Me and my friend attend different colleges, both of which are part of the same university. My friend has done the project and as well as me too. Our projects are exactly the same - not a single word is different. Is this considered plagiarism?

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    Did either of you copy from the other? If you did the project independently of each other, and by coincidence they happen to be the same, that is not plagiarism, but depending on the circumstances you might find it hard to prove that it is not. Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 14:40
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8 Answers 8


The fact of being at different/same colleges or different/same universities has zero bearing on whether it is considered plagiarism or not.

If you submit a project that includes someone else's work, without making it clear what is your own work and what is not (and crediting the other contributor/s properly), this is plagiarism. This is true whether the other contributor is at the same college, same university, someone not in college at all, etc...

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    Even if it is the same person, but from another project. You have to cite that you are the author of this other section you quoted. You can't just randomly cut and paste your own stuff together if the sources are already published in another channel.
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 5:19
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    What @Nelson said is generally true, but this is something of a quirk of the academic notion of plagiarism with regards to acadamic honesty about novelty, as opposed to plagiarism in a broader context. Outside of academia, nobody would consider it plagiarism to reuse your own words. Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 23:39
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    @Nelson IP law is very different from plagiarism. The only sort of similar IP law are moral rights, if you're from a country with those.
    – Charles
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 15:04
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    @Nelson: specifically, the reason they're different is that IP law is about property, and when it comes to property the permission of the owner excuses almost anything. Whereas academic plagiarism as you say is about the truthfulness of the implied claims you make by submitting. If you submit work for grading you are implicitly (or explicitly if you count the fact that you were given and probably signed the rules when you enrolled) saying it's your own sole work. And possibly that it's novel, depending on the details of the assignment. Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 23:45
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    ... so the reason that hardly anyone recognises self-plagiarism outside academia, is that outside academia either there's no implied claim that something is new, or else the claim is weak/vague/non-binding. So, somebody might grumble that an author is writing the same book over and over again, but even if they do literally mean that it's so bad that it constitutes self-plagiarism, they don't have any real complaint other than that the author isn't very good. The author's publisher, OTOH, has a contract where they probably could object to old work being passed off as new. Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 23:51

I'll assume that you worked together on the project, rather than just completely independently coming to the same place. That seems to be what you mean.

If you work on the project together and acknowledge the joint work then it probably isn't technically plagiarism. But it will almost certainly be considered as academic misconduct if you submit the same work to two different courses unless you make the faculty aware and get permission.

Note that you (a) have to list both authors on it and (b) get specific permission.

Whether it is permitted by the faculty or not is up to them. If the work is significant enough (more than one person is expected to do) then you have a better chance of getting accepted.

But if you submit two papers, identical, but each listing only one author, then it would be plagiarism. And also, separately, academic misconduct, but of a higher order.

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    Just to add why one would need permission: Likely, the rules of the course for which one submits the project say that the work has to be done by the student. And even if the rules do not explicitly say so, I find it to be the most reasonable assumption.
    – Andrei
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 15:11
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    @Andrei -- even if the work is done by one student, permission is usually required to submit the same work to two courses. The behavior is usually referred to as "multiple submission" - spcollege.libguides.com/…. I don't believe it is considered plagiarism (not sure on that), but it is double-dipping in terms of credit. When approached for permission, I specify that I need to see BOTH assignments, and I work out what the different focuses are in advance. Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 17:54
  • Working together on a project is one thing, submitting a document that is word-for-word identical is troublesome. The same research could still be used to produce two different papers.
    – Chuck
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 18:14
  • @Andrei Exactly. There's a good chance they wrote a good answer to the wrong question and/since their work can't be considered for the course.
    – Mast
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 14:55

Yes, it's still plagiarism.

If Assignment 2 for your class ABC321 at your college is the same as Assignment 5 of class DEF234 at a different one, submitting a copy of the solutions manual for DEF234 to your professor at your college as being your own work is considered cheating even if it came from another college.

If your friend and you receive the same assignment for different classes and you decide to split the work and copy off each other it's not different than the scenario stated above: it's plagiarism.

It doesn't matter who you copied from (solutions manual from a previous year or directly from your friend) or what the thing you copied was originally (submission for ABC321 or DEF234). Plagiarism is plagiarism.


