Graduate Academic Policies
Requirements Applicable To All Master's Degrees
Candidates must satisfy all university degree requirements and all requirements
established by the master's program faculty. Individual departmental degree requirements
are listed under the respective master's programs in this catalog.
- A candidate must earn a minimum of 30 graduate credits.
- Only graduate courses may apply toward the degree.
- The majority of the credits applied to the degree must be earned at the university
(or, in the case of programs offered through joint, cooperative, or consortial
arrangements, at the participating institutions).
- A minimum of 18 credits have to be taken in degree status (after admission
to the degree program).
- A maximum of 6 credits of master's thesis research (799) or master's project
may be applied to the degree.
- A candidate must have a minimum GPA of 3.000 in course work presented on the
degree application, which may include no more than 6 credits of C or C+. (Grades
of C- or D do not apply to graduate courses. The GPA calculation excludes all
transfer courses and George Mason Extended Studies credits not formally approved
for the degree.)
Thesis and Non-thesis Options
Requirements regarding a thesis vary with the degree program. A number of master's
programs offer both a thesis and non-thesis option. The same quality of work is
expected of students regardless of their chosen option. For further information,
consult the section on degree requirements under each degree program.
Master's degree students have six years from the time of first enrollment as
a degree-seeking student to complete their degrees. Individual master's programs
may have stricter time limits, which are published in the catalog. Students who
are given permission to re-enroll following an absence from the university may
not count the six-year time limit as beginning on the date of re-enrollment. Students
who will not meet published time limits due to circumstances beyond their control
may petition their school, college, or institute for an extension. Failure to
meet the time limits, or to secure approval of an extension request, may result
in termination from the program.
When a thesis proposal has been approved by the appropriate department, the
department chair sends the collegiate dean or director a copy of the thesis proposal,
including the approval signatures of the master's thesis committee members. The
student may enroll in thesis research (799) at the beginning of the next semester.
Students must register for three credits per semester until they reach the last
three required credits. Once they have only three credits remaining, students
may enroll for one credit per semester until graduation. To be considered a full-time
student, the advisor and department chair must certify each semester that the
student is working full time on his or her thesis. Please note: Graduate
students must maintain continuous enrollment while writing and submitting a thesis.
The master's thesis committee is named by the candidate's department chair,
who designates a member of the graduate faculty from that department as the thesis
committee chair. The committee is appointed after consultation with the candidate
and the advisor, and consists of at least three persons: two must be members of
the graduate faculty from the candidate's department; one may come from outside
The thesis committee chair is primarily responsible for directing and guiding
the candidate's research and writing activities. The student is responsible for
keeping all committee members informed of the scope, plan, and progress of both
the research and the thesis.
Students selecting the thesis option should obtain a copy of GMU's Thesis,
Dissertation or Project Guide, which is available in the course materials store
in the Johnson Center or on the University Dissertation and Thesis Services web
collections/dtwebguide.htm. Students may register in Thesis (799) only
after their thesis proposal has been submitted and approved as prescribed in the
Any student not in attendance at the university who is preparing a thesis under
the active supervision of a member of the faculty, or who wishes to take an examination,
must maintain continuous registration for at least one credit per semester.
The original and one copy of the master's thesis with two original signed cover
sheets must be deposited with the college/ school/institute dean or director for
dean/director's signature prior to being transferred to the University Libraries.
For degree conferral, two copies with cover sheets signed by committee and
dean/director of college/school/institute must be submitted to the library by
5 p.m. the on last Friday of classes (select the timelines link at http://registar.gmu.edu/gradcheck
for specific deadline date). This is also the deadline for participation in the