Students in SSP must comply with two sets of academic rules and procedures. One set is found in the SSP Student Handbook and will apply to you throughout your time in the program. The second set is found in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Bulletin. In addition, students are responsible for following policies and procedures communicated to them throughout their time in the program. This communication usually comes through email from both SSP and the Graduate School. Students should note that ignorance of academic policies is not considered a defense. Students with any questions on academic policies should contact their academic advisor, either the Director of Academic Affairs or the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, to clarify the policy.

Current students have access to the SSP Student Handbook on the SSP Canvas page. Below are selected policies that SSP students most frequently reference.

Class Attendance

Because of the rigorous nature of the Security Studies Program, absences are not allowed except in extraordinary circumstances such as illness or family emergencies. The student should notify the professor as soon as possible before his or her absence for approval. Students who do not attend the first class meeting or who will be absent for two or more classes in a regular term semester may be withdrawn from the course. Individual professors may request that a student be withdrawn from the course due to absence, may reflect a student’s absence in the final course grade, or may require additional course assignments before assigning the final grade. Students who expect to miss more than two classes are required to notify their academic advisor immediately. Students with prior obligations that require three or more classes to be missed will be required to take a leave of absence for the semester during which the absences are expected. During the summer sessions, students are only permitted up to one absence due to the accelerated nature of the class. If a student misses more than one class meeting during the accelerated session, he or she will be withdrawn from the course.

Leave of Absence

Students requesting a leave of absence must submit a GSAS Student Petition for Change to Program Form to their academic advisor. Their academic advisor will review the form and then send it to the SSP Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Forms may be submitted via email.

There are several different types of leave that students may take during their time in SSP:

  • Personal Leave of Absence
  • Military Leave of Absence
  • Medical Leave of Absence
  • Parental Leave of Absence

Details of each type of leave can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

International students requesting a leave of absence should consult with their academic advisor and their International Student Advisor at the Office of Global Services before submitting their paperwork. Students receiving financial aid should consult with the Office of Student Financial Services to understand how leaves of absences may affect their loans. All students should work with Office of Student Accounts to ensure any outstanding balance is settled before their leave goes into effect.


It is expected that students will complete all coursework by the end of the semester in which that coursework is taken. In special circumstances, with the prior approval of the Associate Director, an instructor may grant a student permission to delay submission of work up to one semester after the course ends. Instructors are not bound to grant such requests, nor are they bound to grant an entire semester to complete such work. When an instructor has granted such permission, he or she will assign the student a grade of “Incomplete” (“I”) for the course; this grade will appear on the student’s official transcript until a final grade is reported. The student must submit the completed work to the instructor in a timely manner, sufficient to enable the instructor to review the work and to send a final grade (recorded on a Grade Change Authorization form) to the Graduate School before the last day of classes in the Fall or Spring semester following the semester in which the Incomplete grade was given. If an “I” is assigned by an instructor and not subsequently changed to a grade by the instructor before the last day of classes in the following semester, it will be converted to an “F” on the student’s transcript. NR grades will also be treated in the same manner as incompletes. This policy will apply to courses taken from Spring semester 2011 forward. It will not be applied retroactively to “Incomplete” grades posted in earlier semesters; those courses will remain “Incomplete” indefinitely unless and until a grade is entered by the instructor.

Academic Performance Standards

All SSP students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be eligible to continue enrollment in SSP and to receive financial aid. To maintain eligibility, students must:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00;
  • Complete all degree requirements within three academic years of matriculation; and
  • Enroll in a minimum of two three-credit SSP-sponsored courses per semester that fulfill SSP degree requirements.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is an essential value of any intellectual community. Students in the Security Studies Program are expected to be fully aware of the University’s policies and standards regarding academic integrity. Information relevant to SSP students can be found in Section VI of the Graduate Bulletin. Students should note that ignorance of academic policies is not considered a defense against substantiated charges of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty, including cheating and falsification of data. If a student is unclear about the standards and rules that apply to academic works, they must seek consultation with a professor, their academic advisor, or the Director of Graduate Studies of the program before submitting papers or participating in examinations. Students should also note that SSP does not permit students to submit paper(s) written for one course’s requirements to be used for another course’s requirements.

Please refer to the SSP Student Handbook for more information about Academic Integrity policies at SSP and Georgetown. The Graduate School and SSP reserve the right to use all legal means, including submitting student work to electronic search engines, such as or SafeAssign, to investigate allegations that graduate students have engaged in academic misconduct. Academic misconduct in any form is a serious offense against the academic community in general and against Georgetown University, in particular. Students who are found to have violated standards of academic integrity will be subject to academic penalties. These penalties may include, but are not limited to, transcript notations, suspension or dismissal from the University, or revocation of degrees already conferred.