Working Hours Monday - Friday 08:00-16:00
Toll Free 1800.899.900

Plagiarism In Thesis

How Much Plagiarism is Allowed In Thesis?

Some institutions allow plagiarism in thesis between 0 and 5%. However, it’s better to rid your thesis entirely of any plagiarized material. The consequences of plagiarism could be dire and cause problems for a student. Schools found to have approved plagiarized material also run the risk of ruining their reputation at different levels.

Let’s take a look at how much plagiarism is generally acceptable in a thesis across schools and other vital information. Pay attention to this information to avoid facing minor or serious consequences caused by plagiarism.

How Much Plagiarism is Allowed in Thesis?

The level of plagiarism allowed in a thesis differs among schools. Some universities can allow a plagiarism percentage of 15 to 20% in a thesis. Other schools might set their acceptable plagiarism percentage in any thesis or dissertation at 5% or lower.

Universities that offer public access to theses completed by students usually have lower acceptable plagiarism percentages.

How Much Plagiarism Is Allowed by Top Online Detection Software?

Some of the best writing improvement and detection software like Turnitin, CopyScape, SafeAssign, and Grammarly have an acceptable plagiarism percentage. Let’s see how much of plagiarism can get a free pass if you run them through these programs:


Most institutions set their Turnitin plagiarism percentage at 5% or lower. Students must complete their thesis and ensure content across pages have a 5 out of 100 chance of similarity with any other academic essay online.

Turnitin runs on an advanced template that scans billions of pages in a matter of seconds. Users can receive their results within moments and confirm if the thesis is plagiarized heavily or not.  


Reports from SafeAssign should show no more than between 5 – 7% plagiarism for academic essays, including theses. Some institutions rely on SafeAssign to determine if a thesis was copied word-for-word from another source or not.


CopyScape has a text comparison tool that allows writers cross-reference two different texts for similarities. The free tool could come in handy if you don’t plan to buy a CopyScape Premium subscription.

CopyScape Premium users can check for plagiarism in text and determine if a thesis or other document is copied or not. Institutions currently using CopyScape usually set their acceptable plagiarism threshold below 10%. Text similarities after scanning your result determines if students get a slap on the wrist or an outright expulsion.

Consequences of Plagiarism in Thesis

Penalties for passing off someone else's work as yours range from mild to severe. The consequences for plagiarizing a thesis usually depends on similarities in the essay when compared with existing works.

Let’s see some major consequences that could results from plagiarizing a thesis:

Re-paraphrasing and proper citation of sources

A lenient review committee might demand proper paraphrasing of paragraphs from students found to have plagiarized their final submission. However, such demands usually happen when students commitment unintentional plagiarism. Supervisors can also allow students reword their theses when the affected areas will not have a major impact on the outcome. 

Supervisors can also request proper citation of every source used to compile a thesis. Improper citation is one of the most widespread forms of plagiarism among students in universities and other institutions.

Rewriting the thesis

Some panel review committees could demand a fresh thesis with the old topic or a new one if students commit mild to high-level plagiarism. Such forms of plagiarism might involve copy-and-paste paragraphs across chapters, stealing of results from older research, and so on.

A new timeline for submission might be set if the academic year isn’t over already. In some cases, students might have to spend an extra year in school to re-present their new thesis.


Expelling students for plagiarism is common when such candidates engage blatant copy-and-paste approach to writing a thesis. Review committees unanimously recommend the expulsion of students for plagiarism due to their laziness, dishonesty, and dishonorable behavior.

Students expelled for engaging in plagiarism may never get to enroll in another institution in the state or country again.

Tips to Prevent Plagiarism in Your Thesis

You can prevent plagiarism in your thesis or dissertation by:

-        Properly paraphrasing and citing words from sources,

-        Correctly arranging the reference list to reflect all authors,

-        Critical reading through your thesis draft to check for similarities in sentences to existing works online,

-        Comparing your thesis to other related topics where you got sources for your literature review

Follow these steps closely and significantly reduce any chance of unintentional plagiarism in your writing.  


1.  What is wrong with plagiarizing a thesis? 

      Plagiarism is stealing and wrong on so many levels; engaging in passing off another’s work as yours is also illegal.  Institutions usually have several levels of                   penalties meted out to students caught engaging plagiarism to attempt earning a degree.

2.  How do I avoid plagiarism in a thesis?

      You can avoid plagiarism in a thesis by correctly citing other authors whose ideas are in your thesis and not copying word-for-word. In general, ensure originality in        your text as much as possible to pass all plagiarism tests.

3.  Is it still plagiarism when I changed the words?

      Yes, changing the words of another author’s idea is still plagiarism. People who engage in such forms of plagiarism can face expulsion, blacklisting, or legal action         if caught.

4.  Is it plagiarism if I paraphrase and don’t cite the original author?

      It is plagiarism to paraphrase an author’s ideas and not cite the person(s) properly. You should properly paraphrase the ideas of authors cited in your reference list.       The writing style you choose (MLA, APA, Chicago, IEEE, etc.) largely determines how you cite paraphrased sentences.

5.  Is plagiarism and direct quoting the same?

     Plagiarism and direct quoting are not the same. Plagiarizing someone’s work is stealing while quoting someone verbatim with quotation marks isn’t in some                   contexts. Refrain from quoting whole paragraphs, as that will still be plagiarism.

Final Word

Plagiarism has several serious consequences you should avoid at all cost. Writing a thesis with proper paraphrasing and citation is the smartest way to complete your essay without committing any form of plagiarism.

Do your best to write academic essays without copying the ideas of others and attempt to pass it off as your work.