1.4. What is an Academic Offence?

Academic Offences Defined

ImportantThe definition of an ‘Academic Offence’ is detailed in Fanshawe’s Academic Integrity policy. Fanshawe College defines an ‘Academic Offence’ as “obtaining or attempting to obtain an unfair advantage or credit for academic work for oneself or others by dishonest means”.

If you keep two key concepts in mind: ‘unfair advantage’ and ‘dishonest means’, you’ll be able to see why certain actions and behaviours are considered to be Academic Offences when we look at the list of eleven Academic Offences in the next module.

It’s important to understand that both intentional and unintentional actions and behaviour can result in Academic Offences. It is often very clear when Academic Offences have occurred intentionally: perhaps a student intended to cheat on a test or perhaps they submitted an assignment as their own knowing that they did not do the work.

Intentional Academic Offences often result in the application of penalties which are disciplinary measures. Examples of unintentional Academic Offences include:

  • improper citation in an assignment by a student not familiar with citing requirements,
  • providing a completed assignment to a friend not realizing that they may submit it as their own work, and
  • uploading assignments to course content sharing sites like Course Hero not realizing that students may download the assignments and submit them as their own.

Unintentional Academic Offences often result in Warnings being issued so that students become aware that those actions and behaviours are not acceptable. Warnings are intended to be learning opportunities. Penalties would be applied if actions and behaviours continue after a Warning has been issued.


If you have any questions about Academic Offences, please feel free to email the Academic Integrity Office at academicintegrity@fanshawec.ca

Policy A136: Academic Integrity: https://www.fanshawec.ca/sites/default/files/2021-06/a136.pdf


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