Dealing with Plagiarism by Graduate Students

Download complete document: Dealing with Plagiarism by Graduate Students


Plagiarism is intellectual theft. It occurs when an individual submits or presents the oral or written work of another person as his or her own. This definition, taken from the UBC Calendar, applies to draft work and oral presentations as well as to final submissions. Failing to properly cite the work of another also constitutes plagiarism, even if it is accidental.


Plagiarism constitutes serious academic misconduct. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is responsible for holding all graduate students in its graduate programs to the highest possible standards of academic conduct. This duty applies to the full spectrum of student academic activities, from coursework (both graduate and undergraduate) to the dissertation. The UBC Calendar, in its chapter on Policies and Regulations*, assigns certain responsibilities to the “Dean's Office”: for graduate students, these tasks come to the Dean's Office in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Therefore every case of suspected plagiarism must be reported to the Faculty of Graduate and PostdoctoralStudies, following the procedures outlined here.

Please contact to report a case of plagiarism or misconduct.

* Homepage > Policies and Regulations > Student Conduct and Discipline > Discipline for Academic Misconduct > 5. Investigation: Dean's Office

Investigating and Documenting Plagiarism

Investigating and Documenting Suspected Plagiarism, below, describes some resources for investigating suspected cases of plagiarism, and outlines the documents the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies would like to receive along with notification in every case.

General Principles

Any instructor who detects or suspects plagiarism in course work should act quickly to gather evidence. Investigating and Documenting Suspected Plagiarism describes some useful tools for this. When the evidence seems to support plagiarism, the instructor must notify the student as soon as possible about his or her concerns, and invite the student to meet to provide their side of the story. At this early stage in the process, it is important for the instructor to be prepared to receive information from the student (and others) with an open mind.

Every case of plagiarism, whether in coursework, a thesis, or a dissertation, must be brought forward to the Dean (or designated Associate Dean) of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. It is important that notification be made even if the instructor considers the incident minor, as this may help to identify a pattern of misconduct.

Next:  Plagiarism in Course Work