding of academic misconduct.
During 2020-21 there was a University wide review of the procedures at St Mary's relating to Academic Misconduct and Poor Academic Practice.
Please see here for Guidance on Poor Academic Practice.
A flow chart on the processes involved can be viewed here.
Academic Misconduct Information for staff
Suspected academic misconduct: referral information
Please use the staff referral form to send the following information to email@example.com:
- Student name and regnum
- Confirmation of student programme
- Module code and title
- Assessment type and weighting
- Summary of suspected academic misconduct
- Copies of evidence in support of suspected misconduct (e.g. Turnitin reports, external sources etc…) Please note: Where possible, Turnitin reports should be submitted with a copy of the relevant matched source highlighted. For example, if Turnitin matches a significant amount of text on an internet site, a copy of the internet site's matching text should be highlighted and submitted. It is not necessary to provide a copy of every match but you need to present evidence of suspected academic misconduct to support your referral
- For cases of suspected collusion, both students should be referred to an academic misconduct panel for consideration. Copies of the assessments for both students should be submitted with the matched sections highlighted. A separate referral form is to be sent for each student.
- Confirmation of who will attend the panel as the programme representative. Their role is to outline the case of suspected academic misconduct to the panel
It is important to act promptly. Make a referral as soon as the work is marked, consulting your Academic Integrity Lead as appropriate. There is no need to wait for your Programme Exam Board, or for the confirmation of results. Prompt submission helps to prevent delays in hearing cases, and in reporting findings to the University Exam Board. Delays can cause difficulties for students with progression, or even with graduation.
The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Team offer training on the use of Turnitin online and via workshops. For further information, please contact TEL directly TELTeam@stmarys.ac.uk
Please note: Turnitin is a detection tool for suspected cases of academic misconduct. Originality Reports require further examination by staff prior to making a referral. It is good practice to speak to a colleague where there is uncertainty prior to a referral being made.
Academic misconduct information for students
This page provides details of the St Mary's University Academic Misconduct process for students.
If a module convenor or marker has concerns over the Academic Integrity of an assessment, they can refer these to an Academic Misconduct Panel.
If your work has been referred, you will be notified through your student email, and the personal email address we hold on record for you. You will be given a minimum of 5 working days notice of a hearing. These hearings take place on Zoom. Please note that your hearing takes precedence over other University commitments including lectures, seminars and workshops.
You can be accompanied by a friend or a member of the Student Union to your hearing for moral support if you wish. All the information relating to your hearing is sent within the 'call to hearing' email. This email contains a staff referral form and a copy of your submission (often a Turnitin similarity report).
Please remember to bring copies of supporting documentary evidence to your hearing, otherwise it can’t be considered.
If you wish to appeal against the decision made at your hearing, you must submit an Academic Appeal within 10 working days of the University Exam Board.
Academic misconduct FAQs
What is academic misconduct?
The Academic Regulations outlines that academic misconduct is “an act whereby he or she seeks to obtain for himself/herself, or for another candidate an unfair advantage.”
Please refer to Table 31 in the Academic Regulations which displays a non-exhaustive list of the different types of academic misconduct and its corresponding penalties. But, in short, if you use work that is not your own, you must acknowledge that. This also applies to work that you have used before and gained credit for, whether at St Mary’s or ay any other institution.
I have received a notification letter informing me of an alleged academic misconduct offence. What should I do?
Please ensure you read the letter carefully. Correspondence relating to misconduct is sent via email to your University email account and also to the personal e-mail held by the University.
The notification letter will invite you to an academic misconduct hearing. You must respond to the letter by the deadline outlined and confirm your attendance via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students may seek advice and/or support from the
Please refer to the Academic Misconduct flowchart for a brief overview of the process.
I have been invited to an academic misconduct hearing, can I bring someone with me to this appointment?
You are entitled to be accompanied to the hearing with another St Mary’s student or a Student Union officer.
There is also a free independent student advocacy service called Advent Advocacy whom you may contact for support throughout this process. For your information they may be contacted via email at email@example.com. If you wish, you may also bring a member of this agency to the hearing. Additional information may be found here.
Should you require any reasonable adjustments as a result of a disability then please notify the University via email to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the scheduled hearing so that arrangements may be made.
What happens at the academic misconduct hearing?
A discussion takes place with regards to the allegation and the assessment in question. A panel consisting of two members of academic staff will hear the concerns raised about your work from a member of your Programme Team. You will then have the opportunity to respond and explain how you completed the work. You are advised to bring all relevant evidence and documentation in defence of your case.
I cannot attend the academic misconduct hearing on the scheduled date. What are my options?
If you are unable to attend the hearing on the date and time set, the hearing will usually go ahead in your absence. You may ask to defer and you have the option to send a written statement and any documentary evidence to support your case. All information and evidence provided will then be presented to the Panel reviewing your case at the hearing. This will be taken into consideration when determining the outcome of the investigation.
Please email all evidence in defence of your case to email@example.com by the deadline outlined in your notification letter.
If you do not attend and have not informed the University in advance of your absence the hearing will proceed in your absence.
Can I present extenuating circumstances to avoid the academic misconduct investigation?
No - the Academic Regulations explicitly states “a student may not present extenuating circumstances in mitigation of any type of academic misconduct”
When and how do I find out the outcome of my academic misconduct case?
Usually the Panel will ask you to leave the room while they deliberate and to wait outside the hearing room. In most cases, the Panel will inform you of the decision on your case on the day of your hearing.
Subsequently a formal outcome letter will also be issued to your University email address. This letter will outline to you in writing the allegation, the conclusion of your case and your right to appeal.
What are the possible outcomes of an academic misconduct case?
Sanctions are set out in the Academic Regulations. For a first finding, you would receive a 0 but would have a right to re-sit, with the mark capped at the pass mark. For a second finding, you would receive a mark of 0 and would have no right to a re-sit. A third finding results in termination of studies in all cases. Please refer to Section G Regulation 31 for the Table of Penalties.
Can I be terminated from my programme following an academic misconduct investigation?
In some circumstances.:
- For a first finding on a final re-sit attempt.
- For all second findings, you would lose the right to re-sit. This means that the module would be failed, possibly leading to programme termination if the module were core (or if you are a master’s student)
- A third finding.
I have been terminated from my programme of study following an academic misconduct investigation. Can I take on a new programme at the University?
If you have been terminated from your programme following a third finding of academic misconduct or a finding of misconduct on an independent study module the Academic Regulations make clear that you are not eligible to transfer credits to another programme at the University or be accepted on another programme at the University.
I do not agree with the outcome of my case. What can I do?
If you are not happy with the conclusion of your academic misconduct case you are entitled to appeal the decision. Please visit the University’s Academic Appeal webpage for further information.