Plagiarism is something that you will hear talked about a lot on the International Pre-Master’s Programme, as it is something that we take very seriously. On the programme, we will be teaching you what plagiarism is, why you mustn’t do it, and how to avoid it.
Very basically, plagiarism is when you hand in a piece of work which is not completely your own, but which you are saying is your own. This may, for example, be an essay or presentation that someone else has corrected for you, or even written for you (this also includes translation software). It may be work that includes large sections copied from the internet or books written by other people but which you are pretending is your own work (perhaps by not telling your reader where these sections have come from). All of these are serious academic offences.
You must also remember that a key goal of this programme is to improve your academic English skills. This is something to think about in terms of using proofreading. We do not accept or want you to rely on external services in the sense of getting someone to extensively correct you work for you. When you submit your academic assignments, we will check for plagiarism using software called Turnitin. Everybody has a very individual style of writing and your tutors will become very familiar with yours. When marking your assignments, they will therefore be able to detect very easily any work which is not your own.
At university you are expected to refer often to the articles, research and books you have read in your own writing, but these references to other people’s work must be used to support your own arguments, and not the other way around. Essays which include too many references (particularly quotations) can also be plagiarised if there is not enough of your own work or ideas.
International students (and indeed British students!) sometimes find it very difficult to express other people’s ideas in their own words, as a paraphrase or a summary, but it is one of the most important skills that you will have to acquire before starting on your degree programme next September. It is also a learned skill, and therefore one that you can certainly improve and develop with practice.
On this programme, you will be taught how to avoid plagiarism and how best to incorporate other people’s ideas into your own writing and in your own words. At the beginning of the programme we will ask you to do a ‘Plagiarism Awareness Task’ so that we can assess right at the beginning how much you actually know about plagiarism and the kind of help you need to develop your own referencing skills. You can find ‘Guidelines to Citing and Referencing’ in Appendix I to help you with this.
The College Statement on Plagiarism and a Plagiarism Declaration form can be found here. You must submit a signed ‘Plagiarism Declaration’ at the start of your studies which will cover all your work for that period.
The procedure for dealing with suspected plagiarism is as follows:
If a substantial amount of plagiarism in an assignment (see below for situations which may be considered plagiarism) is suspected, then the course coordinator will discuss the matter with the student and the examiner in question.
If the course coordinator then decides that there is no case to answer, the assignment will be returned to the examiner for marking (although poor referencing/sourcing may still mean that it loses a substantial amount of marks).
If, however, the plagiarism is prima facie minor plagiarism (i.e. that the amount of the suspect material amounts to less than 20% of the assignment), then, if this if this is the first time that this has occurred and the student admits that this is the case, the assignment will be awarded a mark of zero. The option to resubmit the work remains unchanged.
If this is not the first time, or the student does not admit that there is plagiarism in the document, then the matter will be referred the Director of Students and Education Support for formal proceedings under the college misconduct regulations.