|George Mason University > University Catalog > Undergraduate Academic Policies|
Admitted undergraduates are classified as follows: freshman, 0-29 credits completed; sophomore, 30-59 credits completed; junior, 60-89 credits completed; senior, 90 or more credits completed. Full-time undergraduates are classified as those students enrolled in 12 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.
Admitted undergraduate students should meet regularly with an academic advisor to discuss academic programs, educational goals, and career plans. In conjunction with their advisors, students plan academic programs to meet the general university degree requirements and specific requirements within their major fields. Responsibility for reading the catalog, and knowing and fulfilling the requirements of a specific baccalaureate degree rests with the student. To assist in the advising process, the university provides a computerized analysis of academic progress (a degree audit). Students may access their individualized reports through the university's secure web site (webGMU.edu).
Individual departments establish their own advising processes; students should check with their departments for the appropriate procedures. During their freshman and sophomore years, students in the Honors Program in General Education plan their schedules with Honors advisors. Every department coordinates advising of its honors students through the Honors office (Enterprise Hall, Room 305).
Some departments require that students should be advised prior to registration each semester. See Advisor's Permission to Register in the section Registration and Attendance for categories of students who may not register until they have seen an advisor.
Admitted students who have not yet declared a major or who are considering a change of major, as well as students with other academic issues, are advised in the Academic Advising Center.
Students are encouraged to make an appointment for information about general education requirements, programs, policies, procedures, and other academic concerns. Advisors in the Academic Advising Center also provide information and guidance for students who are interested in pre-professional programs in the health fields.
Advising is available by appointment Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Tuesday until 8 p.m., when classes are in session.
Johnson Center, Room 245, MS 2C4
Student Academic Affairs consists of three centers: The Freshman Center, the Center for University Scholars, and the University Course Office (UNIV 100, 200, 300, and 400). Student Academic Affairs also oversees the Supplemental Instruction and Peer Advisor Programs. In addition, all academic actions submitted by students not in a declared major are ruled on by Students Academic Affairs.
Advising upon Entrance into the Upper Division (Junior Standing)
Upon entrance into the upper division, every student should meet with an advisor to adopt a program of study. This meeting should include:
This advising session occurs in the semester in which the student will have completed 60 or more acceptable credits. The results are a matter of record, with any approved modifications being entered into the student's computerized degree plan.
Although an upper-division student who has filed an approved program of study is normally not required to consult again with an academic advisor, it remains the student's responsibility to seek approval for any change to the program, so that the computerized degree plan may be kept up to date. In particular, once a student has completed 60 credits, a change of major requires an extended session with an advisor in the new major, and approval of a new program of study before the change is complete.
A student in lower-division status may change majors by filing a Change/Declaration of Academic Program form with the registrar. These are minimal advising procedures to be followed in all undergraduate segments of the university; individual units may require additional advising sessions.
Phone: (703) 993-2470
The Medical Sciences Advisory Committee reviews qualified candidates for admission to health profession programs in allopathic and osteopathic medicine, dentistry, podiatry, and optometry, and writes a composite letter of evaluation in support of the applicant. The committee comprises university faculty and professional advising staff. Committee members also function as pre-med advisors. Students seeking information about admission to professional medical programs are encouraged to contact the chair of the Medical Sciences Advisory Committee, George Mason University, Student Academic Affairs and Advising, MS 2E6, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444.
Academic Period refers to fall semester, spring semester, or summer term. For determining academic standing, including the duration of academic probation and suspension, an academic period is defined as follows:
Each academic period begins on the 15th day following the last scheduled day of final examinations for the previous period. Each academic period ends on the 14th day after the last scheduled day of final examinations.
Example: Assume that the last scheduled day of final exams for a semester is Monday, December 23. That period then ends on Monday, January 6. The next period begins on Tuesday, January 7.
Consecutive academic periods of enrollment are successive periods (semesters or terms) during which the student was enrolled, regardless of whether there were intervening periods during which the student did not enroll.
A student is in good academic standing unless academically dismissed, suspended, or on probation. An academic warning alone does not deprive a student of good academic standing.
Undergraduate students perform acceptably during any academic period in which they earn a current grade point average of 2.000 or higher (1.800 for those in the first or second academic period of the freshman year). In computing the grade point average, grades of FA and IN are counted as F, and the grades AB, IP, NC, S and SP are not counted.
Students in degree status who take at least six credits in an academic period and earn a grade point average for that period of 3.500 or higher merit placement on the Dean's List.
