Policy and penalties

Find out what can happen if you are investigated for academic misconduct


Our Academic Integrity policy sets out the specific rules that you need to follow to ensure you are complying with the University’s academic integrity expectations and Academic Board Regulation , as well as the consequences and penalties that can apply to breaches.

Read the policy


What are the consequences of academic misconduct?

If a student is found to have deliberately plagiarised or colluded the penalties are severe and can include failure of a subject or exclusion from the University. The University provides extensive resources and educates students about academic integrity so that students are aware of what constitutes plagiarism and collusion, and the consequences of those practices.

  • Read the full proceedings and penalties for student academic misconduct as outlined in the Academic Board Regulation

    44 Proceedings for academic misconduct

    1. The Dean of each faculty must establish one or more academic misconduct committees to implement academic misconduct requirements.
    2. The composition of any academic misconduct committee must include at least one student nominated by the recognised student organisation.
    3. Subject to (2) the Board may set in policy the composition of academic misconduct committees.
    4. Notwithstanding requirements set in this Section or policy made under this Section, the Board President may vary the composition of an academic misconduct committee.
    5. A student appearing before an academic misconduct committee may bring a specified support person who may not be a legal practitioner. Academic Board Regulation Page 16 of 20
    6. The Board may set requirements for proceedings of the academic misconduct committee including requirements relating to:
      1. allegations
      2. hearings
      3. notification of allegations and hearings.

    45 Penalties for student academic misconduct

    1. Penalties for a finding of academic misconduct are one or more of the following:
      1. Issue a reprimand and caution to the student
      2. Require the student to undertake a course of corrective action
      3. Prohibit or deny access to or use of University premises, University facilities and services or University activities for up to two weeks
      4. Impose conditions on the student’s attendance at University premises, participation in University activities or use of University facilities and services
      5. Require the student to resubmit, or revise and resubmit, the whole or part of the assessment, examination or research
      6. Disallow or amend a mark or grade for the whole or part of the assessment, examination or research
      7. Fail the student
      8. Recommend to the Vice-Chancellor that the student’s enrolment be suspended for any period and on such terms and conditions as the committee considers necessary or appropriate
      9. Recommend to the Vice-Chancellor that the student be expelled from the University
      10. Recommend to Council the revocation of the award.
    2. The Vice-Chancellor must provide within 24 hours of a decision to suspend or a student’s enrolment or expel a student under (1)(h) or 1(i) written notice to the student:
      1. Of the decision, any terms and conditions of the decision, and a summary of the reasons for the decision
      2. A copy of this Regulation
      3. Of the student’s right of appeal against the suspension, or expulsion.
    3. In the case of research misconduct concerning externally funded research under a contract requiring the misconduct to be dealt with in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, a course of action is to be taken in accordance with that Code.
    4. In the case of a recommendation made under 45 (1) (j), the faculty must allow 20 working days for the student to appeal to the Board before sending the recommendation to revoke the award to the University Secretary for Council’s consideration.
    5. The Board may set the manner of application of penalties for academic misconduct by students.
    6. Failure by a student to comply with a penalty given under this Section is general misconduct and the penalties for general misconduct may be applied.

What happens if I'm investigated for plagiarising?

Plagiarism and collusion are forms of academic misconduct. The University of Melbourne has detailed processes related to student academic misconduct that are followed when a student is suspected of having plagiarised or colluded.

The process is summarised below. Full information can be found in the University Academic Board Regulation and Student Academic Integrity Policy. Please note a variation of this process applies to allegations of research misconduct.

  • 1. Report misconduct

    A staff member reports the suspected academic misconduct to the Dean or Head of Department (HOD).

  • 2. Initial determination

    The HOD  determines what sort of response is to be taken: Is the allegation an unintended, minor, or major breach of the policy? The student may be asked to attend a meeting with the HOD and subject coordinator to discuss the implicated assessment task. The student must be warned that a formal allegation of academic misconduct may flow on from the meeting.

  • 3. Possible educative response

    If it appears during the discussion that an incidence of plagiarism or collusion was minor or unintended, an educative response may be implemented.

  • 4. Initiating a disciplinary process

    If it appears during the discussion that deliberate academic misconduct has occurred, the HOD must end the meeting and advise the student that the disciplinary process will be initiated. The matter is then referred to the Dean in a written report.

  • 5. Notifying the student or students

    If the Dean decides that an allegation of academic misconduct against a student or students is to be investigated, the Dean must establish a Student Academic Misconduct Committee (the committee) and notify the student or students of the allegation and the process.

  • 6. Investigate allegations (Hearing)

    The committee investigates the allegations at a hearing attended by the student. The student may have a support person at the hearing. The committee makes a decision, imposes any penalties deemed appropriate in accordance with the Academic Board Regulation and Academic Board guidelines, and reports back to the Dean or HOD.

  • 7. Inform student or students of the decision

    The Dean or HOD informs the student or students of the decision, any penalties that have been applied, and the right to appeal the decision. The Dean also informs the Academic Secretary and the Academic Registrar who updates the student or students' record(s).

Case studies and advice

Review these hypothetical case studies illustrating some of the trends seen in academic misconduct, particularly in online assessments.

Review the case studies

Student advocacy and procedural rights

The Academic Board Regulation and the Student Academic Integrity Policy include provisions which are designed to protect students' procedural rights. For example, students can have a support person present during discipline hearings, and students must be given sufficient notice of the opportunity to be heard with regard to an allegation of misconduct. It is important that you are aware of your rights under the regulation and policy.

If an allegation of involvement in academic misconduct is made against you, there are a number of available services and qualified people on campus who can assist with questions you may have about the disciplinary process or any other concerns.

Student appeal process following a decision of a Student Academic Misconduct Committee

A student may lodge an appeal with the Academic Secretary within 20 days of the receiving a written decision (outcome) from a Student Academic Misconduct Committee hearing.

Information on appeals is published by the Academic Secretary and is available here.

The Regulation does not preclude a student from exercising any right to external review.

Student appeals

Find out more about University rules and regulations for students

Need a refresher?

Commencing undergraduate students take a module called Cornerstones of Good Scholarship as part of their Joining Melbourne Modules, while commencing graduate students are asked to complete the Academic Integrity module in the new student checklist.

You can take or repeat the Academic Integrity module in the LMS at any time. The Academic Integrity module is available to all University of Melbourne students to complete in the LMS.

Working through the Academic Integrity module will take approximately 15 minutes, and includes a self-assessment quiz to help consolidate your understanding of your responsibilities to conduct yourself in an ethical manner in all aspects of your studies.