George Mason University > University Catalog > Introduction > Academic Policies

Skip Navigation
George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog

Graduate Academic Policies

General Information


The Graduate Council is the governing body for all graduate academic policies and procedures. The Graduate Council approves all new graduate programs; authorizes all graduate course work, policies, and degrees conferred by the university; and sets minimum standards for admission to and graduation from any graduate program. These are minimum standards that all programs must meet; individual programs may set and enforce higher standards. The Office of the Provost administers university graduate policies for the Graduate Council.

Graduate Faculty

The graduate faculty consists of all tenure and tenure-track faculty members and other faculty members appointed to the graduate faculty by the provost.

Academic Programs

The University offers certificates, master's and doctoral degrees at the graduate level. There are also a number of bachelor's/accelerated master's degree programs for academically strong undergraduates with a commitment to research. For more information, see bachelor's/accelerated master's degree under Registration and Attendance.

Student Status

Students may access graduate classes and programs according to their status as extended studies, non-degree, or enrolled degree students. See the "Admission" chapter of this catalog.

Full-time Classification of Students

Graduate students enrolled in nine or more credits per semester are always considered full time. Research and teaching assistants may be considered full-time students for some purposes when enrolled in six or more credits per semester. Please note: Different criteria for full-time status may apply for tuition, verification, and financial aid purposes. Contact Student Accounts, Registrar, and Student Financial Aid, respectively, for questions regarding student-specific status.

Change from Non-degree to Degree Status

A student admitted for graduate study in non-degree status may request a change to degree status within the same program. To do so, the student must secure departmental and college/school/institute approval on the college/school/institute's Student Request Form. All admission requirements as normally defined by the student's program for degree status must be met (e.g., official transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.). If the student intends to use credits earned in non-degree status toward a degree, the credits must be approved on the college/school/institute's Transfer of Credit form.

Removing Provisional Qualifier from Admission Status

For policies concerning students admitted provisionally, see the Graduate Admission Policies section in the "Admission" chapter of this catalog.

Permission to Re-enroll in Graduate Study

Permission to re-enroll in a program must be obtained by all master's and doctoral students who have failed to enroll in at least one credit of course work for two or more consecutive semesters at George Mason University. A program may allow a student to petition to graduate under any catalog in effect while the student was enrolled. The final decision rests with the unit dean or director. Forms are available from the Office of the Registrar, (703) 993-2441.

Academic Advising

At the time of admission to graduate study, the student is assigned a faculty advisor by the academic program responsible for the student's program of study. Registration for newly admitted graduate students, as well as continuing students, begins with a visit to the student's academic advisor. There the student can obtain information about specific courses and degree requirements and develop an individual program of study. Progress in an approved program of study is the shared responsibility of the student and the advisor. The graduate student is responsible for compliance with the policies and procedures of the college/school/institute and all applicable departmental requirements that govern the individual program of study. Students should consult with their advisors before registration each semester.