Utrecht University considers any form of academic dishonesty to be a very serious offense. Utrecht University expects each student to be familiar with and to observe the norms and values that ensure academic integrity.

The most serious forms of deception that can impair this integrity are fraud and plagiarism. Plagiarism is a form of fraud and is defined as the wrongful appropriation of another author’s work without proper citation. The text below provides further elaboration on what may be considered fraud or plagiarism, along with a number of concrete examples. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list!

If the university discovers a case of fraud or plagiarism, then the study programme’s Examination Committee may implement sanctions on the offender. The most serious sanction that the Examination Committee may implement is the submission of a request for expulsion to the Executive Board.

Fraud may include:

  • cheating during tests. The person offering the opportunity to cheat is an accessory to fraud.
  • being in possession of (i.e. having/carrying) tools and resources during tests, such as pre-programmed calculators, mobile phones, smartwatch, smartglasses, books, course readers, notes, etc., consultation of which is not explicitly permitted.
  • having others carry out all of part of an assignment and passing this off as own work.
  • gaining access to questions or answers of a test prior to the date or time that the examination takes place.
  • Making up survey or interview answers or research data.
  • wrongly signing or having another sign the attendance lists (student A signs for student B who is not present; both students commit fraud)

Plagiarism is the appropriation of another author’s works, thoughts, or ideas and the representation of such as one’s own work.

The following are some examples of what may be considered plagiarism:

  • Copying and pasting text from digital sources, such as encyclopaedias or digital periodicals, without using quotation marks and referring to the source;
  • Copying and pasting text from the Internet without using quotation marks and referring to the source;
  • Copying information from printed materials, such as books, periodicals or encyclopaedias, without using quotation marks and referring to the source;
  • Using a translation of the texts listed above in one’s own work, without using quotation marks and referring to the source;
  • Paraphrasing from the texts listed above without a (clear) reference: paraphrasing must be marked as such (by explicity linking the text with the original author, either in text or a footnote), ensuring that the impression is not created that the ideas expressed are those of the student;
  • Using another person’s imagery, video, audio or test materials without reference and in so doing representing them as one’s own work;
  • Resubmission of the student’s own earlier work without source references, and allowing this to pass for work originally produced for the purpose of the course, unless this is expressly permitted in the course or by the lecturer;
  • Using other students’ work and representing it as one’s own work. If this occurs with the other student’s permission, then he or she may be considered an accomplice to the plagiarism;
  • When one author of a joint paper commits plagiarism, then all authors involved in that work are accomplices to the plagiarism if they could have known or should have known that the other was committing plagiarism;
  • Submitting papers provided by a commercial institution, such as an internet site with summaries or papers, or which have been written by others, regardless of whether the text was provided in exchange for payment.

As a student you have to consider copyright issues on a regular basis. You might use copyright-protected works in a research project, for example. And when you publish your own work (e.g. a thesis), you are an author yourself. The Copyright Information Office provides answers to your questions relating to copyright.

Using works protected by copyright

If you are writing a thesis or carrying out other research, you may need to know about citing and acknowledging sources. You must also take copyright into account when you use images, sound material and video material.

When you upload a thesis in the Student Theses Archive of Utrecht University, you must make sure that you have not violated copyrights in your thesis. You will  be held responsible for any copyright violation.

Searching for literature

Finding and processing literature is a standard part of your study activities. When you use sources produced by others, make sure you do so responsibly. Material produced by others is usually protected by copyright. As a student, you are permitted to include links to online material that is not freely available, provided the University Library has a licence for using it within Utrecht University.

Students as authors

If you write a thesis, you are the author and the copyright rests with you. This means that you have control over whether and how your material is distributed and/or commercialised.


Plagiarism is a form of fraud and is a breach of academic integrity. This is why Bachelor’s and Master’s theses are checked for plagiarism.