For students

All students of ISM University – whether they are undergraduates, foreign students, graduate students or Executive School students – are responsible for acting ethically and with integrity. It is the responsibility of each student to familiarise themselves with ISM’s ‘Code of Ethics’, along with the information and resources on this webpage. All students are responsible for their own work and are responsible for their actions.



The Committee follows the definition of plagiarism given by the University of Oxford:

… presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Plagiarism may be intentional or reckless, or unintentional.

The avoidance of plagiarism is one of the most important responsibilities of students, and students have a responsibility to understand precisely what plagiarism is, and what it requires students to avoid.

Students are strongly advised to explore the University of Oxford’s accessible and helpful website on plagiarism here. Oxford’s full guide to academic good practice can be downloaded here.

Students should also self-assess their understanding of plagiarism by taking this online test.



Turnitin is an internet-based ‘plagiarism detection’ service, which ISM University uses to confirm that students’ submitted coursework is free of plagiarism. Many of your written assignments will be submitted to Turnitin, which produces a report – called a ‘similarity report’ – that allows your teacher to discover how ‘similar’ your work is to content within a large database of other students’ written coursework, along with copyrighted pages from books, newspapers, and journals, and with the publicly accessible Internet.

To learn more, consult the Turnitin website, especially its description of ‘similarity reports’.



According to a leading university guide, cheating is:

a deliberate, dishonest act in relation to submitting university work. This could mean copying someone else’s work, having someone else write an essay for you, or taking notes into an exam.

Cheating can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Lying;
  • Copying from another’s test or examination;
  • Discussion at any time of answers or questions on an examination or test;
  • Taking or receiving copies of an exam without the permission of the teacher;
  • Using or displaying notes, ‘cheat sheets’ or any other information devices; inappropriate to the prescribed test conditions;
  • Allowing someone other than the officially enrolled student to represent same.

The guide continues:

“How and why do students cheat?

The most common form of cheating is the use of essay mills. These are companies that encourage students to pay for an essay written elsewhere which they can submit as their own. Essay mills take advantage of stressed students who are overwhelmed with work, by presenting cheating as an acceptable alternative to working hard.

Students cheat for a number of reasons; often it is a self-inflicted choice. Students who don’t revise enough or leave their essay until the last minute may think cheating is easier, rather than doing more work in a short space of time. In other cases, extenuating circumstances can put students in a situation where cheating feels like their only option.

Why is cheating a bad idea?

Despite what essay mills want you to believe, cheating is never acceptable for numerous reasons:

  • You can be seriously punished
    If you are caught cheating, you may fail the assignment, an entire module, or even the whole degree.
  • It is expensive
    University already costs enough, so failing a year or being expelled due to cheating is a costly mistake to make. Cheating itself is also very expensive; companies can charge hundreds or even thousands of pounds to produce a single piece of work. 
  • It is dishonest
    Essay mills are deceitful companies who lie and take advantage of students. By using these companies, you only encourage what they do.
  • You are cheating yourself
    University is meant to challenge you. By cheating, you are missing out on the opportunity to push yourself and find out what you are capable of. You won’t fully develop the skills you need to be successful in the future.
  • It devalues the work of those who do not cheat
    If you cheat and are not caught, you are lessening the achievements of your fellow students who have worked hard and honestly. Think about how your friends would feel if they found out.
  • It is avoidable
    Universities have services to help students who are struggling with their workload. Students with extenuating circumstances can apply to extend submission deadlines. If you are struggling, talk to someone.”

The Committee on Ethics’ role

The Committee is dedicated to educating students about plagiarism and cheating. However, all students are responsible for their own work and are responsible for their actions. Unfortunately, occasionally a teacher, or an exam invigilator, another student, or one of us, reports to the Committee that a student is suspected of plagiarism or cheating.

When that occurs, the Committee on Ethics begins an investigation. We examine the supporting evidence and invite the student to a meeting with us. After thorough deliberation, and by majority vote, we decide upon (i) whether the report of academic misconduct is accurate; (ii) whether the student should incur a penalty; and (iii) what severity the penalty should be.

Penalties that the Committee have decided upon in the past include:

  • Assigning a grade of zero for the assignment or exam;
  • Assigning a grade of zero for the entire course;
  • Denying the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme for a certain period of time;
  • Expelling a student for a certain period of time, such as one semester or several years.
  • Requesting a student to rewrite their BA or MA thesis;
  • Denying a student the right to defend their BA or MA thesis for a certain period of time.