Cheating at exams and other forms of assessment

Pursuant to section 14 of the University Act, subsection 9, cf. section 20a of the examination order (BEK 849 of 16/06/2023), DTU has laid down rules on disciplinary measures in cases of exam cheating and disruptive behaviour during examinations and tests. For diploma students, however, the rules are laid down based on § 34 of the examination order for vocational higher education (BEK 863 of 14/06/2022).

Violation of the exam rules will result in disciplinary sanctions against the student. See DTU Inside under 'Study rules'/'Disciplinary measures towards students'. Read more about the disciplinary sanctions used for violating the exam rules below under the section 'Sanctions'.

DTU has ratified the Danish code of conduct for research integrity and, based on this, has formulated DTU's own code of good scientific and ethical practice/conduct (DTU Code of Integrity in Research). This code, which includes everyone at DTU, implies that students, including PhD students, must demonstrate, via their projects and conduct during courses and participation in extracurricular activities and student competitions, that they have understood the principles of good scientific practice. Violation of the code will be dealt with according to DTU's rules on cheating at exams and other assessment forms. DTU’s principles for good scientific conduct can be found at DTU Inside under ‘Research’ and ‘Principles for good scientific conduct’.

DTU has introduced an Honour Code for BEng, BSc, and MSc students. At the beginning of their studies, students must actively express their acceptance of the code to continue their studies at DTU. With the student's acceptance of the code of honour, DTU expects the student to exhibit independence and fairness in their work and exams and that they do not violate the rules on exam cheating. Acceptance of the Honour Code is a part of the commencement of studies exam for newly admitted BEng and BSc students. Admitted MSc students and international guest students must express their acceptance of the code in connection with registration for courses in the 1st semester. More information on DTU's code of honour can be found at DTU Inside under 'Study rules'.

What is exam cheating?
DTU requires that students at DTU demonstrate independence in their work and that the exam always reflects their own independent performance. This is important as all assessments are individual, and the lecturer must be able to assess what the individual student has learned and can.

The rules below also include exam cheating in connection with exam prerequisites. Read more about these at DTU Inside under 'Study rules'/'Teaching'/'Class participation and exam prerequisites'.

DTU considers it exam cheating, among other things, in the following cases:

  1. Plagiarism
    Plagiarizing means using someone else's text, results, ideas, images, figures, slides (also from teaching), notes, data, etc., as your own without indicating the precise source. Using AI, such as ChatGPT and similar forms of artificial intelligence, where it is not you but the program/robot that writes, solves a task, etc., is also plagiarism if you do not cite the source. Refining an assignment's content using grammar or spelling checks is widely accepted and does not require citation. It must be clear from an assignment answer, etc., which parts result from one's own thoughts and which are based on direct copying or processing of other people's knowledge, including from a program/robot. When using texts, images, graphs, etc., which are not your own, whether as a quote, paraphrase, report, translation, or assessment, a reference to the source must be made. A paraphrase is a reformulation of a text. Read more about plagiarism and correct citations and references at, a web tutorial for students about plagiarism.

    If you, in an individual assignment, use copies of notes, formula collections, assignment answers, etc., which have been prepared by others or in collaboration with others, this is also plagiarism unless you clearly refer to this and indicate the source. This is because the common notes, etc., are not your independent exam performance. You thereby conceal or mislead about your own efforts or results.

    Purchase of a completed assignment answer from an assignment bank, e.g. on the internet, is also plagiarism/exam cheating.
  2. Self-plagiarism
    This means reusing your own text that has previously been graded without quotation marks and source references. A written work can only form the basis for assessment once. A written work that has previously been graded at DTU or another educational institution cannot be included in a renewed assessment regardless of the grade obtained and even though it is the student's own previous written work. 
  3. Academic dishonesty by, e.g. manipulating or falsifying data. 
  4. Concealment or misleading of own efforts or results.
  5. Engages in unauthorized collaboration, e.g. in connection with an individual homework assignment, or gains unauthorized access to information during an individual exam via fellow students or others or digitally by receiving or attempting to receive assistance.
  6. Using unauthorized aids (read more at DTU Inside here).
  7. Wrongfully acquisition of prior knowledge of the exam paper. 
  8. Providing incorrect attendance information where attendance is required.
  9. Knowingly helps another student to violate the exam rules.
  10. Participation online in a written exam that takes place on campus (on-site test) where you sit somewhere other than in the exam room.

