Academic Policies

A complete listing of academic policies can be found in the CISA Student Handbook. 

Time for Degree Completion and Procedures for Extension

Students have seven years from initial admission to complete the Master of Arts Degree in Strategic Security Studies degree. A student who has not complied with the time limits as defined by the Master’s degree program will be terminated from degree candidacy, unless an extension of time to complete the degree is approved by the Academic Policy Council. Those wishing to file an extension should submit a written request to the Academic Policy Council no later than six weeks prior to the start of a new academic year. Courses taken beyond the seven year deadline may be invalidated and subject to repeat.

Academic Probation

If the overall GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation. Once on academic probation, a student must earn a semester GPA of greater than 3.0 in order to bring the overall GPA at or above 3.0 or higher, and in order to avoid being disenrolled from the College. If the semester GPA is 3.0 or lower while the student is on academic probation the student will be disenrolled from CISA. If the semester GPA is sufficient to bring the overall GPA to 3.0 or higher, the student will be removed from academic probation.


CISA reserves the right to disenroll students from the CISA academic program for reasons such as unsatisfactory progress toward a degree, failure to prepare a thesis satisfactorily, violation of the time limit for completing the degree, violation of academic integrity policies, or failure to follow other academic policies.

Challenging a Grade

CISA faculty members use several different mechanisms for evaluating a student’s work including examinations, classroom contribution, and papers. For all of these, students have the right to a grade that is based on their actual course performance and an articulated standard applied to all those taking the course. Please refer to the Student Handbook for more information.

Academic Dishonesty

All CISA students are required to sign a statement on Academic Integrity. The statement on academic integrity applies to all components of the National Defense University. The purpose of this broad university policy is to establish a clear statement for zero tolerance for academic dishonesty and to promote consistent treatment of similar cases across the University on academic integrity and the integrity of the institution. The policy document should not be interpreted to limit the authority of the University President or the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This policy includes two key areas: academic integrity as it applies to students and participants at National Defense University; and academic integrity as it applies to assigned faculty and staff.

Academic dishonesty is not tolerated. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: falsification of professional and academic credentials; obtaining or giving aid on an examination; having unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination; doing work or assisting another student to do work without prior authority; unauthorized collaboration; multiple submissions; and plagiarism. Sanctions for violating the academic integrity standards include but are not limited to: disenrollment; suspension; denial or revocation of degrees or diplomas; a grade of no credit with a transcript notation of "academic dishonesty;" rejection of the work submitted for credit; a letter of admonishment or other administrative sanctions. Additionally, members of the US military may be subject to non-judicial punishment or court-martial under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

Leave and Absence

Students at CISA have a professional responsibility to attend all classes. Students registered in NDU elective courses are required to attend those courses even during CISA research and writing weeks. The following defines NDU’s Absence Policy:

1. Students must notify the CISA Dean of Students and their professors of any absences.

    a. Foreseen absences (e.g. student travel) require prior notification.

    b. Unforeseen absences (e.g. personal injury or illness) require notification as soon as possible, but no later than the first day the student returns to class.

2. It is the student’s responsibility to complete any coursework missed during the absence.

3. Towards the accomplishment of lesson(s) and course objectives, it is the student’s responsibility to complete any additional assignments as required by the professor.

4. Students who accumulate four or more absences will be required to participate in a performance review by the host College (example: a CISA student in an ICAF class would be subject to a performance review hosted by ICAF.) For NDU electives (electives not hosted by a College) the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs will coordinate a review.

Leave normally will not be granted during the academic year except during holiday periods when classes are not in session. During these periods, students traveling out of the local area for periods in excess of 72 hours must take leave. Note that NDU policy prohibits leave in conjunction with students’ official travel except in unusual circumstances. Military students will submit the standard leave form appropriate to their Service to the Dean of Students. Civilian students will submit an OPM Form 71, “Request for Leave or Approved Absence,” to the Dean of Students. Civilian students must coordinate approved leave through their agency channels.