I graduated from university in June of 2015. I submitted an essay to a philosophy professor in my second year that was substantially the same as an essay I submitted to a TA the year before for one of the the same professor's first year classes.

I wanted to use my research and essay content for the second year course because I was enthusiastic about that topic and wanted to use it again. I asked the professor if I could use textbooks and information/material studied from his first year course (which also wasn't a prerequisite for the second year course) and he said that was fine. I wasn't really aware of this "self-plagiarism" rule back then and I figured he was saying it would be fine to use the content of my old work from the previous year as well. I do remember changing some parts of the essay but the two had substantially the same gist and body.

I just realized recently that I need written permission from the professor in those situations.

Theoretically, if they could prove now that I committed some sort of academic misconduct for that back in my second year, (2013-2014, I've had my four year honours degree since June 2015 and am now working in my field) what would the penalties be? Would my degree be revoked and would I be required to take another course? Would they just adjust my course or assignment mark?

I know it depends on the circumstances so I broke it down and let me know if there are any more details you need to know.

  • 4
    The same as for any form of academic dishonesty. It probably ranges from 0 credit for the assignment all that way up to separation, depending upon the nature of the infraction and how many times one has been caught. Dec 17, 2016 at 18:25
  • 2
    I assume that you are not just asking this because you are curious. Can you please edit your question to elaborate why you want to know this? This way, we can better answer your question in a way that helps you. As it stands I consider it too broad.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Dec 17, 2016 at 20:08
  • I edited the description for you thanks for letting me know.
    – ATomz
    Dec 17, 2016 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


It depends on many factors. Examples of those factors: Was it a first offense, was it an undergraduate or graduate student, was it faculty member, was it for an assignment or a publication? The list of penalties can range from using the incident as an "object-lesson", a failing grade for the paper or course, a formal sanction, expulsion, loss of funding and/or termination. Each university usually has an Academic Integrity Office, so you could always consult yours to see what the penalties are based on the seriousness of the charge.

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