General and Academic Policies


All students are responsible for knowing and understanding the academic policies of the university and their particular academic program, including deadlines, attendance, curriculum requirements, acceptable grades, and academic integrity.


Applying  Coursework  Earned  Prior to Program Admission

Graduate Certificate Program Participants

The NDU CIC does not accept transfer credits from outside institutions. CIC courses taken for non-credit may not be used to fulfill certificate requirements. Eligible courses may not be used to fulfill requirements across multiple certificate programs. All coursework applied toward a certificate must be completed within four years of program admission.


Master of Science Program Participants

To be counted toward the degree all coursework must be completed within five (5) years, which begins with the start of the first course applied to the student’s program. The  NDU CIC does not accept transfer credits from outside institutions. CIC courses taken for non-credit may not be used to fulfill requirements.


Program Actions

Leave of Absence

Students may apply for a leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances by submitting a written request   to NDU CIC Office of Student Services. The letter should provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances leading to the request and a justification of the time requested.

Requests for a leave of absence may be made for up to  one academic year. An approved leave of absence will stop the student’s program completion timeline. Requests should be e-mailed to Approval will be provided by e-mail.


Program Withdrawal

Students who wish to end their participation  in  an  NDU CIC program may submit a Program Withdrawal Form (PDF) to the NDU CIC Office of Student Services at Confirmation of withdrawal will be provided by e-mail.


Continued Enrollment

Students enrolled at the NDU CIC must maintain  satisfactory progress by completing at least one course every 12 months and maintaining a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students are expected to achieve a satisfactory grade in all coursework attempted for academic credit.



Students not successfully completing at least one class  every twelve months will be administratively withdrawn from the college. Students may reapply for admission.



Students will be automatically placed on probation upon receiving one (1) course grade of F and/or whenever his or her cumulative GPA falls below 3.0. A student on probation must attend a mandatory counseling  session with their advisor, and if applicable, raise the GPA to a 3.0 at a timeline or credit load defined by the NDU CIC Office of the Dean of Academic Programs. Students who receive a second course grade of F and/or who fail to raise their GPA within the prescribed timeline or credit load will be dismissed from the NDU CIC.



The NDU CIC may dismiss students from a program for a number of reasons that include, but are not limited to, unsatisfactory academic progress performance and/ or upon the decision of the Academic Review Board.



Dismissed students who wish to  request  reinstatement must reapply for program admission. The NDU CIC may grant reinstatement to a program on a case-by-case basis. Once eligibility is reviewed, it will be determined which previous courses, if any, may apply to the program of study.


Academic Policies

Student Preparation

The CIC recognizes its students bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them. Accordingly, the College’s courses are structured to obtain the maximum exchange of views among faculty and students. Classes are typically conducted in seminars, but occasionally include lecture, panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions with guest speakers, and student exercises.

Key to this learning process is student preparation and active participation in classroom discussions and practical exercises.

Students are expected to prepare for each session by reading the material assigned for that lesson. Readings may be the focus for a seminar discussion or be a key part of an in-class exercise or activity. In addition, readings provide a common knowledge base for additional information presented and discussed during the class. Faculty and seminar participants will assume that reading assignments have been completed by the start of the session.


Student Assessment

All NDU CIC students must demonstrate a successful  level of mastery of the intended learning outcomes of   each course. Faculty members formally assess student achievement on learning outcomes as detailed in course assessment plans and provide detailed feedback to students on their performance as an essential component of the learning process. Faculty members develop an assessment plan documenting the proposed assessment techniques they will use and grading guidelines for all assignments and/or instruments (paper, project, presentation, participation). At the NDU CIC, end-of-course assessments require students to apply the material through written papers or presentations based on their real-world environments (usually their own agencies or units). Final end-of-course assessments submitted for a  grade  cannot be rewritten or resubmitted.


Course Credits

NDU CIC eResident and DL courses are worth three (3) credit hours unless otherwise noted. JPME Electives courses offered through the NDU electives program are worth two (2) credit hours.



