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Malpractice is defined as any attempt by a student to gain an unfair advantage in assessment.

When you submit work for assessment, you are required to include a declaration that you have followed these guidelines and that the work is your own, including a bibliography and references that show how you have used the work of others. The material referenced must include everything you have used, for example words, images, film or audio found in printed books and journals, content accessed online, material generated by any online service or Artificial Intelligence, and information received through personal contacts (such as interviews and surveys).

The University regards any form of academic malpractice as a serious matter. Where the incident has implications for fitness to practise an academic malpractice incident may lead to the Adjudication or Progress Review Procedure being initiated. 

Five main types of malpractice are defined within the University’s regulations, these are:

  • Cheating in examinations
  • Plagiarism
  • Collusion with other students in coursework
  • Fabrication and falsification
  • Presenting for assessment content generated through artificial intelligence as your own
  • Impersonation including the use of essay mills or ghost writing services, or having work written by friends or family
Confidentiality Policy

This Confidentiality Policy relates to academic work you submit and to any materials used by you in, or outside, the University. This is a generic University policy and outlines what would and would not be considered a breach of confidentiality and what steps are taken by the University if there is a concern that there has been a breach of confidentiality.

Academic Integrity, Plagiarism and Malpractice 

As well as reading this webpage, visit the resources on the following links to understand how to maintain your academic integrity and avoid plagiarism and malpractice, through accurate referencing and increased understanding of generative AI. 

Referencing and avoiding plagiarism

Generative AI 



  • What will happen if I am suspected of Malpractice?

    In the first instance, your tutor should inform you that your work is ‘under investigation’ and your mark for the work will be withheld.

    If the work is found to be ‘minor malpractice’ you will be invited to discuss the item of work with the module leader.  This meeting may result in a number of outcomes, for example, a requirement to resubmit the work within 48 hours or a reduction of the mark.  Please refer to the Academic Regulations - Appendix 3d for further information.  It is important to note that multiple occasions of ‘minor malpractice’ will result in an appearance at a major malpractice panel. 

    If your work is suspected to be ‘major malpractice’ you will be invited to attend a Major Malpractice Panel of Inquiry. 

  • What happens at a Major Malpractice Panel of Inquiry?

    A Malpractice Panel of Inquiry is a formal process where you are invited to a meeting via teams in order to discuss the circumstances surrounding the suspected malpractice. 

    You are permitted to bring someone with you to the meeting for support.  This person will normally be a member of the University, for example, a fellow student.  You can also request support from a Students’ Union Advisor who can accompany you at the panel.  If you do not attend, the decision may be made in your absence.

    The panel is made up of two academic members of staff who are independent and therefore objective.  This means that they have not previously been involved with the setting of the assessment or the marking for the piece of work which you have submitted.  There will also be a secretary to the panel from Assessment & Awards Team who will take the notes of the meeting and advise on procedural/regulatory matters.

    You will be asked to respond to the allegation of malpractice and to either accept that malpractice has occurred or to contest the claim. The relevant Programme Leader (or their representative) may also be asked to attend the meeting if it is deemed necessary by the panel and particularly where there may be an issue relating to Fitness_to_Practice_Policy.

    You will be asked a series of questions by the panel members in order to ascertain if malpractice has occurred.  You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions.

    The meeting will end after the panel has deliberated and agreed upon a recommendation to the Module Confirmation Board (MCB). The secretary will explain the procedures that follow this meeting and this will also be communicated to you formally in writing.

    If it is deemed necessary, the panel have the right to request either a viva or exam conditions test to examine your knowledge of the assessment item in question.  If the panel decide it is appropriate to ask for a viva or exam conditions test to be undertaken the outcome of this activity will be fed back to the malpractice panel in order for them to make a final decision in the case.

    For more information see the  Notes for students attending a Malpractice panel

  • How can I find out more about the University's Malpractice Procedures and Processes?

    The regulations governing Malpractice can be found in full in this document: Malpractice Appendix 3d

    Here you will find a list of possible outcomes of both minor and major malpractice.

  • What is Turnitin?

    The University has a licence for software called Turnitin, which allows students and staff to electronically compare assignments against sources on the internet and other students’ work previously submitted to Turnitin. When work is submitted to Turnitin it does not automatically decide when a piece of work has been plagiarised, it simply points to instances where there are textual matches and provides hyperlinks to the original work.

    You can use Turnitin yourself before you hand in your work to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

    Further information on Turnitin can be found here.

  • What is Intellectual Ownership?

    You are required to sign a statement on submission of an element of assessment declaring that the submitted work is your own. Further information on the declaration of intellectual ownership can also be found in Section 4 of the Malpractice Appendix 3d Governing Academic Malpractice.

    If you fail to sign confirmation of intellectual ownership of a piece of work the tutor has the right to refuse to mark the piece until you have complied.

  • What are my responsibilities when undertaking assessment?

    Staff and students have a responsibility to be aware of the policy and procedures relating to malpractice and to take every reasonable measure to ensure that this does not occur. 

    All elements of assessment must be your own work and any passages quoted, paraphrased or opinions relied upon must be properly attributed and cited using the correct method (Cite them right unless an alternative system has been approved).

    Where group work is an approved part of the assessment process, the assessment instructions will make clear the nature, content and assessment criteria of such group based activity.  The University accepts that a student’s writing will be influenced by the work of others, but such work must not be copied or paraphrased in whole sentences or paragraphs without appropriate acknowledgement. 

    Resubmitting one’s own work in its entirety (or substantial sections) which has previously been submitted for another module or course also falls within this designation.

  • What help is available to ensure I follow good practice while undertaking assessment?

    Malpractice is defined under the University’s regulations as any attempt by a student to gain an unfair advantage in assessment.  The University regards any form of academic malpractice as a serious matter. Where the incident has implications for fitness to practice an academic malpractice incident may lead to the Adjudication or Progress Review Procedure being initiated. 

    Further information on referencing procedures can be found within your Course or Programme Handbook, via your Blackboard site or through Skills@Cumbria. There are online tutorials available through this link to enable you to correctly apply referencing protocols. Further advice can also be sought from your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) or Student Support.

    Further information and guidance within these areas can also be found on the Student Support webpages.

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