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Guidelines on Plagiarism

Plagiarism in work submitted for formal assessment is regarded by the University as the use of ‘unfair means’ (i.e. cheating) and is treated with the utmost seriousness. Where examiners suspect plagiarism, the case will be referred to the Senior Proctor and may then be brought before the University’s Court of Discipline, which has the power to deprive those found guilty of membership of the University and to strip them of any degrees awarded by it.

The Department of Architecture advises students to visit the University’s plagiarism and good academic practice website which provides more information and guidance.

The Department of Architecture requires all students submitting work for examination assessment(i.e. long essays, coursework, Project Reports, dissertation) to sign a declaration confirming that they have understood the University’s definition of plagiarism.

Guidelines for Students:

Plagiarism in examinable work submitted for assessment(coursework, long essays and dissertations. Copying out someone else’s work without due indication and acknowledgement is plagiarism. So is re-wording someone else’s work in order to present it as your own without acknowledging your intellectual debt.
Students who submit long essays or dissertations for examination are required to sign a statement that the work in question is their own and that any use of the work of others is indicated in the footnotes, references, bibliography or list of illustrations.


Just as you cannot copy another’s work without acknowledgement, you must not ask anyone else to do your work for you. All submissions must be entirely your own work; if you have input from individuals or ask others to comment on it before submission, this should be acknowledged. Where people have provided you with specific information you should note this in references or footnotes.

The only exception to this rule is group work. In that case you are expected to work with the other members of the assigned group. The same general rules however still apply: the work submitted must be the work of the group and the group cannot ask anyone else to produce work for it.

Unconscious plagiarism often arises from excessively full and faithful note-taking followed by an excessively faithful use of notes in writing essays. These are bad working habits. Notes should be a summary in your own words of an argument and of the evidence or reasoning used to support it. Essays should be written with reference to notes rather than by copying them out. Plagiarism can also creep in when, instead of taking notes, students mark texts or photocopies with highlighting pens and write their essays with close reference to such materials. Supervisors and examiners are often able to detect such plagiarism by the occurrence in essays of passages whose prose style is markedly more incisive and sophisticated than the student’s usual work.

Downloading material direct from the internet into essays or dissertations without acknowledgement also constitutes plagiarism. Internet material should be treated like any other primary or secondary source. You may wish to download material for your own use, but you should then read, question, and take notes from it as you would from any other source. Because material is often not subject to any kind of editorial control, it is advisable to treat it with more than usual scepticism.

In weekly essays and similar assignments, the kind of precise footnotes or references required in long essays and dissertations are not compulsory (although you or your supervisor may choose to use them). However, when your essays use a particular source or author or piece of research, you should reference this in an appropriate phrase or parenthesis. Most supervisors like students to add to their essay a list of the books and articles used in writing it.

Plagiarism, research, and secondary literature

Where material is cited word for word from primary or secondary sources, it must be put in quotation marks and bibliographically referenced. Common knowledge, the kind of thing you will find in almost any textbook on a topic (e.g. 1066: the date of the Battle of Hastings), need not be referenced. But the distinctive views of particular authors should be properly credited, and any reasoning or evidence especially important to an argument should be properly referenced or credited (in a fashion appropriate to the kind of exercise you are writing) when it is derived from someone else’s work or represents the fruit of someone else’s research or reflection. In general you should be referring to ‘secondary’ authorities or sources (e.g. Benton on the villas of Le Corbusier) in order to discuss, assess, or criticise their claims, arguments, and evidence as they relate to the topic of your essay. You should not invoke secondary authorities as if their claims were in themselves adequate evidence to sustain your arguments. As your writing experience progresses, the Department would hope to see less citing and quoting from others and more personal insights and individual contribution. In particular, it would hope to see that the last few paragraphs of a piece of written work are your own, not someone else's.

Plagiarism in work submitted for College supervisions

Weekly essays and other assignments should be your own work. The point of a degree is that you learn to read, think and write for yourself. Deliberate plagiarism in your supervision work is therefore not only lying, but also counterproductive. You would be letting yourself down. The Colleges take a serious view of plagiarism in supervision essays. Supervisors who suspect an instance of plagiarism are advised to take this matter up with the student concerned and, failing an improvement, with the Director of Studies. These guidelines are based on a statement originally produced by the Faculty of Divinity and supplemented by advice issued by the University’s General Board and other Faculties and Departments.