Students receive an academic warning at the end of any academic period in which they fail to attain a grade point average for that period of 2.000 or better (1.800 for those in the first or second academic period of the freshman year). Note that "warning" refers to a below standard, or unacceptable, academic performance in a semester or term. The warning notation on the student's record may be superseded by a stronger notation of probation, suspension or dismissal if it applies.
Students who receive two warnings during any four consecutive periods of enrollment are on probation during the academic period of enrollment following the second warning, unless suspension criteria apply.
Academic suspension results from two situations. First, a student receiving academic warnings in two consecutive periods of enrollment is suspended. In the case of first suspension, the two consecutive periods are extended to three if the student attempted fewer than 12 credits during either of the first two periods. Second, a suspension also results from receiving a second probation.
A student's first academic suspension is for two academic periods, unless it is imposed at the end of the Summer Term, in which case it is for one semester. A second suspension is for one calendar year: two semesters and a Summer Term. A third suspension results in dismissal.
All notations of academic standing are included in a student's permanent record. Course credits earned at other colleges during the period of suspension from the university (for academic or nonacademic reasons) are not accepted for the degree program.
A student re-enrolling after suspension is on probation for one academic period of enrollment. A warning received at the end of that semester or term results in continuation of probation but not suspension; however, a student will be dismissed at the end of that period if the dismissal criteria (below) apply. A second consecutive warning immediately after returning from a suspension results in a new suspension.
A third academic suspension results in academic dismissal. An undergraduate is also dismissed at the end of any academic period when all of the following occur:
For example, a student who transfers 30 credits to George Mason from another institution and has earned 40 credits at George Mason (not including courses graded S [Satisfactory]) must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 1.571 on the courses taken at George Mason.
Undergraduate students who earn a GPA of less than 2.000 in any fall or spring semester, and are still eligible to enroll, may register for a maximum of 13 credit hours their following spring or fall semester. All undergraduate students who are returning from suspension in a fall or spring semester may take a maximum of 13 credit hours and must meet with an advisor before registering.
Only students in good academic standing are eligible to hold or run for elective or appointive office in any organization or activity associated with the university, or to compete in any athletic or other activity representing the university on either an intercollegiate or club level, or to serve as a working staff member of any student organization.
A student whose eligibility for an activity requires the completion of a semester will have fulfilled that requirement when the student's publicly scheduled exams are over, unless the student's continued eligibility depends on the grades received. In the latter case, the student will not become eligible until the end of the semester as defined for probation and suspension purposes.
To plan a sound academic program, the undergraduate should select a degree and major as soon as it is practical, but no later than four weeks before the end of the sophomore year. For declaration of a major, a student should confer with the appropriate advisor or designate of either the new major program or, if undeclared, Student Academic Affairs and Advising. Obtain signatures from both departments in the Change of Major section of the Change/Declaration of Academic Program form, available in the Registrar's Office and in Student Academic Affairs and Advising.
Students who wish to change their academic programs (degree and/or major) should see a faculty advisor or Student Academic Affairs and Advising. Departmental sections of this catalog contain requirements for acceptance into each program. A student not meeting the requirements may appeal to the department chair for an exception.
Once a student has completed 60 credits, a change of major requires a meeting with an advisor in the new major before the change is complete. To file a change of major, signatures of advisors or designates in both the new and former major programs must be obtained on the Change/Declaration of Academic Program form, available in the Registrar's Office.
A student who desires to graduate with a B.A. degree or a B.S. degree in two or more subjects must meet departmental requirements for the major in each field. See also the section Second Bachelor's Degree.
Students given permission to pursue two or more concurrent majors must complete the Declaration of Second Major section of the Change/Declaration of Academic Program form, available in the Registrar's Office. The applicant must present a detailed program of study for both majors and obtain the authorizing signature from the chair or director of the second major program (and from the dean or director, if required by the college, school, or institute). When required, department chairs and deans/directors must also approve all changes to the programs of study. A student may begin a program at any time that permits its completion before the anticipated graduation date.
Students may elect minor programs of study in addition to their major fields by completing the Declaration or Change of Minor section of the Change/Declaration of Academic Program form, available in the Registrar's Office. Minors normally require between 15 and 21 credits of study. At least six credits of the minor must be completed at George Mason, and no more than three credits of C- or D in the minor are accepted. Students interested in a minor should consult the college/school/institute chapters and the Program of Study listing in the front of this catalog chapter to determine which minors are offered and their specific 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.
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.
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.
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.
See the section "Credit to Be Earned at Other Institutions."
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 up to 12 credits of courses in which C- or D grades have been earned. A student may not present more than six credits of C- or D grades in a major nor more than three credits of C- or D grades in a minor. Some programs may have a more restrictive policy regarding 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.
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.
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:
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.