The statement 'I confirm that I have not plagiarised from any other work' is included on the cover sheet for all assessed coursework and dissertations that you submit. You are required to sign this cover sheet. Take some time now to read the statement and the notes we have written to follow it.
All work submitted by students as part of the requirements for any examination or other assessment must be expressed in their own words and incorporate their own ideas and judgements. Plagiarism, that is - the presentation of another person's work in any quantity without adequately identifying it and citing its source in a way which is consistent with good scholarly practice in the discipline and commensurate with the level of professional conduct expected from the student - must be avoided with particular care in coursework and essays and reports written in students' own time. Deliberate plagiarism in coursework is as serious as deliberate cheating in an examination.
Direct quotations from the published or unpublished work of others must always be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and a full reference to their source must be provided in the proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source.
The source which is plagiarised may take any form (including words, graphs and images, musical texts, data, source code, ideas or judgements) and may exist in any published or unpublished medium, including the internet. Use of another's computer program or data without acknowledgement also constitutes plagiarism. Equally, if a student includes a summary of another person's ideas or judgements the source must be acknowledged and the work referred to included in the bibliography. Material taken from the Internet is covered by the same rules and it must always be acknowledged. Failure to observe these rules can result in an allegation of cheating, for which the penalties are severe.
Plagiarism is an extremely serious matter, and it is vital that all students are completely honest about the sources of their work. No student will be accused of plagiarism unless the Department finds strong evidence for it, and any student who is accused of plagiarism will have the opportunity to present her/his case to the Department. If the student is found to have plagiarised, s/he will be penalised at the discretion of the Head of Department - and whilst the penalty can be as minor as a mark of zero for an individual piece of formative coursework, it also includes the possibility of a mark of zero for the whole course or even the reduction of the class of degree awarded.
Any evidence of collusion with other students will also be penalised; if you pass your essay to another student, and that student then plagiarises from it, you are likely to be found guilty of collusion. The department wishes to encourage collaboration and discussion between students, but will not tolerate collusion.
The process of assessing whether plagiarism has taken place is long and unpleasant for both student and staff. You should therefore consult your tutor if you are in any doubt whatever about what is permissible.
No one should be under the impression that they can slip through the net. The College has access to sophisticated software for the detection of plagiarism. This said, the Department is aware that the vast majority of students will not even consider plagiarising.
Note that what is being said here is not that you should never quote material from others; it is that when you do so you must acknowledge it appropriately.