College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Academic misconduct

Guidance on investigations into accusations of student misconduct, and the role of College and School Officers in these procedures.

Academic misconduct is any type of cheating that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise. The University takes all reported incidences of academic misconduct seriously and seeks to ensure that they are dealt with efficiently and appropriately.

Please watch the short informative video below which will help guide students to achieve academic sucess and avoid plagiarism in all its forms at the University. 

Guidance Documents

The University has procedures to investigate suspected cases of poor scholarship and academic misconduct. These establish roles at both College and School levels to deal with any suspected cases of plagiarism or cheating.

Information on how Academic Misconduct cases are investigated can be found on the Academic Services webpage

Our Expectations for your Academic Writing

Knowing what is expected in academic work will help you demonstrate good academic practice and avoid problems such as academic misconduct. Plagiarism is the most common form of student academic misconduct and includes using the words, images & other media, or ideas & structure from the work of others, without acknowledgment.

Understanding the following general expectations is a good place to start and will help avoid plagiarism. Your Programme of study may also supplement this with more specific guidance in relation to your subject area.

What can and can’t I do?’

Can I use a proofreader?

Students are normally permitted to engage a third-party person called a proofreader to make suggestions for minor changes in order to improve the readability of written English in an assignment prior to submission; this process is called proofreading. A proofreader can be a friend, family member, paid professional or company. The Proofreading Guidance provides more inforrmation.

What is Turnitin? Is it a plagiarism checker?

Further information on Turnitin and how it works can be found in the Turnitin Guidance.

Can I use a ghostwriting service/essay mill?

The use of a ghostwriting service or an essay mill is referred to as ‘Contract Cheating’ and this constitutes plagiarism. Please read the guidance below which explains what contract cheating is and the potential implications of using such services.

College Academic Misconduct Officer

The College Academic Misconduct Officer is responsible for investigating suspected cases of academic misconduct in students' assessed work. They determine whether there has been an offence, if a penalty should be applied to the assessment, or if the offence is serious enough to proceed to a disciplinary hearing.

The College Academic Misconduct Officer (CAMO) is the main point of contact for academic misconduct within the College.

College academic misconduct panel

Under the University regulations and procedures each College has an academic misconduct panel. Where necessary, the panel interviews students whose assessments are under investigation. The panel's membership is:

  • the College Academic Misconduct Officer (CAMO)
  • a School Academic Misconduct Officer (SAMO)
  • and a College notetaker

The SAMO who interviews the student with the CAMO will not usually be from the student's own School, nor from the School from which the allegation arises. Occasionally, the SAMO from the student's School or a subject expert may be invited to give evidence but will not form part of the panel.

Support for students

Academic Advisers at the Students’ Association Advice Place can advise and support students whose work is under investigation for suspected academic misconduct.  Their service is independent and confidential.  They can be contacted by email at academic.advice@eusa.ed.ac.uk.

Further guidance on academic practice

Information on good academic practice, learning resources, workshops and study support offered by the Institute for Academic Development

Students’ Association guidance for students on academic misconduct, good practice, and plagiarism

The ‘Read, Write, Cite’ campaign

The 'Know Your work' campaign

Guidance on how to avoid plagiarism is available on the Open Educational Resources website

More information regarding Academic Misconduct and the University's procedures can be found on the Academic Services webpage