This video was created by former UNSW students Zheng Zhou and Phranque Li. It was the winning submission to the 2020 Academic Integrity Communications Competition run by Arc@UNSW and sponsored by UNSW Sydney.

What is 'contract cheating?'

Contract cheating is when a student engages another person to complete work for them, and then submits the work as their own, regardless if money was paid or not. 

Academic integrity is integral to maintaining the University's high standards, so plagiarism, collusion, and cheating in exams or on assignments is unacceptable at UNSW. If you are struggling with an assignment, the right type of help is available at UNSW.

You may be at risk of contract cheating if you ask someone to help you by:

  • Completing an assignment 
  • Substantially editing your work
  • Checking your work through Turnitin
  • Checking test or quiz answers
  • Assisting you with your university work for money

You may also be at risk of contract cheating if someone you don't know asks you for information, such as:

  • Your Z number and Z pass
  • Assignment questions or briefs
  • Marking rubrics

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • If you are struggling it might be tempting to engage a third-party to complete some or all of your work. But don't. You always have other options.

    You can: 

    • Seek an extension from your lecturer if you’re under too much pressure, or apply for special consideration if you’re eligible.
    • Talk to your tutor or email your lecturer and seek legitimate help. 

    If you have already engaged in contract cheating, UNSW has agreed with ARC that if you come forward to admit to this conduct, the default penalty for 1 assessment cheated will be 0% for that assessment. If you have cheated more than once penalties will be stronger (see below), however you will still benefit from acting honestly. 

  • We understand that students can benefit from working with legitimate tutors.

    • If you already work with a tutor, you can talk to the Learning Centre to ensure they are providing the right kind of assistance. 
    • If you need a tutor, Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to UNSW students seeking advice on enhancing their writing skills.
  • As contract cheating is a very serious breach of academic standards, the penalties issued by the University can have a heavy impact on your educational and professional development. 

    Students found to have engaged in contract cheating can expect the following penalties:

    • 1 assessment - 00 mark and a Fail grade for the entire course. Students receiving this penalty can continue their studies at UNSW, subject to their Academic Standing
    • 2 assessments - 00FL for the course/s, and 1 Year Suspension from studies at UNSW. Suspended students can return to study at UNSW when the suspension is over.
    • 3 assessments - 00FL for the course/s, and Permanent Exclusion from UNSW. Permanently Excluded students can never study at UNSW again.

    UNSW is constantly improving its ability to detect contract cheating.

    The risks do not end when you graduate. UNSW will rescind your degree, if we find you engaged in contract cheating during your studies, even after your graduation.

    UNSW is also aware that some students have been blackmailed by the people who completed the work the student submitted. Blackmail is a crime and could continue affecting your life long after you have graduated. 

  • Students who have engaged in contract cheating may be targeted by blackmailers.

    The person or company that did the work for you may demand money and threaten to tell UNSW about the misconduct, if you do not pay them.

    While UNSW does not condone contract cheating, students should not be scared to come forward and get help if this happens. If you find yourself in this situation, please do not keep quiet. It could cost you so much more than just money.

    If you need help, you are encouraged to contact the Conduct and Integrity Office, who can talk you through your options. 


    P: (02) 9385 8515

  • You can also seek more specialised help from the university, and nearly all of these services are free.  

    Tutoring Services

    • Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to UNSW students seeking advice on enhancing their writing skills.

    Academic Assistance

    • Academic Skills offers academic skills support to all students enrolled at UNSW, including consultations to help you work on your assessments. 
    • Academic Integrity Module: A self-paced module that you can complete and receive a certificate.
    • Academic Skills on Plagiarism
    • Academic Skills Workshops on Plagiarism. What it is and how to avoid it.

    Library Assistance

    • Library Peer Mentors are third year students who can offer guidance and support in understanding coursework, breaking down assisntment questions, finding the righr resources, sharing study skills and time managment tips and encouraging you on your academic journey.

    Student Support 

    • Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.

    Student Advocate

    Health and Mental Health

    UNSW Health Service

    • UNSW Health Service  provide a quality health service to the students, staff & visitors of UNSW. Their doctors, nurses and administration staff are non- judgemental and have a special interest in youth health. 

Talk to us

If you have questions about contract cheating or need help, please contact the Conduct and Integrity Office, who can talk you through your options.