Plagiarism depends on copying, not similarity or location.

If one of you copied the other's work, then it's plagiarism. Doesn't matter where or when or how.

I suspect what you're actually asking is not whether it's considered to be plagiarism when you copy someone's work (because of course it is), but whether that plagiarism will be noticed by your respective colleges. If you're on separate campuses then the probability of this is likely quite low. Work submitted on paper will most likely be assessed by the teachers at each college, so the fact that there are two identical papers at different colleges is unlikely to be spotted. If the results are submitted electronically though, the fact of the two colleges being part of the same university may get you caught if there's a university-wide check on duplicate work being handed in. Or for bonus irony points, if the work is particularly good then it's possible that one teacher may show it to the other as a golden example, at which point of course the other teacher will remember they've just seen something remarkably similar.


I was a teaching assistant for computer science at the University of Kentucky (UK). I can almost guarantee you that at UK any kind of paper is always run through a plagiarism checker that is linked to many other universities and colleges that checks for (among other things) percent of difference, if another assignment has been found to have too low a percent of difference then it will flag the assignment as plagiarism and will give a report to the professor so that they can see the one that was already in the system and the one that you just submitted and compare for themselves.


If you mean, you and this other person both created these project independently and by sheer coincidence they just happen to be word-for-word identical, that's not plagiarism, that's a miracle.

If you mean that you copied your friend's work and intend to submit it as your own, that's pretty much the definition of plagiarism. The fact that you're at a different school does not in any way make it not plagiarism. If you copy somebody else's work and say or imply that it is your own, that's plagiarism, and whether the work was created on a different continent by someone you never met, or by your room mate, is irrelevant.

If the two of you worked on this project together, and now you are each planning to hand it in at your own school, then if you acknowledge the other person's contribution it is not plagiarism. It may or may not satisfy the requirements of the assignment. If you were supposed to do the work yourself, then getting a friend to do part of the work does not meet the requirements of the assignment.

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    And the trouble with miraculous coincidences, is that even if they actually happen and you didn't cheat, it is by definition of miracle beyond reasonable doubt that you did cheat. A reasonable person would think you cheated, and only the truly faithful would believe in the miracle. Bad luck :-) Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 23:56

Plagiarism is misrepresenting something as your own original work when it is not. If you are doing this, it is plagiarism. If you are not doing this, it is not plagiarism.

If two people miraculously independently writ precisely the same paper, even word for word, that is not plagiarism. Each person has the absolute right to represent the paper as their own original work because it is. However, if two people collaborate on a work and each submits it independently as their own work, that is plagiarism. Neither person can honestly represent that the paper is their own original work.


Publish the work first in both your names. Both of you would have co-copyright and original ownership of the text.

You may be breaking another rule in the class, but it's not plagiarism if you own the copyright - which you do already, but would solidify with publication.

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    It's not plagiarism if you own the copyright is false. Plagiarism and copyright are orthogonal concerns; the former is an ethical concern about proper attribution, the latter is a legal concern about the right to reproduce a work, and you can violate either one without the other. (For example: if I hire someone to write a paper for me and sell me the copyright, and I then pass off the paper as my own work, I've committed plagiarism without any copyright violation.)
    – ff524
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 1:49
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    And if you copy a book someone else wrote word for word, and then on the last page put a footnote that gives them full credit, it is not plagiarism, but it is copyright violation.
    – Jay
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 17:22
  • They happen to interact frequently in actual civil copyright cases, because plagiarism (including accidental) is one of the common things that leads someone to make a copyright claim that isn't legally supportable on grounds of them not being the (only) author. Possibly the most common, in cases that actually make it to court, I'm not sure. Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 0:02
  • Another way they interact: Most licenses for free software and free cultural works require an appropriate copyright notice, including a credit to the original author. For permissive licenses such as MIT/Expat, failure to credit (i.e. plagiarism) is in effect the only way to infringe. Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 5:27
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    @MichaelMcQuade Using a ghostwriter in a situation where there is an expectation of originality - like there is with coursework - is considered plagiarism. It's only considered ethically OK when there is no expectation that the work was actually written by the person whose name is attached to it (for example, a politician's speeches).
    – ff524
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 0:51

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