On DTU Inside, under ''Study rules'/'DTU's code of honour' under 'Do's and don'ts', examples of everyday situations from the study where you can involuntarily come into conflict with the rules for exam cheating are described. Here is also a link to a web tutorial for students describing plagiarism and how to avoid plagiarism by knowing the basic rules for citation and source reference in written assignment answers.

Notification of exam cheating
If there is a reasoned suspicion of violation of the exam rules, the lecturer must notify the Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs via 

Reporting can occur during a teaching period, e.g. in connection with an exam prerequisite assignment or other written submission, or after the final exam.

The lecturer can find further guidance on reporting students for exam cheating and other things related to exam cheating at DTU Inside under 'Educational administration'/'Guidance'/'Exam cheating'.

What should a notification report contain?
A notifying report should contain the following information:

Background specification: A brief description covering how the student's behaviour during the exam or assignment differs from the expected and gives rise to suspicion of cheating. The background specification should clearly mark what is not considered to reflect the student’s independent performance. Within the context of plagiarism, it should be stated how the student could have quoted correctly.  

Flag exam cheating: In the student’s exam paper or an independent document developed by the lecturer, the plagiarised parts of the assignment should be marked clearly: Text, graphs, equations, document creation, etc. The plagiarised parts should be marked clearly, e.g. by yellow highlighting. When the system identifies plagiarism, the report from the antiplagiarism software program should always be enclosed, together with the original text plagiarized from, if possible.

Evaluation form: What type of evaluation does the course have, and how much does the part that contains supposed plagiarism/exam cheating weigh?

The lecturer must be aware that the report is transmitted in original form to the student(s) in question in connection with the student(s) 's hearing.

How must the lecturer assess the student who is reported?
When the lecturer reports grades or Passed/Failed for the entire course, this must also be done for the student(s) the lecturer has reported or will report for the presumption of exam cheating.

The lecturer must make their assessment of the reported student(s) without including the suspicion of exam cheating. Depending on whether the student has passed or not passed the course as a whole, the lecturer in the Grade Reporting System must enter the following for the affected students: 

AI = Awaiting decision Failed, or
AB= Awaiting decision Passed

In the study administration system, AB appears as passed, and AI appears as failed. You can find more information on these registrations at DTU Inside under 'Study rules'/'Exam'/'Assessment forms and grading'.

The lecturer must then inform the student(s) that they will be or have been reported for suspicion of exam cheating. Read below under 'Information to the reported student(s) from the lecturer'.

After a decision has been made, the registration AB or AI will be changed to SN (Cheating) if the student is found guilty of exam cheating. 

If the student is not found guilty of exam cheating, or the student only receives a reprimand or warning, the Office for Student Programmes and Student Affairs will write in the decision and ask the lecturer to release the grade/assessment for the student(s). The lecturer does this by emailing the assessment to after which AB or AI will be changed to the assessment given.

Information to the reported student(s) from the lecturer
In connection with reporting a student, the lecturer must inform the student that they have been reported. It just needs to be an informational email; the student will, in connection with the hearing conducted by the Office for Student Programmes and Student Affairs, get access to all material in the case. At DTU Inside, under 'Educational administration'/'Guidance'/'Exam cheating', the lecturer can find a template for an information e-mail.

What is the student's position during the cheating case?
As long as a case concerning exam cheating is being processed, the reported student has the right to participate in teaching and exams in the course. However, there may be exceptions depending on the extent of the alleged exam cheating, e.g. exam cheating in connection with the final project.

