Plagiarism is defined in the Assessment Regulations as 'the deliberate and substantial unacknowledged incorporation in a student’s work of material derived from the work (published or unpublished) of another'. In other words it means passing someone else’s work off as your own. This includes material from books, journals and the web, as well as from your friends or others.

The University regards plagiarism as a very serious offence and you’re strongly advised to study the Assessment Regulations in full. You can find more about the Code of Student Conduct here.


In order to help you avoid instances of plagiarism, the University subscribes to PLATO which is an online interactive tutorial with advice and information about plagiarism. It provides various definitions of plagiarism and short video clips. As a student at University it is your responsibility to ensure that you know what plagiarism is. PLATO can be accessed via the internet from

When you access PLATO you may be asked to log in. Use your username and your domain password. If accessing PLATO externally, use the following format for your username Caledonian\jsmith299 (replacing jsmith299 with your own username). If you have a problem logging in, do not try too many times as this will lock you out from your domain account and you will have to reset your domain password.

Detecting Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be detected in many different ways by University staff, but the main method used by lecturers digitally is through Turnitin®UK which is a web-based plagiarism detection service integrated in GCU Learn. Please note that submission of work through Turnitin within GCU Learn should be considered compulsory, unless otherwise stated by your department/lecturer. As a student, you may be required to submit coursework electronically either by email or in GCU Learn in order to be checked using this tool. The system compares your work against a database, which consists of books, journals, websites and other students' work. The system generates an originality report that shows the instances in your work that are not original and the original content that matches yours. Your lecturer will then look at that report to make a decision if there are any instances of plagiarism. Although the system can find matches, it may be a simple phrase like "drinking a lot of water is good for you", which obviously is a widely used phrase and would not require to be referenced and therefore is not plagiarised even if the system picks it up as not original.