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What is a Breach of Academic Integrity?

Ordinance 9 – Student Academic Integrity applies to all pieces of work submitted by students for assessment. The Ordinance covers all alleged breaches committed by a person who is currently or was previously enrolled in a course, unit or other program of study offered by the University.

A breach of academic integrity involves all conduct that:

  • Undermines the key principles of academic integrity (i.e. honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility)
  • Includes any form of misrepresentation of academic achievement
  • Engages in an identified act of academic wrongdoing (i.e. low, intermediate or high-level breach).

Breaches of Academic Integrity

Typical Breaches

There are a number of potential breaches of academic integrity that students need to be aware of that may include, but are not limited to:


Inadequate acknowledgment of sources e.g. direct copying without stating source/s; poor referencing (i.e. unintentional plagiarism); using others’ creative works; self-plagiarism


Acting dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage e.g. contracting a third party to complete an assessment; using study aids/notes in an exam


Inappropriate collaboration related to an assessment task e.g.  working together with other students on work that is intended to be completed independently


Production of falsified or fabricated materials/ situations e.g. impersonating someone else during an exam; creating or altering data such as laboratory results


Fraudulent behaviour relating to an assessment e.g. falsifying an official document such as a medical certificate, student record or other official document


Behaviour that deliberately obstructs or limits the academic opportunities of others through impediment or access e.g. theft of another’s work or property; not returning library materials

See Appendix A: Examples of Academic Integrity Breaches, Ordinance 9 – Student Academic Integrity for a fuller list of examples of breaches of academic integrity.

Breach Level

Ordinance 9 – Student Academic Integrity identifies breaches of academic integrity as being a low, intermediate or high-level breach.

Low-level breach

A low-level breach suggests that a student has failed to meet the expectations of academic integrity, yet the breach may be unintentional (i.e. the student may be at an early stage of undergraduate study, studying at an Australian institution for the first time or the conduct is a minor contravention of academic practice and standards).

Intermediate-level breach

An intermediate-level breach indicates that a student has sought an unfair advantage and the breach may be intentional (i.e. they have attempted to deceive or gain an unfair advantage, and/or disadvantage others, and/or the student has a previous substantiated breach).

High-level breach

A high-level breach shows that a student has made sustained or significant attempt/s to seek an unfair advantage and the breach is intentional (i.e. they have attempted to deceive or gain an unfair advantage, and/or the breach is of a serious nature such as fraud or misrepresentation, and/or the conduct threatens the University’s reputation, and/or the student has multiple previous substantiated breaches).

Part 7 – Breach Level Matrix, Ordinance 9 – Student Academic Integrity outlines in more detail the breach levels.