Fraud and plagiarism

What is fraud?

Fraud is defined as:  any act or omission by a student that makes it fully or partially impossible to properly assess the knowledge, insight and skill of that student or another student.

Plagiarism is defined as: cases in which a student suggests that a piece of work is his/her own when that is not the case.

Aspects of fraud:
1. Fraud does not depend on intentions: Fraud may be committed unwittingly, through carelessness or ignorance. It is also no excuse:

  • when you do not pay attention during class or to exam instructions;
  • when you share an answer with someone because you want to help them;
  • if a group member commits fraud. You are partly responsible. 

2. Neither does fraud depend on its results, e.g.:

  • being caught with a cheat sheet that you have not used (yet); or
  • the content of your cheat sheet did not turn out useful during the exam.  

You shouldn’t have made a cheat sheet.

3. The type of examination or assignment is irrelevant.

What happens when there is (a suspicion of) fraud?

1.     Reporting suspicions of Fraud
2.     Investigating possible fraud
3.     Hearing the student
4.     Decision
5.     After the decision

 Reporting suspicions of fraud

The examiner must report all instances of (suspected) fraud to the Board of Examiners (BoE).

Suspected fraud that happens during the examination
1.       The examiner or invigilator must notify the student concerned that fraud is suspected, during or immediately after the examination.
2.       The examiner will not register any result for the student concerned yet.
3.       The suspicion is recorded in writing in an official report.
4.       The examiner or the invigilator can ask the student to make any relevant evidence available. If the student refuses, this will be recorded in the report.
5.       The official report and any evidence is submitted to the Board of Examiners via

Suspected fraud that arises at some time other than during an examination
For example, while marking an examination or assignment. The examiner notifies the student and follows the procedure above as much as possible.

2. Fraud investigation

The Board of Examiners investigates suspicions of fraud. A file containing evidence and relevant documents (e.g. exam instructions) is compiled. If fraud seems likely, the student is contacted.


3. Hearing the student

The student is asked to respond. The BoE wants to hear both sides of the story before a decision is made. Suspicious circumstances are not always an indication of fraud. Reports do not always result in a ‘guilty’ verdict. If a student is guilty, we still want to hear their story.

If you receive a message from the BoE
asking for a response:

  • Take your time to formulate your response. If you cannot make the response deadline, contact the BoE.
  • It is important that you send a serious response, because decisions are made once. If you send an incomplete, impulsive (or no) response and this results in a ‘guilty’ decision, you cannot send us new and relevant information and ask for a new decision.
  • If you are certain that you did not commit fraud and you send us a proper reply, than you probably have nothing to worry about.
  • If you feel that you cannot express yourself well on paper, you can send a short reply and record a short video with your response.
  • If you do not reply, this may not work in your favour. The situation will not go away. The BoE will have to make a decision anyway.
  • In the meantime, continue with the course and your studies.
  • If you have a resit coming up, you can ask your teacher what grade you obtained for the exam. You may also take part in the inspection and discussion of results.

For proctored exams, reports are sent to the examiners by the proctor company. These are also investigated. The company does not check the rules for each exam. That is why they sometimes report the use of forbidden materials when they have been allowed. The company sends an email to the student. It can take days before they send a report on all the exams incidents to the examiner. So the proctor company does not determine whether something really is suspicious or against the rules. You will have to be patient, because it will take some time before you hear the results of the investigation.

A meeting between the BoE and the student
For the BoE, a meeting is not always necessary. Sometimes, the circumstances and/or the student’s statement are very clear. The BoE requests a meeting with the student when e.g. we have additional questions, in case of a serious fraud case, etc. If you want to have a meeting, you can ask for one in your response. You can bring someone for support, unless this person is also involved in the fraud case.

4. Decision

A decision is made after the written and/or oral statement from the student has been taken into consideration. The Fraud subcommittee presents their advice to the BoE. The decision is usually made during the BoE meeting. The student is usually informed of the decision within 3 working days after the meeting. Possible sanctions are described in Article 7 of the RGBE.


5. After the decision

Some sanctions can result in study delay. Other consequences may vary per TUD study programme. At 3mE there are limited consequences.

At the KT and TM programmes, it is possible that a student is referred to the Professional Behaviour Board.

The secretary of the 3me and KT/TM BoE has an overview of all fraud cases and decisions. Before a sanction is selected, the secretary checks to see if the student has been found guilty before. If the student has made this mistake before, the BoE will impose a bigger sanction. The information from this overview is not shared within or outside the organisation. When you leave TU Delft, your name will be removed from this overview.

If you believe that the BoE has made a decision on the wrong grounds, than you can lodge an appeal with the Examinations Appeal Board. You can find more information on the procedures webpage under ‘complaints’.

More information