Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Producing work of the highest standard is what university studying is all about.  Central to this is the idea of academic integrity, which means ensuring that you are aware of and comply with the standards expected in higher education. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Surrey is committed to academic integrity which it considers is based on honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.

At the heart of academic integrity are the principles that the work that you submit is all your own and that you accurately represent and give due credit to the work of others. 

A Briefing Note for Students on the University's Academic Integrity is now available.

Changes to the University's penalties for academic misconduct are set out in this guide to regulation changes.

You can also view the University's Academic Integrity Regulations.


Plagiarism is the most common form of academic misconduct.  It may take the form of deliberate cheating, such as buying essays online, getting someone else to write your assignment or taking a piece of work submitted at another university and submitting it here.  

There are also more complex cases that do not result from any desire to cheat.  These cases may take the form of text (or images or sound) being copied from another source and used in an assignment without fully acknowledging the contribution of the original author(s).  This is easily done, but don't panic!  Help is at hand.

The best way to avoid accidental plagiarism is to ensure that you are adhering to the principles of good practice in academic study.  This includes learning how to incorporate the work of others into your assignments, how to make notes and keep track of your research effectively and how (and when) to reference sources properly.

Look for Academic Integrity in the Student Common room on SurreyLearn; here you will find ways to develop your Academic Integrity and Information Literacy skills. Information on SurreyLearn is available to all students, and provides great sources of information about academic integrity, what plagiarism is, and how to avoid it.  

You will also find this tutorial: Don't cheat yourself and Academic Integrity quiz on SurreyLearn.

This tutorial also gives students access to a tool called Turnitin, which compares student work with that of other students around the world and also with published work.  Universities use Turnitin to help to identify cases of plagiarism, but it can also be used as a tool to help you to improve your use of sources.  SPLASH runs workshops explaining how you can use Turnitin to help you to develop your understanding of plagiarism (and how to avoid it).


Correct referencing is fundamental to academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism.  

There are guidelines for each department available via your subject page on the Library website.

From 1 August 2013 updated guidelines will be available. These will simplify referencing conventions where, for example, online books and journals are being referred to. The University of Surrey guidelines are based on those found in Cite them Right (9th edition). University staff and students have access to the online version of Cite Them Right.

You can also contact the Information Skills Librarian for your subject for further help.

Other sources of information 

The University of Surrey skills portal is a regularly updated source of information about referencing, good practice and many other academic skills.

Some other useful resources include:

  • LearnHigher guide to preventing plagiarism includes tutorials to help you to avoid plagiarising in your work.
  • has papers, guides and quizzes to help students to better understand plagiarism, citation and referencing.
  • Jude Carroll talks about plagiarism is a useful video from an expert at Oxford Brookes university which explores  issues around plagiarism.
  • The University of Bergen has produced a light-hearted video introducing some of the issues around plagiarism and the benefits of good practice (you'll need to check the 'cc' button to get captions, unless you speak Norwegian).
  • Princeton University has an extensive guide to Academic Integrity, including an effort to address the issue of what is (or is not) common knowledge.

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

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