Academic integrity

When you submit work, it must be your own. Know how to avoid plagiarism and cheating.

"Academic integrity means acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research."

In practical terms, it means developing, and submitting for assessment, your own academic work.

The four steps to academic integrity

Step 1. Know how to reference

A key part of academic integrity is creating original work. This means that whenever you use other people’s words, images or ideas, you must reference them correctly. If you don’t, you may be penalised for plagiarism, even if it was accidental.

Things you must do

  • Always reference the following types of information:
    • thoughts, ideas, definitions or theories
    • research and other studies
    • statistics
    • information from the Internet, including images and media
    • designs or works of art
    • facts that are not common knowledge.
  • Keep drafts of all your work so you can easily show authorship of your assessments. 
  • Complete the assessment declaration each time you submit work for assessment.

Turnitin: You’ll use Turnitin when you submit your assessments. Turnitin is an online tool in Canvas that checks your assignments to ensure they're your own work, and that you've acknowledged the work and ideas from other sources. Go to the Canvas webpage to find out more.

Step 2. Know the rules

Understanding academic integrity is essential to your learning and assessment. It includes correct referencing and other behaviour expected in an academic community such as acting with honesty, fairness, respect and responsibility. It also means not cheating, contract cheating or colluding. We refer to this as academic misconduct. 

Introduction to Academic Integrity tutorial

Complete this quick tutorial to know the main rules about academic integrity and misconduct including plagiarism and the difference between collaboration and collusion. 

Academic Integrity Awareness digital credential

Gain a badge on your transcript to show you understand the rules of academic integrity.

Academic misconduct and penalties

For serious breaches of academic integrity, students can be charged with academic misconduct. Possible penalties include cancellation of results and expulsion resulting in the cancellation of a student's program. Breaches of academic integrity include:

  • Plagiarism
  • Significant failure to appropriately and accurately acknowledge the work of others
  • Failure to appropriately and accurately acknowledge one’s own work where original work has been reused from previous assessment tasks (also known as self-plagiarism)
  • ‘Washing’, or the use of software services to disguise plagiarism
  • Submitting the work of another person or from an online study platform as one’s own, or undertaking an assessment task for another person (contract cheating or ghost writing). See below for a definition of contract cheating
  • Collusion or unauthorised collaboration in the preparation or presentation of work
  • Falsification, fabrication, manipulation or misrepresentation of data or results
  • Attempting to gain unfair advantage in an invigilated assessment, breaching the rules for the conduct of invigilated assessment in a manner that defeats or compromises the purposes of the task
  • Behaviour that violates assessment instructions thereby defeating or compromising the purpose of the assessment
  • Unauthorised sharing of course materials and previously submitted assessment items including via online study platforms
  • Misuse or unauthorised use of technology or equipment

What is contract cheating?

Contract cheating is the use of outsourced material for the purpose of submission by a student for assessment. The person submitting the work is being dishonest by representing it as their own. This differs from traditional forms of plagiarism, which more commonly involves copying of existing submitted or published work. Contract cheating can take on many forms and is not limited to the purchasing of assessment material from online sources. Students may obtain assessments from peers or ‘tutors’ and the arrangement may not involve a financial exchange. 

Contract cheating services

Commercial cheating services, which are now illegal in Australia, are targeting students at RMIT. These services offer to provide answers or complete an assessment for you, sometimes asking for payment. These services may keep a student’s personal details to harass them and ask for more money. If you use these services, it's considered contract cheating and is a breach of the Academic Integrity Policy. To find out more information you can read the TEQSA information and resources. If you have any concerns or questions about this, email

Step 3. Build your study skills

Our study resources are offered in different ways to suit different preferences. You can talk to an academic skills expert one-on-one, book into a Study KnowHow workshop, complete an online tutorial at home or be mentored by a student who's been exactly where you are.

You can access these resources at any time throughout your program to revise or develop your study skills and successfuly complete your assessments. 

In Vietnam? See these student support webpages for more resources.

Step 4. Know who to ask

We're here to help you get it right. If you don't understand something in class or about an assessment, talk to your teacher or lecturer as soon as possible.

If you have a question about your coursework, study skills or how to find information, Ask the Library.

If you need other help, you can contact one of our support services, RUSU or the student conduct team via the details at the bottom of the page.

Policies and resources

RMIT policies

The following University policies provide more information about academic integrity and misconduct, including official definitions and penalties.

TEQSA academic integrity resources

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education. TEQSA has developed the following resources for use by students, academics and teachers to promote understanding of academic integrity.


Support services

Our support services are here to help you achieve your study and personal goals. If you're feeling stressed about study, we can help.

RMIT Student Union (RUSU)

RUSU offers free and confidential support for students who have been charged with academic misconduct.

Student conduct

If you'd like to talk to someone about a case of misconduct, contact the Student Conduct Secretariat for a confidential discussion.


Phone: +61 3 9925 8965

If you're an RMIT Vietnam student, contact:

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.