 Grade Scale

The following letter grades and their achievement equivalents are used by the NDU CIC to evaluate a student’s performance in a course and in a program. Grade points corresponding to each letter grade determine a student’s academic average and eligibility to graduate. Each grade, A through F, has a specific grade point value (see table below). Master of Science and Graduate Certificate students must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 to graduate.  GPA is obtained by dividing the total number of letter grade credits taken in the graduate program into the total number of grade points earned in the graduate program. Only letter grades with GPA values will be used in computing the GPA. A student may repeat any course in which a grade of C or lower is received. The grade earned by repeating a course is used for computing the GPA in lieu of the grade originally earned, although the original grade will remain on the transcript. C Grade: Only one grade of C may be used to fulfill certificate program requirements. The grade of C cannot be used to fulfill requirements for the Master of Science degree program. C grades may not be transferable to other Universities’ graduate level programs. F Grade: When a grade of F is assigned, the student will not receive academic credit for the course and the GPA value of 0.0 will be calculated. This grade is used when:

•     A student fails to meet minimum academic requirements

•     A student chooses to drop from a course after 25 percent of the course is completed without

documentation of extenuating circumstances; or a student is dismissed for violation of the NDU Academic Integrity Policy.



GPA Grades (Credit Bearing Courses)

Letter Grade

GPA Value




Exceptional Quality



Superior Quality



High Quality



Expected/Acceptable Quality



Below Acceptable Quality







Grades (Non-Credit Bearing Courses)

For students enrolled in Professional Development Non-Credit courses, the grading is based on a Pass/Fail scale. The following Pass/Fail grades are approved for use in the determination of course performance.

Letter Grade









Other/Non GPA Annotations/Actions (Academic Credit is Not Earned)








Non-GPA Annotations

Non-Credit Bearing Pass/Fail  (P/F):  The Pass/ Fail grade is assigned to students who elect to take a course for non-credit. Pass (P) is awarded to students who successfully complete requirements except the final assessment. Students must retake courses for credit if they want to apply them to a program. Students will declare in writing if he/she is taking the course for non-credit by the Friday of the seminar week (week 2). DL students must declare by the Friday of the ninth DL week.


Incomplete (I): This grade is assigned to students who, due to unusual and extenuating circumstances (e.g. serious illness, deployment to combat zone), are granted an extension to complete the academic requirements (usually   a final paper and/or project) past the course deadline. The requesting student must have satisfactorily met the attendance/participation requirements for the course and request an extension in writing to the Section Leader prior  to the assignment deadline. The written request should detail the unusual and extenuating circumstances that  justify an extension and provide a proposed deadline for submission. Requests made to accommodate professional work related demands, with the exception of deployment, will not be granted. Students are expected to balance their academic and professional responsibilities.  The Section Leader will deny or approve the request in writing. Approved extensions are not to exceed one week. Extensions which exceed one week must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs.


Course Withdrawal (W): Students  who  drop  a course on or after the Course Start Date (CSD) but before  25 percent of the course is completed will receive an academic grade of W. The student must submit the request to withdraw in writing to the Office of Student Services. A grade of W also can be assigned by the faculty or the Office of Student Services for administrative purposes (such as unacceptable performance during the Preparation Week of an eResidence course). Students who drop a course after 25 percent of the course is completed will receive a grade    of F, unless he or she can provide documented evidence of unusual and extenuating circumstances (e.g. serious illness, deployment to combat zone).


Capstone Grade

The grade of B is the lowest possible passing grade for Capstone. Students may retake the Capstone only once. Students who are unsuccessful after their first Capstone attempt may be required to meet additional graduation requirements (e.g. Successful completion of an outside writing course).


Grade Submission

The faculty will assign a grade for each student in a course based upon the grading policy. The faculty will submit the course grades to the University Registrar via the appropriate electronic resource. A faculty member cannot change any student’s grade after the course grade has been submitted. Any grade change request must provide documentation specifying the reason and have the approval of the Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs and the University Provost.


 Grade Appeal Policy & Process

A student may challenge a final course grade if the student has a reasonable belief the grade was assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner and is unable to resolve his or her concerns with the faculty member who assigned the grade. This policy applies only to final course grades and does not apply to course work or other grades awarded during course.

A student may only challenge a final course grade under this policy if the student has  discussed  the  concern  with the faculty member and can demonstrate that the grade   was awarded in an arbitrary or capricious manner. For purposes of this policy, arbitrary or  capricious  means  (a) the assignment of a final course grade was made on a basis other than the student’s academic performance in the course (b) the assignment of a final course grade was made in a manner that substantially or unreasonably departed  from the instructor's articulated standards.

This policy will not be used to review the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student’s work, to require another faculty member to re-grade or re-examine  a student’s work, or in cases involving alleged violations of academic integrity.




1.        If after discussion with the faculty member the student believes, in good faith, that the grade is arbitrary or capricious, or if there is an inability to reach the faculty member, the student may challenge the grade by sending a letter to the department chair no later than  30 calendar days after the grade has been posted.

