Plagiarism in a thesis, dissertation or other research work is punishable by a penalty. Indeed, academic integrity is an essential element of graduation. The assessment of the examination is based on your ability to research a given or chosen topic, drawing on previous studies and your own thinking. Degrees are awarded by proving that the subject has been mastered, not by copying someone else's work. The penalties for plagiarism are therefore very heavy. Some politicians or lawyers have lost their titles years after graduation for copyright infringement.

First of all, do you know exactly what plagiarism is? What are the penalties for copying and pasting? And what do students think?


  1. What exactly is plagiarism?
  2. What are the academic penalties for plagiarism in an exam?
  3. What are the legal and penal sanctions for plagiarism?
  4. What are the psychological penalties for this fraud?
  5. Plagiarism is unforgiving, the consequences are heavy!
  6. What are the main resources for preventing plagiarism among students?
plagiarism penalties

1. What exactly is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is defined as presenting the work of another person as your own. Plagiarism is not a legal concept. In law, plagiarism exists under the term of forgery, which is an offence. Thus, in your documentary research and writing work, using an author's ideas is not forbidden, provided that you do not conceal from the reader the origin of an idea, a statement or a work. In other words, to avoid plagiarism, one must cite one's sources according to precise instructions: 

plagiarism consequences

2. What are the academic penalties for plagiarism in an exam?

Each academic institution draws up internal regulations and chooses the sanctions incurred in the event of discovery of copyright infringement. This document can be freely consulted by students and teachers. It is generally freely available on the institution's website. At the beginning of the academic year, some academic institutions make their students and sometimes teachers sign an anti-plagiarism charter and/or an honour code.

The penalty is sometimes different depending on the importance of the exam. Indeed, the penalty will be more severe for a doctorate, thesis or dissertation than for a course report or a knowledge exam during the year.

Examples of penalties for plagiarism:

  1. Cancellation of the corresponding test,
  2. Warning/punishment,
  3. Temporary (6 months to 1 year) or permanent exclusion from any public higher education institution.

The sanction therefore depends on the policy of the institution, the intentional nature of the fraud and the importance of the plagiarised paper. 


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"Plagiarism is, in fact, a legal offense that must be taken seriously.

According to copyright law, the copyright owner has the right to sue a violator in federal court. Plus, an owner doesn't have to file for a copyright. When creating a new work, copyright protections are automatically assigned to the work. Making your own additions doesn't make copying the material acceptable. In fact, U.S. law prohibits minor changes in copied text as a means of avoiding copyright infringement." UpCounsel, "Plagiarism Intellectual Property: Everything You Need to Know".

consequences plagiarism college

4. What are the psychological sanctions of this fraud?


When plagiarism is discovered, trust is damaged and reputation suffers.

Reputation of the individual

All future writings will be checked to ensure that the moment of error was only temporary. Past and future research will be subject to suspicion. This is not a serene climate.

Reputation of the school

Sometimes, some schools "forget" to train their students and teachers in citation standards and do not have defined regulations in case of plagiarism. The reputation of the school is thus at stake, leading students to choose another school.

Cases of copyright infringement can be uncovered years after graduation. The exam is then cancelled. So even if plagiarism is not discovered at the time of graduation, it may well be subject to sanctions later.

"A student who plagiarizes runs the risk of being suspended or expelled. The offense will likely be included on the student's permanent record and could cause them to not be admitted to other schools or universities. At most universities, students are suspended on their first plagiarism violation and are typically expelled if it happens again." , UpCounsel, "Plagiarism Law: Everything You Need to Know".


plagiarism sanctions risks consequences


5. What are the main resources for preventing plagiarism among students?


Compilatio software

Compilatio offers software to detect similarities and determine whether or not there is plagiarism

Learn more about Compilatio


Compilatio services

Compilatio is also a tailor-made service for academic institutions, with complementary services

Anti-plagiarism Charter - examples

Honor codes - examples

Web pages about plagiarism sanctions - examples


Citing has some important advantages. Citing authors allows the student to prove that he or she has mastered the research tools. The researcher values his or her integrity by respecting copyright. Moreover, the teacher is invited to set an example to teach good practices to his students.
Finally, the penalties for plagiarism are high to deter fraudsters. So, we might as well do everything we can to be proud of the work we have done and look forward to the future with peace of mind.

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