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 penalties are serious, from failing an assessment to charges of academic misconduct and exclusion from a program. Get help as soon as you can - ask questions, know how to reference, do the Academic Integrity Awareness Credential and get study support. 

Academic Integrity RMIT

Real stories of plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating

These are real stories of RMIT students who were penalised for plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating. Their stories are anonymous, read by former or current student volunteers. 

Real Stories of Plagiarism
Real Stories of Collusion
Real Stories of Contract Cheating

Five things you must know

Step 1. Know the rules and penalties

The rules of academic integrity outline the behaviours required in an academic community: acting with honesty, fairness, respect and responsibility. They include not plagiarising, cheating, contract cheating or colluding.

The penalties for breaking the rules - even accidentally - are serious. 

The best way to learn the rules is by completing the Academic Integrity Awareness digital credential. 

Academic Integrity Awareness digital credential

Gain a badge on your transcript to show you've learned 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 (presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own)
  • 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 ghostwriting). 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.

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 2. 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.



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 3. Know where to get study support

Our study resources are offered in different ways to suit different preferences. You can talk to an academic skills expert one-on-one, 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 successfully complete your assessments. 

RMIT Vietnam students: Go to the Library services and Student Academic Success pages for study support and resources. 

RMIT Training students: For help improving your study skills, ask the Academic Support team via

Step 4. Know the risks of cheating sites

Be aware of people approaching you offering to help with assessments or sites asking you to upload course materials for money. We know that RMIT students are being approached online and on-campus - this includes on-campus posters. RMIT students have been blackmailed by cheating sites. 

If you see any suspicious posters or stickers on campus, please remove them and report any suspicious activity to

Step 5. 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 or browse all available Study support services and resources.

If you're an RMIT Vietnam student, go to Library services and click on 'Ask a Librarian chat service'. 

For all 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.