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Natural Sciences Tripos


It is the responsibility of every student at the University of Cambridge to avoid academic misconduct by familiarising yourself with the University, faculty and departmental guidance, following the conventions outlined, and ensuring that they ask for clarification or support, if needed, from their Director of Studies or Tutor.

The University defines academic misconduct as “gaining or attempting to gain, or helping others to gain or attempt to gain, an unfair academic advantage in formal University assessment, or any activity likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research”.

Examples of academic misconduct include plagiarism, self-plagiarism, contract cheating, collusion, impersonating someone or being impersonated in an examination, fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation of data, results or other outputs or aspects of research, failure to meet legal, ethical and professional obligations in carrying out research.

Full definitions are outlined by the University here.


Specifically, plagiarism is defined as “using someone else’s ideas, words, data, or other material produced by them without acknowledgement”.

The University provides some further guidance on plagiarism here.

Students should read this information carefully as the University takes academic misconduct and plagiarism very seriously with all suspected cases being investigated which can ultimately lead to suspension from the University or failure.

Many Departments and Faculties have supplementary guidance on plagiarism – what constitutes plagiarism, how to avoid it, and Departmental specific guidance on how detection methods are used. Many of the Departments that teach on the Natural Sciences Tripos use plagiarism detecting software to either do random sampling, blanket testing or checks where plagiarism is suspected. The use of this software should be set out in the Department/Faculties plagiarism statements but if you are unclear of the policy for any of your papers please do check with the Course Organiser.

Artificial Intelligence:

The use of artificial intelligence in assessment is a rapidly changing topic for institutions and whilst it is likely that students are engaging with such tools to support personal study the University currently states “a student using any unacknowledged content generated by artificial intelligence within a summative assessment as though it is their own work constitutes academic misconduct, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the assessment brief.”

The University guidance can be found here, and will likely be updated in the coming years.


Links to the relevant Departmental/ Faculty statements are provided below. Statements for other departments may be available through course materials.