Undergraduate Teaching 2019-20

Plagiarism, cooperating and cheating

Plagiarism, cooperating and cheating

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Distinguishing between cooperation & cheating

Coursework marks contribute significantly to your overall Tripos mark.  Because this work is not carried out under examination conditions, the distinction between beneficial cooperation and deliberate cheating should be clearly understood.

The following information applies to all students.  There is also supplementary information for Part IIB students.


It is perfectly acceptable to discuss continuously assessed work with other students, or with demonstrators or supervisors.  Such discussions are beneficial and are to be encouraged.  Effective use of such discussions can lead to higher marks, always provided that the student has made the main contribution to the work submitted and understands all of it.


Cooperation can go too far, however, especially if one student is effectively carried by another or by the demonstrators.  For example, while it may well be beneficial for students to discuss a problem in computing, it is unacceptable for two students to submit effectively identical programs.  The named author must have made the main contribution to the work submitted and the report must be in his or her own words.

Electronic exchange of lab work is likewise acceptable up to a point.  Results obtained jointly in the lab may have only been recorded by one student in a pair, due to time constraints, and it may be more practical to pass these on in electronic format (e.g. for a word-processed report).  But analysis of the data, or production of graphs for the write-up, and all written sections of the report must be done individually, and may not be exchanged electronically.

Any deliberate attempt to pass off the work of others as being produced by the named author is cheating.  Students suspected to have cheated will be reported to the Director of Undergraduate Education, and interviewed by an appropriate member of staff. For each coursework submission found to have been even partially copied, a mark penalty will be imposed and the student’s Director of Studies informed.  The examiners may be informed and might take further action.  Serious cheating will be referred to the University proctors.

Plagiarism avoidance: expectations of all students

The range of penalties for cheating in University examinations and coursework includes disqualification from the BA and MEng degrees.  Ignorance of the seriousness of plagiarism will not be an acceptable defense. 

The University's Discipline Regulation 6 states: "No candidate shall make use of unfair means in any University examination.  Unfair means shall include plagiarism* and, unless such possession is specifically authorised, the possession of any book, paper or other material relevant to the examination.  No member of the University shall assist a candidate to make use of such unfair means." 

* Plagiarism is defined as submitting as one’s own work, irrespective of intent to deceive, that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement; or, in the case of self-plagiarism, unless explicitly permitted by regulation, submitting one’s own work that has already been submitted for assessment to satisfy the requirements of any other academic qualification, or submitted for publication without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity.            

To ensure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it through good academic practice you are required to read:

If you do not fully understand the information in these documents you must seek clarification at the earliest opportunity from your Director of Studies or supervisor.

All work submitted electronically may be subjected to checking for plagiarism using Turnitin text-matching software software. You are required to:

Sources of guidance on academic integrity, record keeping & referencing

The CUED Library offers advice and training on referencing. See their handout here.

The Guide to Report Writing provides further guidance:

Also see: University’s plagiarism website

Last updated on 17/08/2018 16:07