Academic Misconduct

If the University believes you’ve not followed good academic practice, you will be invited for a meeting with an Academic Conduct Officer (ACO). They can also be called an Academic Conduct Educator (ACE), but it’s the same role.

In the meeting, the ACO will ask whether you understand why you’ve been invited to the meeting and explain what they think the problem is.

They’ll often talk about your similarity score, so it is important tounderstand what your Turnitin score meansby reading our guide.

Academic Conduct Viva/ Viva Voce (ACV):

If the University believes that the work is not your own, you may be invited to a Viva Voce with an Academic Conduct Officer. A Viva Voce is a spoken exam. This is sometimes called an ACV (Academic Conduct Viva)

You will be asked questions about how you wrote the work and what it means. Before the meeting, reread your work and prepare any evidence that the work is yours, like drafts or research notes.

Academic Conduct Officer (ACO) Meeting:

If the University believes you have not followed good academic practice, you will be invited for a meeting with an Academic Conduct Officer (ACO). In the meeting, the ACO will ask whether you understand why you’ve been invited to the meeting and explain what the problem is.

There is more information here and in the Academic Integrity Guide.

  • If you deny misconduct, explain why you deny it and mention any evidence to support this.
  • If you admit misconduct, explain why it happened and mention any mitigating circumstances such as illness, anxiety, or other personal problems beyond your control.
  • Either way, answer the ACO’s questions honestly and ask if you don’t understand anything.

The outcome will depend on the amount of affected work and whether you did it on purpose for an advantage over other students. Unintentional academic misconduct is still a problem. You can find the potential outcome for you from the university's Scale of Outcomes Table.

If your mark appears as AD on SOLAR it is being investigated and it’s very likely you will receive an invitation to a meeting with an ACO. If you have been waiting for this for a significant period of time, please contact your Faculty Registryand if you do not receive a response then contact Your Advice Service. Your marks will appear as “AD” on SOLAR until the marker has decided that there is no academic misconduct, or you have had your meeting and received an outcome letter.

Academic Conduct Panel (ACP):

If the University believes that the allegationis very serious or complex, or you have more than one previous offence, you may be invited to an Academic Conduct Panel (ACP). If you are invited to an ACP, contact Your Advice Service as soon as possible by completing our enquiry form. Please make sure to attach your meeting invitation letter, a copy of your Turnitin report and any other evidence sent with your invitation. Please also let us know if this is not your first offence.

Types Of Offence:

  • Plagiarism - using someone else’s work without reference or citation. This can include buying work from others, (which is very serious and is known as contract cheating) or re-submitting work from another assessment, which is self-plagiarism.
  • Collusion - working with another or others on work which should be completed alone.
  • Examination Misconduct - cheating during an exam, which can overlap with the above offences, if the exam is online.
  • Fabrication - making up, changing, or copying experiment results or research.


Turnitin is the University’s text matchingsoftware. You can find more about this here.

Turnitin generates a report which shows when matches have been found. It does not identify plagiarism but can provide information to academic staff about academic misconduct. Because of this there is no safe Turnitin score. If you’re allowed to submit drafts of your work, you can use this to check if you have forgotten to reference or paraphrase properly.

You can view your similarity score by following the instructions here. You can find out how to download the report here

How Can Your Advice Service Help You?

If you are looking for help with an allegation of academic misconduct, please contact Your Advice Serviceas soon as possible when you get your invitation. Attach your meeting invitation,a copy of your Turnitin Report and any other evidence sent with your invite. We can help you prepare for the meeting and support you in the meeting, subject to Advisor availability. You mustgive 24 hours’ notice to the meeting organiser if you are being supported as explained in your invite email.

If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal within 10 working days of the outcome letter.

You can appeal on the below grounds:

  • Procedures were not followed properly.
  • The academic misconduct does not justify the severity of the offence.
  • You have severe extenuating circumstances which prevented you from making an informed decision on whether to submitthe assessment and could not make the ACO aware of these during the meeting.

Contact Your Advice Service as soon as possible for more advice if you would like to appeal. We’ll need the outcome letter, meeting invitation and evidence files attached to the enquiry form; it would also be useful to know the ground(s)on which you intend to appeal.

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