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Academic Discipline

The University of Bedfordshire considers the integrity of submitted work to be important, and wants to ensure that students can be confident that their work is fairly evaluated.

The Academic Discipline Policy supports the University of Bedfordshire in this aim.

Academic Discipline Policy

Academic Discipline Policy - PDF 144.6 KB sets out what the University of Bedfordshire considers to be an academic offence, and how the University of Bedfordshire will deal with it.

Academic Offences (details of each offence are included in the policy)

  • Cheating in an exam
  • Impersonation
  • Fabrication
  • Collusion
  • Work produced by a third party
  • Plagiarism

If the work which you submit is found to contain an academic offence, then it will be sent for consideration by the Academic Conduct Panel, or by the Faculty if it may be considered as an academic concern.

An academic offence does not depend upon a deliberate attempt to mislead. Negligent use of sources without referencing will also be considered an offence, as will accidentally missing references. Not understanding how to reference will not excuse an academic offence.

Plagiarism can be identified by your tutor, and also by Turnitin. Turnitin is a text matching software which checks the work you submit against its database of sources. This includes publications, journals, website information, previous student submissions and student submissions to other Institutions.

Where text within your work is found to be the same as text within a source, Turnitin will identify this. Your tutor will then consider whether an identified similarity is an academic offence or not. Plagiarism may be considered as an academic offence or an academic concern.

The decision as to whether it is a concern or an offence is made by the course team, and depends upon factors such as the amount of similarity, the level of study, the type of assessment, the relevance of the similarity and the attribution used.

Academic Concern

If it is considered that your work contains an academic concern, you will be invited to a meeting with your tutor to discuss this. Your tutor will show you the evidence of the concern, and give guidance and feedback regarding how to prevent this in further assignments. You will be required to sign a form to show that you have received guidance and understand the requirements, and you may be required to undertake further activities to help you understand how to use and reference sources correctly.

You may also be required to submit a referral for your assignment. The academic concern will be kept on record within the Faculty, and if you have any further academic concerns they are most likely to be considered as an academic offence.

Academic Offence

If it is considered that your work contains an academic offence, you will be sent an email to both your student account and the personal account listed on your SITS record (it is important to keep this up to date). The email will inform you of the offence, provide the evidence of the offence, and provide you with a form (AOF3) to complete to indicate your response. You will be asked to respond by a certain date, after which your case will be considered at an Academic Conduct Panel meeting.

If, after considering the evidence of the offence, you accept the allegation you will not be required to attend the Academic Conduct Panel meeting. You may send a statement for the panel to consider.

If you do not accept the allegation, following your response you will be informed of the date, time and venue of the meeting and you will be invited to attend to speak with the panel. The panel will consist of usually 3 academic staff members, from different departments and preferably different Faculties. You will be able to offer your explanation to the panel, who may also have questions for you regarding your work, and the alleged offence, or you may choose to send a statement instead of attending.

Following the meeting/discussion the panel will make a decision as to whether there is an offence, and if so what penalty is applicable. The panel considers each case based upon the evidence of the offence, and the explanation from the student (either in writing or in person). The panel does not base any decision upon whether the student was present or not.

For partner institutions not based in the UK, the process is the same but if a student does not accept the allegation they may either elect for a decision to be made at the next meeting based in the UK based upon a statement, or may ask to meet with the panel representatives the next time that staff are visiting the institution. The representatives will recommend a decision which will be confirmed at the next ACP meeting in the UK.

Within a week of the meeting, you will be informed of the panel decision and of any penalty applied. You are not permitted to appeal a panel decision, though you may appeal the process if you feel that it has not been followed correctly.

Panel Decisions

Panel decisions are required to be consistent across the University.

Types of panel decisions are:

  • The assessment is considered to be a fail grade, and the student is permitted to submit a referral
  • The assessment is considered to be a fail grade, and the student is NOT permitted a referral (fail unit)
  • The assessment is considered to be a fail grade, the student is NOT permitted a referral (fail unit) and the assessment will be capped at D- for the retake.
  • The student is required to retake the semester.
  • The student is required to exit from the University.

The more usual decisions are that the student is required to submit a referral or that the student fails the unit. However, for serious and/or multiple offences the student may be required to exit from the University.

Academic Discipline Co-ordinator

Philippa Armitage is the academic discipline co-ordinator for the University of Bedfordshire, and can be contacted at or 01582 743197.

Associated Forms and Guidance

Bedfordshire University

Student Experience» Academic information» Academic Discipline