If the student plans to participate in the re-exam in the course in which he or she has been reported, and a decision has not yet been made regarding the cheating case, the following applies:

  • If a decision is made that the student has not cheated, the result of any re-exam will be cancelled, and the initial assessment from the first exam will be valid. However, this does not apply if the student did not pass the course/project at the initial assessment but has passed the course/project at a subsequent re-exam. In this case, the passed result from the re-exam will be valid.
  • If a decision is made that the student has cheated, the result of this exam will be cancelled, an exam attempt has been used and the exam result from the re-exam will take its place.
  • If the Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs decides in the case before the re-exam of the course but after the registration and deregistration deadline for the exam, the student must contact the Office if they wish to be re-registered or deregistered for the exam. Read more at DTU Inside under 'Study rules'/'Exam'/'Registration and withdrawal from exam'.

After hearing of the reported student(s), the Office decides on the case according to DTU's rules on cheating in exams and other assessments (these rules) and DTU's disciplinary rules towards students. 

DTU has the following reactions and sanction options for violation of examination rules, cf. DTU's disciplinary measures towards students:

  1. Written reprimand
  2. Written warning against repeated violation of the rules
  3. Expulsion from the exam, i.e. non-assessment or cancellation of the exam performance. This sanction implies that an exam attempt has been used and that the student must register for a re-exam.
  4. Expulsion from the university for a limited period or permanently. Temporary expulsion can be months, a semester, or several semesters. In the event of temporary expulsion during a project period for a final project, the project period will be cancelled, an exam attempt will be used, and the student must start a new project period after the expulsion period.

If the presumption of exam cheating is confirmed, the sanction in cases of a milder nature will most often be a written warning in combination with a cancellation of the exam result. In more serious cases of exam cheating or cases of repeated violation of the rules on exam cheating, the student will also be expelled temporarily or permanently.

For a further description of the above forms of sanction, please refer to DTU's disciplinary measures against students.

The case processing time for exam fraud varies and is, at the moment, approximately 3-4 months. The month of July is not included in the calculation.

Complaint guidance
The student can appeal the decision to The Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science if the appeal concerns legal issues. Legal issues can be e.g. non-compliance with the educational rules that apply to the education and whether other legislation (e.g. the Public Administration Act) and the general principles of administrative law have been complied with. The Agency thus does not deal with academic issues, as the universities have academic self-governance. The deadline for submission of an appeal is two weeks from the day the decision is announced to the student. The appeal should be submitted to DTU, the Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs via 

When DTU receives an appeal about a decision, a reassessment of the decision is made based on the information the student has provided in the appeal. In this connection, DTU may decide to reopen the case if the appeal contains information of significant importance to the case or if significant case-handling errors have occurred in the original processing of the case.

If DTU chooses to maintain the original decision, DTU will prepare a statement about the decision and the appeal. The statement will be sent to the student, who can comment on it. Finally, the entire case will be sent to the Agency for their consideration. The processing time at the Agency is currently approx. six months from the time DTU sends the appeal to the agency.

An appeal to the Agency usually does not have a suspensive effect on the sanction the student has received. Cancellation of the exam and a possible expulsion will, therefore, continue to apply.

The lecturer can give oral reprimands for minor offences
If the lecturer assesses that the student's violation of the rules for the exam must be considered a minor offence and below the trifling limit (e.g. failure to comply with the rules for correct reference to sources in a part exam that is included with very little weight (approx. 5%) in the overall assessment of the course), the lecturer has the option of giving the student an oral reprimand instead of making a report to the Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs. The lecturer can always contact the Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs to discuss the matter.

The reprimand is not to be considered as a sanction but as a pedagogical recommendation to comply with the rules and with information on how the student has violated the rules of the exam and how the student can avoid cheating in the future. The reprimand is primarily intended for newer students who need clarification of how to quote/refer correctly, collaborate with other students without violating the exam rules, or use common notes in an individual, written answer.

The part exam/part assignment that is the subject of the violation of the rules for the exam, or parts thereof, must be excluded from the assessment basis.

The Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs must not be notified that an oral reprimand has been given unless the lecturer notices that the student continues to violate the examination rules. In these cases, a report must be made (see above), and the lecturer should refer to the fact that a charge was previously given.

Read about the sanction reprimand at DTU Inside under 'Study rules'/'Disciplinary measures towards students'.
21 JULY 2024