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Consequences of Academic Fraud

Among students, the most frequent case of academic fraud is "cheating", i.e. behaving in a dishonest way to boost one’s performance. This is particularly the case when students resort to unauthorized aids or behaviors during courses and exams. Examples include:  

  • copying someone else’s work

  • copying a seminar paper or a homework assignment

  • using cheat sheets, cell phones, smartwatches, earphones

  • pretending to be someone else

  • using unauthorized calculators with memory function

  • failing to cite sources properly in a seminar paper

  • submitting the same written assignment (or parts thereof) in different courses without a reference to this in the assignment

  • during online exams: speaking, using headphones, having other people in the same room

  • violating other requirements or rules of conduct set by examiners or the course instructors

  • free riding during group projects, e.g,. letting others do all the work and benefiting from it in the grading process

If a student is found to be cheating or to have cheated during an exam, a procedure for invalidating the exam in question will be initiated. Exams are declared void because of cheating and will count as a lost examination attempt. All people involved will be barred from registering for the respective exam for four months.

If the cheating attempt concerns a performance component of a course, the entire course will be invalid. It will count as a lost examination attempt. All people involved will be barred from registering for/taking the respective course (or parallel courses) for four months. 

After a detected cheating attempt, WU will not issue you a certification of good student conduct. Please note that you will need one for applying for numerous Master's degree programs, starting your court practice, or for potential employers.

Do you think a hold (barring you from registering for a course or exam) was unfairly imposed?

Write an email to and describe your view. In doing so, you must show credible evidence that you did not use any unauthorized aids or that you did not violate the respective requirements. However, a mere contradiction is not enough. You must present your claim in a comprehensible manner and provide all available evidence or name witnesses

What rules apply to final theses?

For final theses (Bachelor's/Master's/doctoral and PhD theses) - especially with regard to plagiarism and ghostwriting - the rules laid down in WU's Directive on Plagiarism apply.