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Academic Integrity refers to the Universities policy on suspected plagiarism. There are two stages to the Academic Integrity process within the University: The Preliminary Interview/Discussion and The Panel stage. Normally only the most severe or complex cases will go to the second stage, so 90% of students will only go to the interview stage.  

The process is slightly different for exam misconduct, you should click here for more information. 

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Hopefully this page can answer some of the questions you might have about both processes. 

How can the Students' Union support me?

We know that being suspected of plagiarism can be hard for some students so, we are able to support you in understanding the process you are going to go through, the questions the panel and interviews might ask you so you feel prepared and, we can even come to the Interview and Panels with you so you have the support you need.

We get booked up early so if you would like support, we suggest you email us as soon as possible and title your email Academic Integrity Interview or Panel: ussu.advice@surrey.ac.uk

Why have I been accused of plagiarism?

For coursework submissions: The marker of your work or the exam invigilator has identified a cause of concern, most commonly related to the way you have referenced or that you may not have paraphrased correctly. The marker and your department's 'Academic Integrity Officer' want to discuss their concerns with you and give you the chance to explain how you put your work together and where you went wrong.

They might decide you need to attend a further meeting – an Academic Misconduct Panel which could result in penalties. 

Stage 1: Academic Integrity Interview/Discussion

The meeting that you have been invited to is the first stage in the academic integrity process. This discussion is an opportunity for academics to raise the areas of concern with you, and equally, for you to explain how you put your piece of work together.

You can be accompanied by a friend or member of the Students' Union Advice team if you wish.

They may ask you questions such as your understanding of plagiarism, how you put your work together and if you have any drafts of your work that you can show to the panel

How can I prepare for the interview?

Read the University Regulations for Academic Integrity. This explains the different stages of the process and what the outcomes of the interview can be. These can be found on here.

You may wish to consider the following, in order to prepare you:

  • Read through your TurnitIn report and try to think of where the problem might be
  • Look at the Academic Skills and Development (Formerly SPLASH) webpage to help you understand more about plagiarism and how to avoid it - https://www.surrey.ac.uk/academic-skills-and-development ​You may wish to make an appointment with them before your interview to see where you have gone wrong
  • Look back at sources you used and gather any notes/draft versions you have for the piece of work to be discussed as you may be asked to explain how you produced your work. Having evidence of how you put the work together will help you. 
  • If you have had 'special circumstances' at the time of your submission, you will need to gather evidence for this. The evidence needed is defined in the regulation

Remember that you have to be honest with the University. Dishonesty could lead to further action such as a disciplinary with the University.

What are 'special circumstances'?

Special circumstances refer to a very small part of the extenuating circumstances policy that indicates that at the time of submission, you were unable to make a rational decision as to whether you should have submitted the work or not. You must have evidence to demonstrate your Special circumstance, usually from a medical professional. 

If your special circumstances are upheld, then your assessment will be void and you will be given a new attempt

What happens in the interview?

The interview is an informal chat with someone from the module team and two Academic Integrity Officers from the University (usually academics). You may also have a secretary taking notes. You can bring a friend, someone from the SU or someone you trust to the meeting. 

During the pandemic, the interview is usually over Teams so make sure you have good connection, a microphone and camera. 

The academics will ask you a series of questions relating to your work including your understanding of plagiarism and how you put the work together. If you have drafts or notes, make electronic copies and send to the interviews so they can see the work. This helps explain how you put the work together. 

Once all the questions have been answered, the University will ask you to leave the room, or the teams chat. This gives them time to decide on the outcome.

Normally, you will receive the outcome straight away and be invited back into the room or chat where they will give you the outcome. In complex collusion cases, it might take longer but they will let you know this. 

What is the outcome of an interview?

Following the interview/discussion, academics can reach one of three outcomes:

  • There is no case to be heard and so your work is marked as normal.

  • Your work contains areas of poor academic practice but can be marked as normal – it is likely that you will receive recommendations to seek support with your academic writing alongside this.

  • That the academics decide that your work is a result of academic misconduct and there is no evidence of special circumstances you will be given a penalty. Usually, if this is your first instance of academic misconduct then your work will be awarded zero and your module capped at the pass mark. 

