Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity at UNSW

UNSW has an ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of learning informed by academic integrity. All UNSW staff and students have a responsibility to adhere to this principle of academic integrity. Plagiarism undermines academic integrity and is not tolerated at UNSW. Plagiarism at UNSW is defined as using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own.

The UNSW Student Code provides a framework for the standard of conduct expected of UNSW students with respect to their academic integrity and behaviour. It outlines the primary obligations of students and directs staff and students to the Code and related procedures.

In addition, it is important that students understand that it is not permissible to buy essay/writing services from third parties as the use of such services constitutes plagiarism because it involves using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. Nor is it permissible to sell copies of lecture or tutorial notes as students do not own the rights to this intellectual property.

Where a student breaches the Student Code with respect to academic integrity, the University may take disciplinary action under the Student Misconduct Procedure.

'Working with Academic Integrity' online module

‘Working with Academic Integrity’ is a six-lesson interactive self-paced Moodle module exploring and explaining all of these terms and placing them into your learning context. It will be the best one-hour investment you’ve ever made. 

Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting another person's work or ideas as your own. Plagiarism is a serious breach of ethics at UNSW and is not taken lightly. So how do you avoid it? Watch this one-minute video for an overview of how you can avoid plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism

Examples of plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, are:

CopyingUsing the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment without appropriate acknowledgement.
Inappropriate paraphrasing

Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement.

This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.


Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work.

This should not be confused with academic collaboration where there has been general group discussion about a project or question but where each student writes his/her own answer.

Inappropriate citationCiting sources which have not been read without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially.

Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.


See next: What is plagiarism?