Academic integrity and misconduct

Knowing how to find and use reputable sources will not only assist your learning and help you get high marks in your assignments, but also ensure that you are producing work that doesn't violate any standards of behaviour or law.

When studying at QUT you are bound by Australian Copyright law as well as QUT policies and moral and ethical standards of behaviour. It's your responsibility to be aware of your obligations as well as having a basic understanding of what these obligations mean. Understanding these aspects of learning and assessment will assist in making sure that you aren't making mistakes that can come with harsh penalties and consequences.

Academic integrity is your responsibility. Academic integrity means that you demonstrate honest practice in your academic study and research in giving credit where it is due and acknowledging the contributions of others to your own intellectual efforts.

Plagiarism and self-plagiarism

To claim another's work or words as your own, or failing to cite and reference correctly, is known as plagiarism.

Plagiarism is cheating and is regarded as grounds for failure, suspension and expulsion. QUT provides clear guidance and assistance to ensure that you understand these requirements. It is very important that you read and understand the following:

It is also considered cheating if you re-use your own work without proper acknowledgement of the source. This is considered self-plagiarism. You cannot submit the same assignment for two separate assessment items or re-use part of a previously submitted assessment item.

You can use the same sources for different assignments, as long as the context in which they are used is sufficiently different. You should always seek permission from the Unit Coordinator if you wish to re-use your own work. Find out more in C/5.3 Academic integrity.

Self-plagiarism only refers to re-using material that has been published or submitted as part of formal assessment. You are free to re-use your own work if it only exists in draft form, or has not resulted in credit towards the completion of an award at QUT (or any other institution).


It's your responsibility to know the difference between collaborating with others and collusion. One (collaborating) is a study skill you develop to work effectively in teams, submit group assessment; the other (collusion) is cheating and is regarded as grounds for failure, suspension and expulsion.

Example of collusion

Zeke is a member of an unofficial online group for QUT students in his Unit. The night before the assessment - a workbook - is due, a discussion starts in the group about how difficult some of the tasks were. Zeke posts pictures of two of his answers to the group. By the end of the night, 36 students copy Zeke's answers to those questions and then hand the workbook in as their own work.

This is collusion - both Zeke and those that copied the answers are all considered to have violated the standards of academic integrity at QUT.

Contract cheating

Contract cheating involves having someone else complete your assessment, and then submitting it under your own name. It's important to realise that money doesn't have to change hands for it to be considered contract cheating.

Examples of contract cheating include:

  • someone impersonating you to complete an exam
  • a friend or family writing an essay for you ("ghostwriting")
  • buying an assignment off a prior student
  • paying a commercial service to write an assignment for you ("commercial contract cheating").

Many commercial services advertise themselves to students online or even on campus which normalises this practice.

It's important to be aware that participating in contract cheating negatively affects your learning, your future professional practice and is considered academic misconduct.

Contract cheating is not worth the risk! Instead, take advantage of the assignment support services QUT provides to students including: