Upholding academic integrity: Our collective responsibility

As we embark on a new academic year and welcome both returning and new students to Unisa, we find it important to address a cornerstone of our shared academic journey: academic integrity. 

Context and importance of academic integrity

Academic integrity is the foundation upon which the pillars of our educational institution rest. It signifies the commitment to honesty, fairness, trust, respect and responsibility. Upholding these values is crucial not only for your personal growth but also for maintaining the credibility and reputation of your degrees in the world. When we compromise on academic integrity, we undermine the very essence of our learning and the value of our achievements. It is thus important that you uphold these values in your daily interactions with the university,  lecturers, fellow students, studies and completion of assessments. 

Instances of academic misconduct

Academic misconduct is any act that a student commits that allows them to gain or attempt to gain an unfair or undeserved learning advantage. It is essential to recognise these actions, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Plagiarism: Presenting someone else's work, ideas or expressions as your own without proper acknowledgment.
  • Cheating: Using unauthorised materials, information or assistance in any academic exercise.
  • Collusion: Collaborating without authorisation with others to produce work presented as solely one's own effort.
  • Falsification: Deliberately altering, inventing or misrepresenting data, information or citations in academic work.
  • Fabrication: Falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic assessment.
  • Facilitation of dishonesty: Helping another student commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  • Impersonation/third party assistance: Assuming another student's identity or allowing another person to assume yours for completing any academic work.
  • Unethical usage of Artificial Intelligence software: Using AI to generate and present work as own/complete assessments or carrying out any academic activities without authorisation or acknowledgement.

Consequences of academic misconduct

The consequences of engaging in academic misconduct are severe and far-reaching. Upon identification, students may face:

  • Immediate academic penalties: These may include failing the assignment by being allocated a 0% for said assessment.
  • Disciplinary action: Depending on the severity and frequency of the misconduct, disciplinary actions can range from formal warnings to suspension or even expulsion from the university.
  • Impact on future opportunities: Academic misconduct records can affect scholarship opportunities, eligibility for registration of follow-on qualifications and/or employment opportunities, as many organisations and institutions inquire about integrity violations during the period of your studies.

In this regard, Unisa maintains a zero-tolerance approach to any form of academic misconduct during assessments. 

Our commitment to support

We understand that academic journeys can be challenging and that there may be pressures that tempt students to compromise on integrity. To support your success while upholding our values, the university offers various resources:

  • Academic support services: These include ADOVH academic integrity MOOC, tutoring classes, academic literacy workshops designed to equip you with the skills needed for academic success. Please refer to myUnisa for schedules of student training throughout the semester.
  • Counseling and advising: For students facing personal, financial or academic challenges, our counseling and advisory services are here to offer support and guidance. You may contact 

Call to action

As members of the Unisa community, you are urged to reflect on the importance of academic integrity and to commit yourselves to upholding these essential values more especially as you start your academic year. Let us work together to foster an environment where honesty prevails, and where our academic achievements are a true reflection of our hard work and dedication. 

Please familiarise yourself with Unisa’s commitment to six student values (integrity, respect, discipline, honesty, commitment and humanity) that you must uphold during your studies. Our focus is on providing an environment, a culture and a service that will shape and allow us to fully live and exemplify our values.

We encourage you to also familiarise yourselves with the university's academic integrity policies available on Student Disciplinary Code and Academic Integrity Policy.

Students may anonymously report identified instances of academic misconduct to our whistle-blowing hotline on 0800 07 5278 or e-mail 

Should you have any questions or require clarification on these matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Student Contact Centre on 0800 00 1870.

Let's make this academic year a testament to our commitment to integrity, excellence and mutual respect.

All the best with your 2024 academic year.

University Registrar

Publish date: 2024/03/07