This letter must

(a)   identify the course, date, and faculty member that awarded the grade;

(b)   state the basis of the challenge, including all facts relevant to the challenge and the reasons the student believes the grade is arbitrary or capricious;

(c)   indicate the date(s) the student consulted with the faculty member regarding his or her concern(s) and summarize the outcome of those discussion(s); and

(d)   attach any supporting documentation  the student believes should be considered in the challenge, including the syllabus.


2.        Upon receiving a written challenge to a final course grade, the Department Chair shall forward a copy of the challenge to the faculty  member  who  assigned the grade. The faculty member then has 15 calendar days from receipt of the challenge to provide a written response. The student will receive a copy of the faculty member’s response; however, any information that would violate the privacy rights of other individuals will not be released to the student.

 3.        The Chair will review the submissions and, if necessary, investigate to determine if the grade was arbitrary or capricious based on the definition outlined in this policy. A written decision will be issued to both parties within 15 calendar days.

4.        Both parties have a right to appeal the Chair’s decision by filing a written appeal within 10 business days to the NDU CIC of the Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs (The Dean). The written appeal should state the basis for the appeal and attach all relevant written documentation.

 5.        The Dean shall forward the appeal to the NDU CIC Academic Policy Committee. The Academic Policy Committee will review the submissions and may, at the Committee’s discretion decide to hear statements from the parties. Following deliberations, the Committee will issue a recommendation to the Dean (or designee) indicating:

1.        Whether the Committee finds the grade to be

arbitrary or capricious and;

2.        The Committee’s recommendations for the disposition of the appeal.


6.        The Dean (or designee) will review the Committee recommendation and render a final decision in writing to the student, the faculty member, and the chair  within 10 calendar days of receipt of the Committee’s recommendation. The Dean’s decision shall be final without further appeal.


Academic Integrity

The NDU CIC has a zero tolerance policy toward plagiarism and other breaches of academic integrity, and will enforce the National Defense University Statement on Academic Integrity as summarized below. Students should consult the NDU website at AcademicPolicies.aspx for the complete and/or most current NDU academic integrity policy.


Statement On Academic Integrity

NDU shall always foster and promote a culture of trust, honesty, and ethical conduct. This statement on academic integrity supports the above  guiding  principle  and  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. This document should not be interpreted to limit the authority of the University President or the 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.


Breaches of Academic Integrity

Breaches of academic integrity are not tolerated. Breaches include, 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; plagiarism, and breaking non- attribution policy.

 Falsification of professional and academic credentials: Students are required to provide accurate and documentable information on their educational and professional background. If a student is admitted to the University with false credentials, he or she will be sanctioned.

 Unauthorized collaboration is defined as students working together on an assignment for academic credit when such collaboration is not authorized in the syllabus or by the instructor.

 Multiple submissions are instances  in  which  students submit papers or work (whole or multiple paragraphs) that were or are currently being submitted for academic credit to other courses within NDU or at other institutions. Such work may not be submitted at the National Defense University without prior written approval by both the National Defense University professor/instructor and approval of the other institution.

Plagiarism is the  unauthorized  use  of  intellectual    work of another person without providing proper credit to the author. While most commonly associated with writing, all types of scholarly work, including computer code, speeches, slides, music, scientific data and analysis, and electronic publications are not to be plagiarized. Plagiarism may be more explicitly defined as:

•           Using another person’s exact words without quotation marks and a footnote/endnote.

•           Paraphrasing another person’s words without a footnote/endnote.

•           Using another person’s ideas without giving credit by means of a footnote/endnote.

•           Using information from the web without giving credit by means of a footnote/endnote. (For example: If a student/professor/instructor/staff member enrolled or assigned to NDU copies a section of material from a source located on the internet (such as Wikipedia) into a paper/article/book, even if that material is not copyrighted, that section must be properly cited to show that the original material was not the student’s).

 To remind students of possible breaches of academic integrity, they are encouraged to submit their papers and assessments for review by plagiarism detection software prior to turning the products in for grading.


Sanctions for Breaches of Academic Integrity

Sanctions for breaching 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 United States military may be subject to non-judicial punishment or court-martial under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.  The authority for decisions and actions rests at the NDU CIC.


