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Academic dishonesty and plagiarism

Contract cheating and impersonation

Contract cheating involves getting someone else to complete part or all of your assessment task then submitting it as your own work. It doesn’t matter whether the person was paid. This can mean you have someone else write an essay or report for you (sometimes referred to as ‘ghostwriting’), or you get someone to sit your examination.

It is considered contract cheating if you:

  • buy a completed assignment from a tutoring or ghostwriting company
  • pay a private tutoring company to coach you on how to complete an assignment
  • submit 'model' assignment answers provided by a private tutor or tutoring company
  • buy, sell or swap completed assignments via 'study notes' websites and social media platforms like Facebook and WeChat
  • get someone to sit an exam for you, or sit an exam for someone else 
  • provide answers to a friend who messages you during a formal exam
  • share a completed assignment with a friend or partner, or get a partner, friend or family member to write part or all of an assignment
  • use an editing or proof-reading service without acknowledging their assistance as required under section 7 of the Academic Honesty Procedures 2016.

The following behaviours are associated with contract cheating and may be considered personal misconduct by the University. In some cases, these behaviours might also be against the law.

  • Uploading the University's copyright teaching materials such as unit of study outlines, lecture slides and assignment questions to 'study notes' sharing websites so that you can access documents uploaded by other students.
  • Selling or sharing the University's teaching materials with private tutoring or ghostwriting companies.
  • Booking University venues on behalf of private tutoring companies who illegally use the University's teaching materials to provide their own services to students for payment.
  • Providing your Unikey login details to private tutoring and ghostwriting companies so that they can access teaching materials hosted in Canvas.

The University takes contract cheating, misconduct and impersonation very seriously and applies severe penalties under the student discipline chapter of the University of Sydney By-Law 1999 (as amended). This may mean you fail your unit of study, or that you are suspended or expelled from the University.

Office of Educational Integrity


The University will be closed from Monday 25 December until Monday 8 January.

You can still reach the the Student Centre by phone and online during this time.

Last updated: 12 February 2019

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