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Disciplinary Matters

Universities have strict academic requirements. One matter to be particularly mindful of at university is plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you take another person’s original thoughts and ideas and present them as your own work. The consequences of plagiarism are serious, so you need to make sure you get familiar with university policy and understand in what situations plagiarism may occur.

Other examples of academic misconduct may include:

  • Breaches of the university’s rules relating to computer and internet use;
  • Breach of copyright law – such as photocopying large sections of books;
  • Collaborating with other students on assignments that are supposed to be the result of independent study, or copying other students’ work; or
  • Failing to submit work on time or to an acceptable standard.

The academics who teach in universities are experts in their subjects. In most cases they will know just by looking at your work whether you’ve done it yourself. Some courses also require you to submit work online and then use plagiarism detecting software to ensure your work is all your own.

Any kind of academic or student misconduct is a very serious matter. A finding of misconduct can have severe consequences. These may include:

  • Failing a subject;
  • Being banned from using certain university facilities such as the library or computer labs;
  • Suspension – where you are not allowed to enrol in any studies for a certain period of time; or
  • Permanent expulsion from the university.

You will usually be notified in writing and be provided with the Student Rules in relation to misconduct. You can either admit or deny the allegation:

  • If admitting the allegation, a university committee will usually determine your penalty.
  • If denying the allegation a university committee will undertake an inquiry.

It may be possible in some circumstances to have a decision made by a university reviewed by the Courts.


If you have any complaints about university life, there are a number of people at university that can help. Students may make a complaint about:

  • Other students of the University
  • Academic and support staff
  • Visitors to the university
Any matter relating to their course.

There are often formal procedures in place to deal with your complaint. Contact the university to find out information on their complaints policy. You may also wish to contact student organisations or a counsellor to help you with your complaint.


The contents of this page was last updated on 22nd September 2010