Behaving with academic integrity

Academic integrity is important to you and to the university. When you act with integrity you are being fair and honest, taking responsibility for your own learning. You have the opportunity to maximise your learning so you are adequately prepared for your future. You will be a confident and capable graduate with skills and capabilities that are valued by others as you emerge as a young professional. Academic integrity adds value to your degree and preserves your reputation as well as that of the university, so the community can have confidence in the university and its graduates.

Throughout your learning journey it is essential that you are aware of what is expected of you and how to make sure your work has integrity. At Swinburne you are expected to conduct yourself with honesty, responsibility and fairness. You can demonstrate academic integrity by producing work that presents your own insights and which acknowledges the sources of ideas presented and cites the original work which informed it. If you are unsure there is plenty of free help available, online and through support services.

Academic integrity and appropriately referencing sources of information are important not only in written work but also when:

• writing a computer program
• using audio, visual, graphic or photographic work
• using objects or materials such as artefacts, designs, costumes or models, and
• working in groups.

How do you maintain academic integrity?

There are many ways that you can achieve and maintain academic integrity:

  • take responsibility for your learning
  • submit work that is honestly your own, and has not previously been submitted for this or any other assessment (without seeking approval)
  • make sure you understand how to reference your sources
  • when photocopying or making notes from texts, record all bibliographic information
  • acknowledge the ideas, contribution and work of others
  • contribute fairly to group work tasks
  • always complete tests and exams without cheating
  • ask for help from legitimate support services.

Things to avoid

Here are some things you should do in order to preserve your academic integrity:

  • don't leave your assignments around for others to read
  • don’t leave a computer unattended and take USB sticks out of the computers in the library or the computer labs
  • do not buy notes or assignments (this is known as contract cheating)
  • do not submit work unless it is your own
  • do not share or upload your notes where others can access or download it, as this is not your intellectual property
  • do not submit work that you or anyone else has previously submitted for assessment, without seeking approval from the unit convenor to do so.

Exam conduct

Academic integrity extends to ensuring appropriate behaviour in exams as well as in other assessments. You need to be aware of appropriate exam conduct so you can reduce stress and perform at your very best.  


Plagiarism involves submitting or presenting the ideas, writing, coding, images or other work of someone else, in whole or in part, as though it is your own work, that is, without proper acknowledgement of the source(s). By understanding and practising academic integrity you are likely to avoid plagiarising.

Swinburne uses different referencing systems depending on your course or faculty. The library has information on these recommended referencing styles. Harvard referencing style is used in many units, however if you are studying Psychology you are likely to use APA, and for those studying Law, you will be using AGLC4. If you are unsure which style to use check the Unit Outline for your units of study, or ask your educator regarding the preferred style for their unit.

Group work

Working in groups or collaborating can be a rewarding and enriching experience. There is a fine line between collaboration, which involves working effectively and honestly together, and collusion, which is considered as cheating and dishonest. Academic misconduct can occur in group work in several way.

  • Gaining an unfair advantage when a student claims an equal share of the marks but
    • has done less their equal share
    • does not turn up to group meetings and/or does not contribute in group meetings
    • does not undertake their share of the work with the appropriate level of care and attention
  • Copying all or part of the work of others, or allowing others to copy your work
  • Discussing work in a group which needs to be submitted as an individual task, without permission from the assessor or acknowledgement of collaboration.

Commonly used terms

Here are some commonly used terms that you should understand:

  • Cheating: Behaving in a dishonest way in order to get what you want.
  • Collusion: The agreement between people to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive or cheat.
  • Contract cheating: Occurs when a person knowingly submits work that has been completed by another person or agency. 
  • Plagiarism: The process or practice of using another person's ideas or work and pretending it is your own.
  • Self-plagiarism: Reusing or recycling your own work when it has previously been submitted for assessment.