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This guide explains what you should do if you are accused of breaching examination regulations. The full details of the Examination Irregularities Procedure can be found in the UCL Academic Manual .

Examination irregularities can relate to both coursework and examinations, written, oral or practical.

UCL takes academic misconduct very seriously. It can compromise the standard of degrees awarded by UCL, and affect security and fairness to other students. It is important that you respond promptly, professionally and within the time limits to any alleged breach of the examination regulations.

The Advice Service can advise you on the relevant regulations, help you to put together your response to the allegation, and attend meetings or hearings with you. To book an appointment use our contact form.

Written examinations

  • Having unauthorised material in the examination hall.
  • Removal of an examination script or blank examination stationery from the examination hall.
  • Attempting to confer with another candidate.
  • Attempting to see or read another candidate’s script.
  • Unsupervised absence from the examination hall.
  • Impersonation of a candidate.
  • Anything that might give a candidate an unfair advantage.

Coursework, dissertations and project work

  • Plagiarism.
  • Collusion with another student, unless authorised by the Course Organiser.
  • Falsification, alteration or misrepresenting data.

Examination Irregularities are divided into Minor or Major cases. Minor cases are dealt with by the Course or Module Organiser; Major cases are dealt with either by a Departmental Panel or the UCL Examination Irregularities Panel.


A minor case is a first instance of plagiarism, collusion or falsification that occurs in either the first year of a programme that lasts two or more years or in the first term of a one year programme, in which no more than one third (approx.) of the work can be demonstrated to have been plagiarised.

Where collusion between two or more students is established, all students concerned will be penalised.

The Course or Module Organiser, after investigation, may impose a penalty and inform the Departmental Tutor who will add a note to your file.

The penalty will be one of the following:

  • an informal reprimand, and
  • reduced or zero mark, or
  • a requirement to re-submit the assignment.

If you are not happy with the decision of the Course or Module Organiser, then you can appeal the decision to the Examinations Irregularities Panel, but in this case there is no further right of appeal from the Panel’s decision.


Any irregularity which is not classed as minor is classed as major. These are dealt with either at a Departmental Panel or at the UCL Examinations Irregularity Panel.

The Chair of the Board of Examiners will determine whether to refer the allegation to the Examinations Irregularities Panel or to a Departmental Panel.

The following are referred to the Examinations Irregularities Panel:

  • A second or repeat offence occurring at separate examination periods.
  • An attempt to access the assessed coursework of another candidate without that candidate’s knowledge.
  • A sufficiently serious breach of the regulations, which could lead to the termination of the student’s registration at UCL.

Major cases - Departmental Panel

If the allegation is referred to the Departmental Panel, you will be given a copy of the allegation, and an invitation to attend the hearing. You will also be invited to make a written submission to the Panel.

It is important that you attend the Panel hearing. You can take friend with you, or request one of the Advice Service team to go with you.

The Panel members will read all the papers before the hearing and may wish to ask you some questions. You will be able to make a short oral statement at the hearing, but it is advisable to put everything into your written statement.

If the Departmental Panel decides that you have breached the examination regulations  it may impose one or more of the following penalties:

  • Take no further action.
  • Give you an informal reprimand.
  • Give you a formal reprimand, which is recorded on your record.
  • Reduce your mark for the assessment in question.
  • Give you a zero mark; you may be required to re-take the assessment and that you will only be given the minimum mark to pass the assessment.

The Departmental Panel may refer the matter to the Examination Irregularities Panel rather than impose a penalty.

If you are not happy with the decision of the Departmental Panel you can appeal the decision. In this case your appeal will be heard by the Examinations Irregularities Panel.

Examinations Irregularities Panel

If an allegation of a major examination irregularity is made, the Academic Registrar will send you a copy of the allegation, a copy of the full regulations  and invite you to submit a written statement to put your explanation. It is important that your statement is as complete as possible because the Panel will use this information to make its decision.

You will also be invited to attend the Panel hearing. It is important that you attend. If you cannot attend, please let the Academic Registrar’s office know, explaining why. We can talk with you before the hearing to let you know what will happen on the day of the hearing, and support you throughout the hearing. You can be accompanied by a ‘friend’ who must be a member of staff at UCL or a student currently registered at UCL. A member of the Advice Team or a Sabbatical Officer may be able to attend with you if you ask them in advance.

The Panel will consist of four members:

  • The Dean of Students (Academic) who chairs the Panel
  • A Faculty Tutor
  • A Student Union Sabbatical Officer
  • The Director of Student Administration

None of these people may be a member of the student’s own department.

A member of the Registry staff will act as secretary to the Panel, all communications will be made through this person. You must not attempt to write, email or talk with any Panel member directly.

Your Department will be given a copy of your submission and invited to make written comments on the submission.

You own department will be invited to send a representative to the hearing. The Chair of the Panel may put questions to you and/or your department’s representative. You will also be asked if you wish to add anything to your written statement.

The purpose of the Panel hearing is to investigate the grounds on which the allegations have been made and to determine, where appropriate, the penalty to be imposed.

The friend who goes with you cannot speak to the panel, but may quietly remind you of any key points you need to make.

The Panel will make its decision in private and then inform the Academic Registrar who in turn will inform you of the decision, you can expect an email within 10 days of the hearing.

The Examinations Irregularities Panel may impose one or more of these penalties:

  • No further action is required.
  • The student is given an informal reprimand; this is not recorded on your student record.
  • The student is given a formal reprimand which is recorded on your student record.
  • The performance of the student in part or in all of the assessments he/she sat in the year the breach of the regulations occurred be withheld.
  • The student will not be permitted to re-enter for part or all of those assessments before the expiry of a stated period of time.
  • The student is permitted to re-enter for part or all of those assessments on the next normal occasion;
  • That no degree/diploma/certificate be awarded to the student before the expiry of a stated period not exceeding three terms following satisfactory completion of the conditions for the award.
  • That no degree/diploma/certificate be awarded to the student.
  • The student is to be excluded from any future examinations of UCL for this programme or a different programme within UCL.
  • The penalty is to be a variation on any of the above to reflect more appropriately the seriousness of the offence and/or the effect that the decision may have on the student’s future academic progression.
  • That a degree, diploma or certificate already awarded to a student should be revoked.

If the penalty is that the mark for a particular assessment is withheld, the Panel may require to student to retake other components of the module or assignment.


It is possible to appeal against the decision of the Examinations Irregularities Panel. See here for more information about appealing a decision.

The Advice Service can assist you with making an appeal. The appeal must be submit within 10 days of the notification of the Panel’s decision so if you require support for the Advice Service, you must get in touch with them as soon as you receive your decision.