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George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog


Graduate Academic Policies

Study Elsewhere

(Applying non-George Mason University credit to graduate academic programs)

Transfer Credit for Work Taken Prior to Admission

Graduate credit earned prior to admission to a certificate, master's, or doctoral program may be eligible to be transferred into the program and applied to the certificate or degree. Transfer of credit requires the approval of the program director and the dean or director of the school/college/institute, who determine whether the credit is eligible for transfer and whether it is applicable to the specific certificate or degree program. Limits on the number of credits that can be transferred derive from the degree requirements given below.

Credit is usually considered for transfer at the request of the student at the time of initial registration as a degree-seeking student. Students must supply official transcripts (plus an official transcript evaluation for transcripts from outside the United States and an official translation for transcripts not in English, if these documents were not supplied in the admission process). Credit transfer requests from students who are admitted provisionally are not considered until they have fulfilled the conditions of their admission and had the provisional qualifier removed from their records.

To be eligible for transfer credit, the credit must be graduate credit earned at another accredited university, earned at another institution and recommended for graduate credit in the American Council on Education guidebook, or earned at George Mason while in a non-degree status or while enrolled through Extended Studies. The credit must have been earned within six years prior to first enrollment as an admitted student in the specific certificate or degree program, and a minimum grade of B (3.0) must have been earned. The course must be applicable toward a degree at the institution offering the course. Extension and in service courses that are not intended by the institution offering the courses to be applied to a degree program are not eligible for transfer credit to George Mason. The credits cannot have been previously applied toward a degree at another institution or at George Mason. Up to three credits previously applied to a degree program at another institution may, however, be transferred into a certificate program at George Mason.

Reduction of Credit

The number of credits required by a doctoral program, M.F.A. program, or master's program of more than 39 credits may be reduced on the basis of a previously earned master's degree. Reduction of credit requires the approval of the program director and the dean or director of the school/college/institute, who determine whether the credits are eligible for reduction of credit, whether the credits are applicable to the degree program, and the number of credits to be reduced. Reduction of credit is limited to a maximum of 30 credits in a doctoral program, 20 in an M.F.A. program, 23 in the M.A. in psychology concentration in school psychology, and derive from the degree requirements given below.

Students requesting a reduction of credit must supply official transcripts (plus an official transcript evaluation for transcripts from outside the United States and an official translation for transcripts not in English, if these documents were not supplied in the admissions process). Reduction of credit requests from students who are admitted provisionally are not considered until they have fulfilled the conditions of their admission and had the provisional qualifier removed from their records.

There are no time limits on credits used in reduction of credit, and the credits must have been applied to a previous degree. All the other conditions given above for eligibility of transfer of credit apply also to reduction of credits.

Credit by External Exam

Degree credit for satisfactory completion of an external exam is limited to those examinations and achievement levels specifically approved by the Graduate Council.

Credit from Other Institutions After Admission

Students enrolled in a degree program may take graduate courses at another accredited institution and apply these credits to a master's or doctoral degree with prior approval. Approval must be secured in writing from the director of the graduate program and the dean or director of the school/college/institute and submitted to the Office of the Registrar at George Mason before registering at the other institution. Upon completion of the course, students must arrange for an official transcript to be submitted to the school/college/institute so that the credits may be transferred into their George Mason degree program. These credits are subject to all the other conditions given above for transfer credit, including limits on numbers of credit that can be taken elsewhere. Permission to take a course elsewhere does not exempt a graduate student from satisfying the degree requirements given below.

Enrolled, degree-seeking graduate students may be eligible to take courses through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. See "Enrolling in Consortium Courses." Credits earned through the Consortium are considered resident (not transfer) credits and are therefore not subject to transfer of credit conditions or limitations.