Students in the 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 the 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 the Associate Director of Academic Affairs to clarify the policy.

Below is a list of 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do not attend the first class meeting or who will be absent for two or more classes in a regular term semester may be withdrawn from the course. Individual professors may request that a student be withdrawn from the course due to absence, may reflect a student's absence in the final course grade, or may require additional course assignments before assigning the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 the SSP Director of Studies 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 6-week 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 dis-enrolled from the course.

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Leave of Absence

 Students requesting a leave of absence (medical, military, parental, or personal) must submit a Student Petition for Change to Program to the SSP Director or Director of Studies. Student Petition forms are available here.

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

All petitions should be submitted to the SSP Associate Director Academic Affairs using the Student Petition Form. Foms may be submitted via email.

International students requesting a leave of absence should consult with the Office of International Programs before submitting their paperwork to the Associate Director of Academic Affairs. 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.

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Personal Leave of Absence

Students who find it necessary to interrupt their studies may apply in writing to the Graduate School for a personal Leave of Absence. A personal leave of absence is defined as any leave of absence other than one granted for medical reasons or for military service. Such requests must be submitted no later than the last day of the Add/Drop period. The SSP must approve the request for a leave of absence before the petition is sent to the Graduate school for review. When properly approved and officially entered on the transcript, a leave of absence satisfies the Graduate School's registration requirement. It may not, however, confer the registration or residency status necessary to qualify for financial aid or to meet visa requirements. International students should consult with the International Student Advisor, Office of International Programs, before requesting a leave of absence, in order to insure that their visa requirements will be satisfied. A total of no more than four semesters of leave of absence are allowed in a student's graduate career at Georgetown University. Up to two semesters of leave may be granted at any one time. The length of time that would otherwise be permitted to complete all requirements for a degree and to graduate generally will be extended by one semester for each semester of approved leave of absence. Leaves of absence for medical reasons and for military leave, when properly approved, will not be counted against the four semester limit for leaves of absence. No degree requirements can be completed during leaves of absence, nor can a student graduate during a leave of absence. However, leaves of absence will not alter deadlines relating to the completion of specific course requirements, such as deadlines for completing work in a course for which an Incomplete grade was received.

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Military Leave of Absence

A student who is called to active military duty will be permitted a military leave of absence. The student should report his/her obligation for military service in writing to the Dean as soon as reasonably possible after the student receives his/her orders. If a new semester has begun, the Dean may authorize a 100% refund of tuition through the 50% refund period. The student's courses will be marked with a "W" grade and a record will be made on the transcript to explain the withdrawal. Approved periods of military leave of absence will extend the time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate.

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Medical Leave of Absence

The University recognizes that students may experience medical situations that significantly limit their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In those situations, students should consider requesting a medical leave of absence (MLOA), which permits students to take a break from University life and their studies, so that they may receive treatment and later return. Students interested in a MLOA should contact the SSP Director of Academic Affairs. Medical leaves are administered according to the Guidelines on medical leaves of absence, found on the here. Approved periods of medical leave will extend the time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate.

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Parental Leave of Absence

The Graduate School offers support for graduate students who need to take leave in connection with the birth of and/or full time care of a new child during their period of enrollment. The goal in offering this support is to allow graduate students to continue their studies with as little disruption as possible. Parental leave is intended to enable the graduate student to continue to make progress toward his or her degree. Consequently, it does not grant additional semesters of funding, although under certain circumstances funding may be deferred. Nor does it change the length of time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate. This policy requires communication and cooperation in good faith between the student seeking the leave, the faculty, and the student's department. The terms of the policy are as follows:

  • 1. To be eligible for parental leave, the graduate student must be the primary and full-time caregiver of a newborn child or a child five years old or younger newly placed in the home.
  • 2. The graduate student must submit a written request no less than three months before the expected date of the start of the leave to the Graduate School's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • 3. Graduate students may take up to six weeks of parental leave within the first six weeks immediately following the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. The six weeks of parental leave must be taken consecutively immediately following the birth or placement of the new child. Students seeking parental leave shall provide documentation to the Graduate School sufficient to demonstrate that they are the full-time primary care provider of the child.
  • 4. During parental leave, the graduate student may attend classes and work on course assignments to the extent possible, but his or her program director should advise the professors in these courses to be flexible about attendance and assignment deadlines during the period of leave. Upon the student's request, he or she will be granted Incompletes in these courses, with the understanding that the courses should be completed by the end of the following semester.
  • 5. Graduate students may request a voluntary medical leave instead of, or in addition to, parental leave. Taking either a voluntary medical leave or a parental leave may have implications for a student's health insurance. Students should consult with the Student Health Insurance Office prior to requesting either option. Approved periods of medical leave will extend the time permitted to complete requirements for the degree and to graduate.
  • 6. International students should consult with the Office of International Programs about the visa consequences of receiving either voluntary medical leave or parental leave. This consultation should occur prior to the submission of the request for parental leave to the Graduate School.

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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 Director or 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.

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Academic Performance Standards

All SSP students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be eligible to continue enrollment in the 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. 

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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, he or she must seek consultation with a professor, faculty advisor, the Director or Director of Studies of the program before submitting papers or participating in examinations. Students should also note that the SSP does not permit students to submit paper(s) written for one course's requirements to be used for another course's requirements. The Graduate School and the SSP reserve the right to use all legal means, including submitting student work to electronic search engines, such as Turnitin.com 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.

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Student Handbook

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