Academic integrity, plagiarism and collusion
As a student of Monash University, you’ve joined an academic community that upholds integrity in all academic endeavours and you’ve committed to studying with academic integrity. This means that, when you submit work for assessment, you must adhere to the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility.
How to ensure your own academic integrity
As a Monash student, you’re required to:
- study and research ethically and with honesty and integrity
- appropriately acknowledge the work of others
- study independently on individual assessments
- make sure academic work is not falsified or altered fraudulently
- take reasonable steps to make sure other students can't copy or misuse your work.
Academic Integrity module
Academic Integrity is central to building trust and confidence in the University and its community. At Monash, we take academic integrity very seriously, so we’ve produced a module to make sure you understand why it’s important, your responsibilities, and how to conduct your university studies in an ethical manner.
The module is compulsory for most students studying at Monash. All students and staff can access and complete the module in the Compulsory Units Portal (CUP) at any time. If you’re not sure whether you need to complete this module, check in the Web Enrolment System (WES) on the Enrolment Summary screen (your compulsory modules will be listed in the Status column).
If you’re a new student, you need to complete the module by:
- 30 April, if your studies start in the first half of the year, or in November of the previous year
- 30 September, if your studies start in the second half of the year.
If you’re a current student and you’ve been asked to complete the module, you need to do this by 30 April.
If you have issues accessing the module, see our troubleshooting section further down this page.
About the module
After completing the Academic Integrity module, you’ll:
- understand what academic integrity is, including the difference between plagiarism and collusion
- know why it’s important to you, the University, and the community
- be able to deal with common situations that arise in relation to academic integrity
- know where to find resources to help you improve your academic integrity, knowledge and skills.
What you need to do
Record of completion
This module is not graded, so even after completion, the grade will always be 0%. Once the module is completed, your progress will show as 100% on the Compulsory Units Portal (CUP) dashboard.
If you signed into CUP with your Monash student account, your progress will also be recorded in the Web Enrolment System (WES) (it takes about 15 minutes), if you’re required to complete the module. However, if you signed into CUP using a personal email account (or you’re an MRS student), your student record won’t be automatically updated. We’ll need to merge your personal CUP account with your Monash account to get the completion of the module recorded in WES. Just submit an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'CUP merge required'.
You can check which email address is linked to your account in CUP under the profile icon in the top left corner.
What happens if you don’t complete the module
You'll need to complete the module before the deadline to avoid being encumbered. An encumbrance limits your access to essential University systems and services, including exam results, the library, re-enrolment, assignment submission, and graduation.
Use this information if you’re having trouble accessing or completing the module.
Plagiarism is taking and using another person’s ideas, or way of expressing them, and passing them off as your own by failing to give appropriate acknowledgement. This includes material sourced from the internet, staff, other students, and published and unpublished works.
- paraphrasing and presenting another person’s work or ideas without a reference
- copying work either in whole or in part
- presenting designs, codes or images as your own original work when they are not
- using exactly the same phrases, passages or structure without reference to the author or source
- reproducing lecture notes without proper acknowledgement.
For each new assignment that you submit, you're required to complete original work. Copying part or all of your own past assignments and resubmitting them is a form of plagiarism and a breach of academic integrity.
Collusion is the unauthorised collaboration on assessable work (written, oral or practical) with other people.
Collusion may be with another Monash student or with anyone external to the University. This applies to work assessed by Monash or another university.
Collusion occurs when, without the authorisation of the teaching staff, you:
- work with one or more people to prepare and produce work
- allow others to copy your work or share your answer to an assessment task
- allow someone else to write or edit your work (except for the use of a scribe approved by Disability Services)
- write or edit work for another student
- offer to complete academic work for other students.
Proofreading that is compliant with the University's definition is acceptable. For details, see Student Academic Integrity Procedure - Section 1.11 (pdf, 0.25 mb)
Cheating can come in many forms, and can occur in exams and other types of assessments. To cheat could be to copy the work of others, to get someone to do your assessment for you, or to bring unauthorised materials into an exam. Cheating breaches academic integrity and Monash University has various methods of detecting it.
Cheating is a very serious offence and could result in suspension or exclusion from the University.
Find more information on exam conduct.
What happens if academic integrity is breached?
If a staff member suspects you’ve breached the Assessment and Academic Integrity Policy (pdf, 0.25 mb) (e.g. by plagiarising or colluding), they are required to:
- inform you of the suspected breach
- show you the evidence of the breach
- ask you to respond
- report the matter to the Chief Examiner (or nominee).
You’ll have the opportunity to respond, usually in person. You can ask to have a support person with you in the meeting.
If you’re not able to attend a meeting, you’ll receive details of the breach, asking for your response within 10 working days.
Breaches due to poor academic practice (i.e. neither intentional nor reckless)
If it’s found that the breach is neither intentional nor reckless, you will have to participate in additional academic skills development and will be warned about the consequences of academic misconduct. Your work will be marked on its merit, reflecting the poor academic practice indicated by the unintentional breach, and may result in:
- loss of marks
- re-marking to exclude the section of work that breaches academic integrity
- resubmitting all or part of the work.
A warning is recorded on a University register for seven years to document that you’ve been counselled about academic integrity rules.
Breaches due to academic misconduct (i.e. intentional or reckless)
If the breach is found to be intentional or reckless, the matter is reported to the Associate Dean of the faculty and will be investigated as academic misconduct. The Associate Dean (or nominee) may deal with the matter or refer it to a student misconduct panel.
For more information on the panel hearing process, see Part 7 of the Monash University (Council) Regulations (pdf, 0.25 mb).
The penalties depend on the seriousness of the offence and whether you’ve been counselled before.
- a zero mark for the assessment task
- a zero mark for the unit
- suspension from the course
- exclusion from the University.
Where a penalty or disciplinary action is applied, the outcome is recorded and kept for seven years, or for 15 years if the penalty was exclusion.
Complete one or more of our modules to understand the responsibilities of upholding and maintaining academic integrity. Library resources explain everything from plagiarism to collusion and referencing.
At Monash, you’re required to declare the integrity of your assessment by submitting an assessment cover sheet with any assessable work (except for exams). This may be a hard copy or electronic document, as specified by your teaching staff. For some assignments, this is submitted online in Moodle, where you tick a box after reading a statement.
The cover sheet lists the documents you must read to ensure that you understand how to avoid breaches of academic integrity. These documents are:
- Student Academic Integrity Procedure (pdf, 0.25 mb)
- Assessment and Academic Integrity Policy (pdf, 0.16 mb)
- Part 7 of the Monash University (Council) Regulations.
Your faculty will be able to provide you with resources and support to help you develop study skills that uphold the University’s academic integrity standards.