Cheating and plagiarism

When writing a degree project, academic paper, exam or other form of summative assessment, you are required as a student to know the guidelines that apply.

A basic rule for students at the Swedish Defence University (SEDU) is: don’t cheat. However, it is sometimes difficult, especially for new students, to know what is required. As a student, it is your responsibility to find out what rules apply, for example with regard to referencing and citation in essays and exams.

What constitutes cheating?

Cheating is to dishonestly acquire benefits, attempt to mislead or break rules. It is, for example, when someone uses unauthorised aids, unauthorised collaboration, plagiarism or during tests, or when a study performance is to be assessed.

An attempt to cheat is sufficient for a disciplinary offence to be given, for instance taking notes into an exam with the intention of using them. You could then be guilty even if you don’t use the notes.

Especially on take-home exams, where departments often encourage a certain amount of collaboration, it is important to know that helping someone else to cheat can be regarded as cheating. Allowing someone else to copy your answers could lead to disciplinary proceedings against you.

However, using aids during summative assessment is sometimes allowed. In this case, course coordinating teachers should inform the students in advance.


According to the Higher Education Ordinance, the university has the right to take action against students who attempt to cheat in examinations either by using unauthorised aids or in any other way.

Disciplinary measures that may be taken include a warning or suspension. You can read more about this in our Riktlinjer för disciplinärenden och avskiljande från studier.pdf Pdf, 228.1 kB. (in swedish)

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's work and making it seem like your own. To directly copy an academic or other copyright work without specifying the model or source is plagiarism, whether it is the work in its entirety or smaller parts that are copied. This also applies if you use your own words to rewrite copied texts.

Source references

To avoid plagiarism, it is important that you give correct source references when writing academic texts in your studies. You will find tips on how to do this in our pages on academic writing.

Measures in the event of cheating

According to the Higher Education Ordinance, the university has the right to take action against students who with unauthorised aids, or use other methods to cheat in a summative assessment.

Disciplinary measures that may be applied are a warning or suspension.


Suspected cases of cheating in examinations or other forms of assessment of study performance or cases of disruption or obstruction are reported to the Vice-Chancellor. The suspicions must be based on objective grounds, but the threshold is low.

Any university employee can make a report to the Vice-Chancellor. The university’s lawyer investigates reports on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor


A student who is suspected of a disciplinary matter has the opportunity to give an account of his/her view of the information in the report, usually in the form of a written statement.

It is possible that a case will end without coming before the Disciplinary Board. The Vice-Chancellor can drop a case without further action and can also issue a warning. Otherwise the case is handed over to the Disciplinary Board.

If the Vice-Chancellor decides to issue a warning, the student can demand that the decision is reviewed by the Disciplinary Board. Students can appeal a Disciplinary Board decision resulting in a suspension or warning to the Administrative Court.

Re-examination during the investigation

During the investigation period, students may participate in re-examinations. If the student is cleared from suspicion, the examiner may assess and mark the exam/essay.

The Disciplinary Board

When the investigation is sent to the Disciplinary Board for consideration, the Vice-Chancellor may, after consulting the legal expert of the Board immediately suspend the student. The suspension is temporary and shall apply until the case is heard by the Disciplinary Board, however, one month is the maximum time of the interim suspension.

The Disciplinary Board constitutes of SEDU’s Vice-Chancellor, a legal expert, a representative of the teachers and two student representatives elected by the student union.

At the meeting the university’s lawyer presents the case. The student is then given the opportunity to make comments on the matter and answer questions from Board members.

Usually, the Board discusses the case behind closed doors after the meeting and then makes a decision. The student is then informed orally of the Board’s decision. The student is also sent the decision in writing.


The Disciplinary Board may decide to clear, warn or suspend a student. Suspension means that the student may not participate in any activity within the context of education at SEDU during the period of suspension. This means that the student is forbidden to attend teaching, examinations, seminars, enter laboratories, etc. Students can be suspended for up to a maximum of six months and do not have the right to student finance from CSN during the period of suspension. The university will inform CSN about the suspension. If the decision concerns a student at the Officer’s Programme, the decision will also be notified to the Swedish Armed Forces.

Appeal decision

If you have been warned or suspended as a result of cheating or plagiarism and consider that the decision is incorrect, you have the opportunity to appeal to Administrative Court.

What happens to the summative assessment?

The Disciplinary Board does not decide whether an exam/essay shall be assessed. Neither can the Board decide whether an exam/essay that is assessed shall pass or fail. These issues are always decided by the examiner. Usually, the assessment of the work is delayed until the question of whether the student is guilty of a disciplinary offence has been decided.

If the student is found guilty

If the student is found guilty of any form of cheating, the examiner is not obliged to mark the exam/essay.

In cases where an exam or essay has been marked before the Disciplinary Board reaches its decision that the student is guilty of cheating, the examiner can reconsider the assessment and change the grade to a fail. Please note that it is not possible to appeal against the examiner’s decision; you can only request that the work be re-assessed.

If the student is cleared

If cheating cannot be proven, the work should normally be assessed

Students who are involved in discipline matters can seek support and advice from Student Health, Study Counselors and the Student Union.