Academic integrity

Academic integrity means that all staff and students—in teaching and learning—are expected to treat others honestly, fairly, and with respect at all times.

Academic integrity is the core value on which the University’s learning, teaching, and research activities are based. If you plagiarise, cheat on assessments, or misuse other people's academic work, you damage the University's academic integrity. This devalues the research we do and the qualifications we award.

Everyone at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington is responsible for upholding academic integrity. Students, teaching staff, researchers, and administrators—we all need to maintain high ethical standards in our work and studies. Doing so upholds the University's reputation for excellence and boosts the value of your qualification.

Lecturers may check for academic integrity by asking you to upload work to be assessed using Turnitin, an online tool for preventing plagiarism. Turnitin compares the work you submit with a large database of existing material. It then returns a similarity report, identifying the percentage of online information you have used. If you fail to accurately acknowledge those sources, that counts as plagiarism.

Academic misconduct (PDF) or research misconduct generally refers to a breach of academic integrity. Examples include:

  • plagiarism and failures of correct acknowledgment practice (referencing/citation)
  • contract cheating or paying for another person or organisation to prepare an assignment
  • submitting (for assessment or review) work prepared by another person or organisation
  • dishonest behaviour (including collusion with others) in relation to any piece of assessment (test, exam, written, or creative work)
  • breaches of rules or instructions in relation to any piece of assessment, including examination rules
  • breaches of the Human Ethics Policy (PDF) or Animal Ethics Policy (PDF)
  • dishonest behaviour in the course of research, e.g. fabrication or falsification of data.

Teaching staff will provide students with information on, for instance, the correct referencing style for that subject, in course information on the website or in Blackboard. If you have questions about the expectations specific to your course(s), ask your tutor or lecturer. If available, subject or School/Faculty student handbooks may contain useful information about referencing for your subject(s).

Student Learning can help you develop good practices in maintaining academic (and research) integrity. They offer workshops and one-on-one sessions with the aim of supporting students to develop independent learning. The Library also offers sessions covering ethics, research skills, referencing, and correct citing skills.

If you are a new student, make sure you attend one of the sessions regarding academic expectations or study skills offered during Orientation Week, and look out for more information in course outlines.

Find information below on what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it, as well as where to seek support if you are suspected of academic misconduct.