Alleged plagiarism or academic dishonesty: What happens now?

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences takes academic dishonesty and plagiarism seriously. All students are expected to commit to high standards of academic honesty, to carefully acknowledge sources and to practise good writing skills.

If a unit of study coordinator suspects academic dishonesty or plagiarism, they will advise the Faculty’s Academic Honesty Coordinator of their concerns. If the Academic Honesty Coordinator is concerned that a student may have committed academic dishonesty or plagiarism, they will contact the student via their University of Sydney email account.

The Academic Honesty Coordinator will clearly explain their concerns about the student’s work and will advise the student of the type of misconduct that is alleged. The Academic Honesty Coordinator will will also offer the student an opportunity to respond to the allegation and address any concerns that may have been raised, either at a meeting or in writing.

Please note that where a student fails to respond in writing or attend a meeting, the Academic Dishonesty Coordinator will make a decision and determine a penalty.


The Process

Step 1 - Being advised of allegation & being asked for your response

You will be emailed a letter explaining the concerns about your work. The letter will include the following information:

  • the allegation (the concerns about your work);
  • the preliminary view of the nominated academic (does it appear you have committed academic dishonesty, negligent or dishonest plagiarism);
  • ­details of how you may respond, be that in writing or at a meeting;
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    the names of the people who will be at the meeting if that is your preferred option; and
    ­advice that you may bring a support person or student representative to the meeting if it is to be held.


You will also be provided with a copy of (or a link to) the University of Sydney's Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism in Coursework Policy.

The letter may also provide supporting documentation to help you understand (and be able to respond to) the allegation.

Step 2 - Preparing for the meeting or your written response

  • You should prepare your response to the allegations.
  • You should plan to attend the meeting requested by the Academic Honesty Coordinator, and advise the Faculty whether you can attend. If you cannot attend the meeting, and an alternate time cannot be arranged, you may respond to the allegation via email.
  • You should consider seeking advice from the SRC or SUPRA on how to respond to the allegation. You can also decide if you wish a representative from the SRC or SUPRA, a friend or family member to accompany you to the meeting.
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    Carefully review any materials you are sent and decide how you wish to respond.
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    Contact the Faculty’s to indicate whether you will be attending your scheduled meeting or if you intend to response in writing.

Step 3 - Attending the meeting

During the meeting the Academic Honesty Coordinator will discuss their concerns about your work.

You will have the opportunity to respond to the allegation (concerns about your work) and to ask questions.

If at any stage you are unsure about the concerns raised, or you do not understand something, please ask the Academic Honesty Coordinator for more information.

­Be willing to ask the Academic Honesty Coordinator for more information if you are unsure about the concerns raised or you do not understand something.

Responding in Writing

If you choose to respond in writing, you should:
Provide a detailed response to the acknowledging the specific problems identified in your assessment task
You can provide evidence to support your case (attach supporting documentation to your email)
You can ask any questions or raise any concerns to the Academic Honesty Coordinator.

­Check your university e-mail account frequently so that you can respond to any further questions the Academic Honesty Coordinator may wish to pose to you as soon as possible.
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You should provide any additional information or documentation as requested as soon as possible.

Step 4 - The decision (and the penalty)

After hearing your response and carefully considering the case, the Academic Honesty Coordinator will make a decision.

The Academic Honesty Coordinator may decide that there has been no impropriety (that there was no plagiarism or academic dishonesty), in which case there would be no penalty and your assessment would be marked as normal.

If the Academic Honesty Coordinator finds you have committed academic dishonesty, negligent or dishonest plagiarism (that is less than student misconduct), then the Academic Honesty Coordinator will also decide the penalty.

Please note that if the Academic Honesty Coordinator believes that you may have engaged in student misconduct (serious academic dishonesty or serious dishonest plagiarism), then the case will need to forwarded to the Registrar for consideration by the Vice Chancellor.