 Academic Review Board

The NDU CIC Academic Review Board is responsible for reviewing cases of student performance that include breaches of the College’s academic integrity policy. The student will be notified by e-mail that he or she has been referred to the Academic Review Board. The communication will include a summary of the reason for the referral and invite the student to appear before the Academic Review Board. When a student’s work is referred to the Academic Review Board, his or her record will be placed on “Academic Hold” status. All actions affecting their coursework, including grading, will be suspended pending outcome of the Academic Review Board’s inquiry.


Non-Attribution Policy

Presentations by guest speakers, panelists, and renowned public officials and scholars constitute an important part of the curriculum. In order that these guests, as well as faculty and other officials, may speak candidly, the College offers its assurance that presentations will be held instrict confidence. This assurance derives from a policy of non-attribution that is morally binding on all who attend. Without the expressed permission of the speakers, nothing they say may be attributed to them directly or indirectly in   the presence of anyone who was not authorized to attend  the presentation. This policy is not intended to preclude references by students and faculty within the academic environment to opinions expressed by speakers; however, courtesy, good judgment, and the non-attribution policy preclude citing those views, even if the speaker is not identified by name, even when questioning subsequent guests. Specifically, the non-attribution policy provides that:

•           Classified information gained during these presentations may be cited only in accordance with the rules applicable to its classification. Additionally, without consent, neither the speaker nor the College may be identified as the originator or source of the information.

•           Unclassified information gained during lectures, briefings, and panels may be used freely within the academic environment; however, without consent, neither the speaker nor the College may be identified as the originator of the information.•           Breaking the non-attribution Policy is a breach of academic integrity.


Guest Speaker Procedures

Students are to be in their seats at least five minutes before the scheduled starting time, and will stand when the guest speaker(s) enters the room. As a courtesy, students will not enter late or leave the room before the conclusion of the question and answer session. It is customary to applaud the visiting speaker at the end of the introduction and to stand and applaud the visiting speaker at the end of the lecture and question and answer period.

Penetrating and thought-provoking questions are essential to a productive discussion session with the speaker.  The CIC expects students to be prepared and willing to ask good questions of the speaker. When asking questions, it is critical that the student identify him/herself and state his/her parent agency. This is a courtesy to help the speaker better answer the question. Speaker presentations and their associated question and answer session customarily are not recorded or transcribed and never without the expressed consent of the speaker. This policy is complementary to the non-attribution policy which encourages our speakers to discuss their subjects with candor.Audio and Video Recording Policy

The college’s policy on video/audio recording of lectures is subject to the consent of the speaker. The CIC will respect the wishes of the speaker if consent to record presentations is withheld. All video/audio records are subject to disclosure to members of the public pursuant  to the Freedom of Information Act of 1974. The Visitor’s Bureau notifies all speakers of this policy in writing in the letter of invitation. Each speaker is requested to sign release prior to the lecture. If a speaker prefers not to have the lecture recorded and does not sign the release, the lecture will not be professionally recorded. Personal digital video or audio recordings of Hopper Auditorium or Lincoln Hall presentations are strictly forbidden.


Attendance Policy

Students are expected to participate in all scheduled class sessions and activities. The College will not issue course credit (or the grade of P for non-credit) if more than five percent of the class is missed.

Absence from class activities degrades the continuity and effectiveness of the educational process for all involved. Accordingly, absences may be authorized only under the most extenuating circumstances. Students are responsible for any course work missed.

The Course Manager may approve a maximum of two hours of missed class time. All absences exceeding two hours must be pre-approved by the Dean of Students.


NDU Code of Conduct

To advance the mission of educating, developing, and inspiring National Security Leaders, we must continually create and maintain an academic environment founded in a community of trust that demands excellence in professional conduct and ethical standards. Students must adhere to the highest standards of honor. Specifically, students will not lie, cheat, steal or otherwise behave in any way that discredits themselves or impugns on the reputation of their fellow students at National Defense University. Failure to follow these standards may result in administrative action, including dismissal from the University.


Dress Policy

Military and civilian personnel are expected to exemplify professional standards of dress and appearance. A business suit with tie or conservative sport coat with tie is considered appropriate dress for men; commensurate attire is expected of women. Military students may wear either the class B uniform or civilian attire as described above.Some events will require military students to wear the Dress Uniform.


Spouse Travel

NDU policy prohibits spouses and family members accompanying or meeting students and  faculty  members on field studies. This policy is strictly enforced and exists to eliminate any possible perceptions that field studies are not a full-time, professional endeavor.


Student Appeals

Student appeals  are directed  though  the Office  of   the Dean of Faculty and  Academic Programs for review  and  decision. Only written appeals with written documentation will be considered. Appeals should be submitted via e-mail to the