  • That the academics decide that your work is a result of academic misconduct and there is valid evidence of special circumstances you will not be given a penalty. Instead your attempt will be void and you will be given a new attempt in the next assessment window (usually August).

  • A referral to an Academic Misconduct Panel (AMP)

Cases will only go to an Academic Misconduct Panel if they are of the highest severity cases (such as impersonation or purchasing an essay) or if the case is particularly complex or if there are particularly complex special circumstances. 


Stage 2: Academic Misconduct Panel

As mentioned, Cases will only go to an Academic Misconduct Panel if they are of the highest severity cases (such as impersonation or purchasing an essay) or if the case is particularly complex or if there are particularly complex special circumstances. 

If you have been invited to an Academic Misconduct Panel (AMP), then you should have already been to your interview and know what the issues within your work might be. When you receive your invitation letter, they will also send you the interview notes. You should check that these are an accurate reflection of the interview discussion. 

The panel is the second stage of the Academic Misconduct process within the University. You will be emailed a formal invitation to your panel with at least 5 days notice. This will say the time, date and location of the panel and who will be sitting on your panel. 

What can I expect in the panel?

The panel is made up of three AIO's (Academic Integrity Officers) and there will also be a secretary to the panel to take notes. The AIOs will ask you similar questions to the interview

If you have any concerns about the panel membership or see a potential conflict of interest or bias, you should raise this now.

You can be accompanied by a friend or member of the Students' Union Advice team if you wish.

Below is an outline of what you can expect at your panel, it is very similar to the interview but they may ask you some more in-depth questions about your work:

  • When you arrive at the panel you will be welcomed by the secretary who will explain how the panel will run.

  • You will then be asked into the room and introduced to the panel.

  • The panel will ask you questions similar to those you were asked in your interview and will be looking to understand how you put your work together or what happened in your examination.

  • When the panel has no further questions, you will be asked to wait outside whilst they discuss your case.

  • You will then be asked to return to the room once a decision has been made - you will be informed of the outcome verbally on the day.

  • Following the panel, you will receive written confirmation of the outcome via your University email address.

How can I prepare for the panel?

You can prepare in a very similar way to the interview - begin by reading the regulations if you have not already. These can be found here.

You may wish to consider the following, in order to prepare you:

  • Read through your TurnitIn report and try to think of where the problem might be

  • Look at the Academic Skills and Development (Formerly SPLASH) webpage to help you understand more about plagiarism and how to avoid it - https://www.surrey.ac.uk/academic-skills-and-development ​You may wish to make an appointment with them before your interview to see where you have gone wrong

  • Look back at sources you used and gather any notes/draft versions you have for the piece of work to be discussed as you may be asked to explain how you produced your work. Having evidence of how you put the work together will help you. 

  • If you have had 'special circumstances' at the time of your submission, you will need to gather evidence for this. The evidence needed is defined in the regulation

  • If it helps you feel more confident, you can prepare a statement to read to the panel

Remember that you have to be honest with the University. Dishonesty could lead to further action such as a disciplinary with the University.


What are the outcomes of a panel?

The panel can reach the following conclusions:

  • There is no case to be heard and so your work is marked as normal.
  • Your work contains areas of poor academic practice but can be marked as normal – it is likely that you will receive recommendations to seek support with your academic writing alongside this.

  • That the academics decide that your work is a result of academic misconduct and there is no evidence of special circumstances you will be given a penalty. First offense minor cases will usually be awarded zero for the work and module capped at 40% however the system is incremental so if this is a serious offense or a second offense the penalties are more severe. 

  • That the academics decide that your work is a result of academic misconduct and there is valid evidence of special circumstances you will not be given a penalty. Instead your attempt will be void and you will be given a new attempt in the next assessment window (usually August).


You can appeal the outcome of an Academic Integrity Interview or an Academic Misconduct Panel, if you have valid grounds to do so. Please email us for this information.


I need further advice:​

You can make an appointment with one of our Academic Advice team. Appointments are for a maximum of 30 minutes, Monday - Friday 10-4pm.

Please email ussu.advice@surrey.ac.uk with the following information:

Name​, Course, Year of study, Details of your case (including your Turnitin Report and invitation letter), What you need advice on, Date and time of your interview.


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