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George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog


Undergraduate Academic Policies

Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduates seeking a baccalaureate degree at George Mason University must complete the University General Education requirements. Please see the catalogue chapter on the university undergraduate general education program for specific details. Additional requirements for specific degree programs can be found in the description of each college or school in this catalog.

English Composition Requirement

The university requires students to complete at least two semesters of English composition. Students enrolled in the Honors Program in General Education or in New Century College learning communities complete the English composition requirement as specified in those programs. All other students, unless they have received equivalent credit through transfer or proficiency examination, must enroll in ENGL 101 (or 100) upon admission and, after meeting its prerequisites, ENGL 302. Students must attain a minimum grade of C- in composition courses to fulfill university degree requirements.

Writing-Intensive Course Requirement

In addition to English composition, and as part of the university's commitment to literacy in all programs, at least one course in each major has been designated "writing intensive." While other courses in the major may require written projects, "writing-intensive" courses emphasize the process of drafting and revision. Faculty in these courses give constructive comments on drafts of at least one course project, which the students then revise and resubmit, or use for future submissions. Writing-intensive courses are numbered 300 and above. See the description of each major for the specific courses that fulfill the requirement for that major.

Residence Requirements

At least one-fourth of the total credits presented on the degree application must be completed at the university and must include at least 12 upper-level credits (courses numbered 300 or above) in the major program.

Students are expected to complete the final one-fourth of their college study at the university. However, a student of junior standing who has completed 24 credits of upper-level courses, including 12 upper-level credits in the major, may apply to the appropriate dean for permission to complete the remaining degree requirements elsewhere. Such applications must follow the procedures outlined in the section Credit to be Earned at Other Colleges. Permission is granted only in special circumstances, such as moving from the area or enrolling in an accredited professional school.

A student who gains early admission to an accredited professional school or into an approved Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree program may be granted a George Mason bachelor's degree while enrolled in that professional or graduate school if certain conditions are met. In this context, a professional school is defined as a school of dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, osteopathy, or veterinary medicine. Before leaving the university, a student must obtain certification signed by the department chair and the appropriate dean that the residence, general education, and major requirements for the degree have been met. The student also must secure from the dean prior approval of those professional school or graduate courses that are to be applied only as elective credit to the total credit requirement for the bachelor's degree at George Mason.

Additional Academic Requirements

To qualify for a bachelor's degree, a student must have been admitted, and complete at least 120 credits that can be counted towards graduation. The students must fulfill all stated requirements for the specific degree, and must have earned a GPA of at least 2.000 in the courses presented for graduation. An undergraduate may present all courses in which satisfactory grades have been received and up to 12 credits of courses in which D grades have been received. A student may not use a grade of D in BIS 490, however, and may not use more than six credits of D grades in a major or in the BIS core of study, nor more than three credits of D grades in a minor. Some programs may have a more restrictive policy regarding the number of D grades allowable in majors, minors, or certificates. Please refer to the appropriate section of the catalog for further information.

Students seeking a bachelor's degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

A Graduation Appeals Committee in each college or school considers written appeals from students who fail to meet degree or certain area requirements.

Second Bachelor's Degree

A second bachelor's degree may be earned, either concurrently or sequentially. To graduate with two degrees, students must present at least 30 George Mason credits beyond those required by either degree alone.

Students who are concurrently pursuing two bachelor's degrees at George Mason must present a detailed program of study for both degrees and obtain authorizing signatures from the chair or director of each degree program (and from the dean or director, if required by the college, school, or institute). Students may declare the second concurrent degree by completing the Declaration of Second Bachelor's Degree section of the Change/Declaration of Academic Program form, available in the Registrar's Office.

Application for a second bachelor's degree declared after graduation from a first degree must be conducted through the Office of Admissions. Determination of academic standing starts anew for George Mason graduates who return for a second bachelor's degree.

Graduation with Distinction

A student graduates with distinction from the university when at least 60 credits applied toward graduation are earned at George Mason University and the student's grade point average in all work applied toward graduation is at least equal to one of three values:

3.500 (with distinction)

3.700 (with high distinction)

3.900 (with highest distinction)

Graduation with Distinction and Recognition

A student graduates with distinction and with recognition of a distinguished senior project if, in addition to meeting the criteria for graduation with distinction, the student completes a research project or other substantial piece of creative work directed by a faculty member and judged by the student's department to be of distinguished quality. The departmental faculty establishes criteria by which a student graduating with distinction may attempt to receive this recognition.