Plagiarism and academic integrity

The Department of Political Science adheres to UVic's Policy on Academic Integrity and works to help students meet the requirements of that Policy and to deal fairly and strictly with violations of that Policy.

As most Political Science courses involve essay writing, plagiarism is a particular concern; students also must not submit the same paper (or substantially similar papers) to more than one course without the prior permission of the instructors of both courses. Students should familiarize themselves with the Policy and should discuss any questions they have about the appropriate use of sources with their instructor.

Detailed information about appropriate use of sources and appropriate citation practices is available on the Library website.

Your rights and responsibilities

"Cheating and plagiarizing are serious academic offenses. Instructors and academic units have the responsibility to ensure that standards of academic honesty are met. Depending on the severity of the case, penalties include a warning, a failing grade, a record on the student’s transcript, or a suspension.

  • Plagiarism sometimes occurs due to ignorance or confusion, but it is the responsibility of the student to know the rules. Different disciplines may have different norms. Students who are unsure about the standards for citations or for referencing their sources must seek that information from their instructors.
  • Students are entitled to a fair process when they are accused of plagiarism or cheating. This includes notification of the offense, which must be fully documented by the instructor, and a reasonable opportunity to be heard." Taken from Office of Ombudsperson How to avoid plagiarism


Academic integrity is intellectual honesty and responsibility for academic work that you submit or work on with others. It involves commitment to the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. It is expected that students will respect these ethical values in all activities related to learning, teaching, research and service.

Academic integrity is important because:

  • The university has a responsibility to ensure that students graduate from their programs with the skills that they require to participate successfully in the community or workforce.  An inaccurate representation of your disciplinary knowledge, academic skills, and professional competence could be potentially harmful to others’ well-being and could compromise the university’s reputation, as well as your own.
  • Students expect to have a high quality learning experience.  They need to feel that their hard work is being recognized and fairly evaluated, and that other students do not have an unfair advantage through cheating on exams, essays, or projects.
  • One key goal of UVic’s Strategic Plan (p. 6) is to promote civic engagement and global citizenship amongst its students, and upholding the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility – core values of academic integrity – are essential to helping students learn how to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and to develop awareness of the rights and responsibilities of world citizens.

What are the various forms of plagiarism and academic dishonesty?

It’s difficult to name every single way to be academically dishonest. This list names a few:

  • Hiring an editor for your written assignments without your instructor's approval. Different departments have different ideas on this, so it's best to ask your instructor.
  • Sending a file you know is corrupt to have more time to hand in an assignment
  • Buying a paper on the Internet
  • Having someone else write your paper or parts of it
  • Using someone else’s writing as your own, even just parts of it
  • Patch-writing: using pieces of different articles and joining the pieces with some of your own words
  • Using someone else’s idea as your own without citing it
  • Intellectual dishonesty, like cheating on a test or sharing your answers
  • Having someone extensively revise your paper without prior permission from your instructor
  • Failing to properly cite ideas or excerpts from the work of others
  • Failing to indicate a paraphrase of someone else’s words
  • Copying answers and/or ideas from a classmate
  • Self-plagiarism: using something—or even parts of something—that you wrote for one course in another course


All of the following penalties are accompanied by a letter of reprimand which stays with the student’s file for four years after graduation. Please see the UVic Calendar for more detailed information. After following the policies and procedures of your department and in the UVic policy, generally speaking, the penalties may be:

  • A grade of zero for the assignment;
  • A grade of F for the course;
  • Rejection of parts or the whole of a graduate student’s thesis.