Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Good academic practice

Following the principles of good academic practice will help you to do better work and avoid academic misconduct.

The basics

When you become a student of the University, you become a member of the University community. As such, there are expectations around how you conduct yourself, especially in the context of teaching, learning, and research. This includes in person and online activities, independent and group work, summative and formative assessment.

You may not be accustomed to doing things in the way you will need to do them at the University of Edinburgh. It is your responsibility to read the University of Edinburgh's official information and guidance about academic misconduct and be aware of the regulations. 

Academic Services – Students

Code of Student Conduct

Expectations for Students

Details of what you can expect from the University and its academic regulatory framework is set out in the Policies and Regulations section of the Academic Services website.

Academic Services – Policies and regulations

Good academic practice

When you're studying at university, it is essential that you act in a way that is consistent with the principles of academic good practice. This will help you to do better work and avoid academic misconduct.

Good academic practice is about behaving honestly, ethically, and with integrity, so that the work you produce is independent (unless specifically a group piece of work), scholarly, and trustworthy. It includes the responsible use of work of others (e.g. data, evidence, ideas) in your own academic work - at university, you will need to use the work of others to develop your argument and conclusions.

A key principle of good academic practice is acknowledging the work of others, through citations and referencing to make it clear where each idea or piece of information comes from. Our web page on Citations and references has general information and useful resources to help get it right.

Referencing and citations

Different subjects have different conventions. For more detailed guidance about good practice in your subject/s, you should follow information provided by your School, for example in the Course information on Learn.

Academic misconduct

Where a student does not demonstrate good academic practice in their work, the University considers this to be academic misconduct. The Academic Services section of the University website includes definitions of forms of misconduct including plagiarism, collusion, falsification and deceit. It also provides guidance about what you can and cannot do, including guidance on proofreading, using Turnitin and essay services.

What is academic misconduct?

The University takes all reported incidences of academic misconduct seriously and seeks to ensure that they are dealt with efficiently and appropriately.

Academic misconduct procedure

Academic misconduct can carry very serious penalties, even if you committed it unintentionally. So, if there is anything you are not clear about, you should ask your School’s Student support team, members of staff who teach you, or your Personal Tutor / Student Adviser and make sure that you understand.

Additional information

There is information and guidance on the University’s policies and regulations, including student appeals and student conduct.

Academic Services – If things go wrong

Edinburgh University Students’ Association Advice Place offers professional advice and information on a range of issues including appeals, complaints, course changes and academic conduct. The Advice Place is an inclusive service for all students at the University of Edinburgh which is free, independent and confidential.           

The Advice Place

The Advice Place also run the Know your work campaign, where they have resources and information on academic misconduct as well as how they can help if you need support.

Know your work

The Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS) provides information on the programmes of study offered by the University of Edinburgh.  This includes the University’s glossary listing the meaning of specific terminology. 

DRPS and glossary of terms