UNBC Graduate Calendar Regulations on Academic Offences

Statement from the Office of Graduate Programs regarding plagiarism

Other than not understanding what the term means, conversations about plagiarism typically understate the seriousness of the issue.

Plainly stated, whether intentional or not, it is a form of theft, and unfortunately, at the graduate stage of your career, a lack of awareness of what constitutes plagiarism cannot be used as an excuse.

The award of any degree but particularly a graduate one, is awarded on the understanding that the work submitted, and effort involved is yours, not taken from someone else’s work without indication. It is an illustration of your honesty and integrity.

We hope that the information on this webpage and from other sources at UNBC will help you, but if not, then please contact the Office of Graduate Programs and we will endeavor to help.


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the copying of another person’s works in your own written work, without giving credit to that person or source.

So what?

Any effort to gain an advantage not given or available to other students whether or not the effort is successful. In academia, plagiarism is regarded as a type of intellectual theft – you are taking the credit for someone else’s words or ideas.

How can anyone tell if I copy someone else’s writing?

Either the style and/or jargon and/or grammar/punctuation is at odds with that elsewhere in the piece of work OR it is recognized or a passage from a well-known article or book.

I don’t intend to plagiarize but I can’t help it – it’s the only way I can think of to express these ideas.

This usually means that you do not really understand the concepts being described and have thus resorted to “en masse” reproduction. Try making a few notes on the basic ideas and concepts you are tempted to copy then seek clarification from other papers/books/articles on the parts that you don’t understand. Use all the information gathered to construct a passage in your own words with appropriate reference to your sources.

Most of the essay is in my own words but there are a few places where one of my books says it much better than I ever could.

In that case, you can quote the source directly in the standard way.

What happens if I am suspected of plagiarism?

The allegations of plagiarism will be considered according to regulation #25 of the graduate calendar and sanctions applied according to regulations #26.

Online Sources

How to Acknowledge What You’ve Read: Citing and Referencing

Monash University
A tutorial based on the Harvard style covering why, when and how to acknowledge your sources.

Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words

Learn to borrow from a source without plagiarizing: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing