Academic Misconduct

It comes in all shapes and sizes.

Integrity is a core value at UBC and from that stems a standard of academic integrity that all members of the UBC community are held to.

Every student at UBC is responsible for understanding the different types of academic misconduct because while some are obvious, others are not. Instructors should understand the different types of academic misconduct to help students avoid issues and be able to detect problems when they arise.

Part of a student’s university experience is not only acquiring knowledge and skills, but also learning how to generate and contribute something new. Using someone else’s work without permission or having someone else do the work means that students are not contributing what is expected of them.

If you are suspected of academic misconduct, check out the review process information.

Types of Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct includes any conduct by which a student gains or attempts to gain an unfair academic advantage or benefit thereby compromising the integrity of the academic process, or helping or attempting to help another person commit an act of academic misconduct or gain, or attempt to gain, an unfair academic advantage.

The Academic Calendars (Vancouver and Okanagan) provides details about the different types of academic misconduct, and it is important that everyone understands these.


Falsification is the act of providing false or incomplete information to UBC. Falsification of information means that a student misrepresents information or submits false information. Examples may include lying about being sick during an exam or providing a falsified doctor’s note. UBC expects that students can be taken at their word and therefore providing any information, orally or in writing, that is false is a form of academic misconduct. It is important to note that this also includes providing false information to people outside of UBC while you are a student, such as falsifying or misrepresenting your grades during a co-op application.

Falsification also includes the tampering or misrepresentation of academic data, source material, methodologies or findings, without acknowledgement of the act, that will result in inaccurate findings or conclusions in one’s own academic work.


Cheating is the act of providing or using unauthorized methods or information to gain academic credit in an academic institution using dishonest means. Cheating is a form of academic misconduct. In general, this type of misconduct involves using information in a dishonest manner during a class, lab, or assessment. This can include:

  1. Changing data for a lab, or changing answers on a previously graded exam and submitting for a regrade.
  2. Using answers from others on an individual assignment.
  3. Using an unauthorized cheat sheet or electronic device during a test or exam.
  4. Looking at someone else’s answers during a test or exam, with or without their knowledge.
  5. Obtaining answers prior to a test or exam.
  6. Not following the rules of an invigilator during an exam and the exam conduct rules outlined in the Academic Calendars (Vancouver and Okanagan).

Plagiarism and patchwriting

Plagiarism means presenting someone else’s ideas and work as your own without giving them proper credit. If you use any ideas or knowledge that you did not generate on your own, you must provide proper attribution and citations. If you need guidance on how to properly cite other work, both the UBC Library and the Chapman Learning Commons have guides to help you out.

It is also important to understand that simply changing some of the words in the written work of others does not make it OK to present as your own work. This is known as patchwriting, and is still a form of plagiarism if attribution is not provided. In fact, even if you rewrite the entire idea or work, it still requires proper citation. Often, your own ideas are engaged in a dialogue with ideas of those who came before you. This is part of learning how to engage with scholarship.

It is completely acceptable to use the work or ideas of others as a starting point for your own ideas and work, but always remember to cite their work. If not, you run the risk of committing plagiarism.


Self-plagiarism is the act of reusing one’s own academic work as new academic work without citing previous use. Self-plagiarism is also known as dove-tailing or double-dipping. It is a form of academic misconduct that catches many students by surprise. If you spent a lot of time producing answers to an assignment, or writing an essay on your own, shouldn’t you be able to use it for more than one class? Unfortunately, no. Submitting the same work (written answers, essay, presentation, etc.) without approval from the instructor is considered self-plagiarism and is a form of academic misconduct. Once you submit your work the first time it is no longer considered new information. Even if you do have approval from an instructor to use your own work again, always remember to cite your previous work.


Impersonation means pretending that you are someone else in order to do work on their behalf, or having someone impersonate you on your behalf and complete your work.

Contract cheating

Contract cheating is the act of using another person, or commercial organization, with or without payment, to complete one’s academic work and assignment.

This form of academic misconduct occurs when a student willfully uses a third-party to generate work or provide answers. For example, paying someone else to write an essay on your behalf. However, it is important to note that contract cheating does not require the exchange of money to occur. Having a tutor or family member provide answers that you then submit for grade still qualifies even if you do not pay them for that work.

Using a third-party website to generate answers during an online exam is another example of this. If you willingly use work that was generated by someone else for the express purpose of being submitted by you, you have committed contact cheating.

This is an educative website intended to support understanding of the topics and associated processes and does not constitute legal advice nor impose legal obligations on the University. The content of this site may be updated. The Academic Calendar is the official governing document, and where there is any inconsistency or contradiction between this educative website and the Academic Calendar provisions governing academic integrity and academic misconduct, the Academic Calendar governs.

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