Third party assistance in UG and PG coursework guidelines


These guidelines apply to all students and staff members of the University.


These guidelines seek to ensure that students and staff members understand the benefits of, and limitations on, seeking advice from third parties on undergraduate and postgraduate coursework.

These guidelines are to be read with the Student Academic Conduct Statute 2020.


The University expects that, over the course of their study, all students will become independent learners, able to communicate their ideas and the material supporting those ideas clearly and accurately.

The University encourages students to seek ways to improve their writing skills, including through the use of advice on coursework from third parties.


What to consider when getting help

  • When getting help with your university work, you should ensure that this assistance does not endanger the academic integrity and originality of the work. The University views cheating - including ‘submitting without acknowledgement work to which others have contributed’ - as a serious academic offence. See the Student Academic Conduct Statute (2020) for more information.
  • When seeking assistance with written work it is your responsibility to ensure that the third party also understands the limits of providing help.

The benefits of advice

  • The benefits of seeking advice from third parties include:
    • allowing you to discuss your assessment activities with someone else
    • helping you to understand where your written communication skills may need to be further developed
    • supporting you to develop your skills as an independent learner.

Permitted advice from third parties

  • If you receive help from a third party it is your responsibility to ensure that the final work submitted is your work, reflecting your learning and performance. In other words, you may ask a third party to review your work, but they may not become in any way the author of the work.
  • Third parties may review your work and offer advice on: 
    • clarity – for example: avoiding ambiguity, repetition and verbosity; the use of punctuation (Except where you are being assessed on your understanding of the English language and the Department or School has instructed you that no additional writing assistance can be used)
    • grammar and usage – for example: the conventions of grammar and syntax in written English (Except where you are being assessed on your understanding of the English language and the Department or School has instructed you that no additional writing assistance can be used)
    • spelling and punctuation
    • formatting – for example: the position of tables and illustrations in the assignment, consistency in page numbers, headers and footers
    • referencing – for example: completeness and internal consistency in references (including citations, bibliography, list of references, endnotes or footnotes, and cross-references)
  • Third parties should not write or rewrite any part of your assessment activities, or perform numerical calculations on your behalf. Suggested amendments should be indicated by comment tools, rather than by tracked changes. It is then your responsibility to decide how to respond to the suggested amendments.
  • It is a good idea to keep drafts, rough notes or other evidence that shows that the work you submit is entirely original.

Use of tutoring services

  • If you choose to use a tutoring service to support you in your studies, it is your responsibility to ensure that the support given is in line with the limitations of advice outlined above. You should ensure that the work you are submitting is entirely your own, and has not been adapted from materials given by the tutoring service, e.g. templates or example answers.

Where to find help

  • Libraries and Learning Services - Learning and Teaching Development provides online resources, workshops and individual appointments to assist students to develop academic writing skills
  • Libraries and Learning Services - English Language Enrichment (ELE) has print and electronic resources for English language development. Individual appointments with language advisors are also available
  • The University’s Academic Integrity Course, taken by all students starting a new programme at the University, is an online course designed to increase student knowledge of academic integrity, University rules relating to academic conduct, and the identification and consequences of academic misconduct
  • English writing and expression courses, and Māori language courses, can sometimes be included for credit in degree programmes.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic integrity means the ethical practices of the academic community, including honest execution of research and study and the acknowledgement of sources

Assessment activities include:

  • assignments during the teaching of a course, normally called coursework. Examples of assignments include (but are not limited to) essays, projects, presentations, reports, etc.
  • practical, aural and oral work
  • written tests conducted under examination conditions
  • ongoing assessment of competence or performance
  • written (or performance) examination normally conducted at the end of the semester or year

Staff members refers to individuals employed by the University on a full or part time basis

Third parties include people (other than your lecturers or tutors) or entities you ask for help. Third parties may be fellow students, reading groups, friends, parents, Libraries and Learning Services, professional editing services, professional tutoring services and the like. These may be human or driven by artificial intelligence.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor Education
Content manager: Senior Academic Quality Analyst
Approved by: Provost
Date approved: July 2023
Review date: July 2028