George Mason University > University Catalog > Information Technology & Engineering
2003-04 University Catalog George Mason University

School of Information Technology and Engineering

Phone: (703) 993-1505

The School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E) at George Mason University is concerned primarily with study areas that involve integrating the information basis for modern engineering with the more conventional physical and materials science approach. The careful integration of these areas results in a unique academic experience for highly motivated students.

IT&E offers 23 degree programs that concentrate on important contemporary technological issues and needs. Six bachelor's degree programs are offered: civil and infrastructure engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, information technology, and systems engineering. Minors in information technology, computer science, and data analysis are also available.

Thirteen master's degree programs are available: civil and infrastructure engineering, computer engineering, computer science, e-commerce, electrical engineering, enterprise engineering and policy, information security and assurance (subject to SCHEV approval), information systems, operations research, software engineering, statistical science, systems engineering, and telecommunications. Three doctoral programs are offered: a cross-disciplinary program in information technology, and more focused programs in computer science and in electrical and computer engineering. In addition, the Engineer degree in Information Technology provides post-master's training in an application area. Undergraduate certificates are offered in applied statistics, information technology, and operations research and engineering. For graduate students, certificate programs are offered in electronic commerce; command, control, communications, and intelligence; communications and networking; computational modeling; systems engineering for computer, information, and software-intensive systems; federal statistics; information engineering; information systems security; military operations research; signal processing; software engineering; VSLI design/manufacturing; discovery, design and innovation; computer networking; network technologies and applications; wireless communications; and telecommunications systems modeling.

The undergraduate degree programs prepare graduates to enter directly into professional employment or to continue studies at the graduate level. The requirements for the bachelor's degrees include required and elective courses in mathematics, humanities, and general education, and specialty courses in civil and infrastructure engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, information technology, and systems engineering. Each program strongly emphasizes English composition and communication.

Students also have the opportunity to develop interest areas in other fields within IT&E that offer undergraduate courses but do not now have undergraduate majors. The Bachelor of Individualized Study (B.I.S.) degree program may appeal to adult students who have completed a substantial portion of their studies at other institutions.


Lloyd Griffiths, Dean

Stephen G. Nash, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research

E. Bernard White, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Anne Marchant, Assistant Dean for IT Undergraduate Education

Jonathan Goldman, Director, Computing Resources

Kathleen Johnson, Director, Finance

Deborah Rosenberg Malafsky, Director of Development

Bachelor of Science

The undergraduate education mission of the School of Information Technology and Engineering is to provide a quality education to support the needs of Virginia and the nation.

  • The goal of the IT&E undergraduate programs is to graduate students who
  • are technically competent,
  • are prepared for ethical professional practice,
  • can communicate effectively,
  • can work as members or leaders of technical teams,
  • are prepared for a lifetime of learning, and
  • understand the global nature and impact of information technology and engineering.
Degree Requirements

The following general requirements for a bachelor of science degree must be completed by all undergraduate students in majors in IT&E:

1. At least 120 credits of academic work

2. At least 6 credits of English composition, 3 credits of literature, and 3 credits of oral communication general education electives

3. At least 3 credits of U.S. history, 3 credits of Western civilization, 3 credits of social studies, and 3 credits of global/international issues general education electives

4. The requirements listed in the following sections for the specific IT&E majors, which include university requirements for mathematics, IT competency and ethics, and synthesis.

Freshmen who are undecided about their specific majors within IT&E may select IT&E Undeclared as their majors. Sample schedules that fulfill degree requirements for individual programs within IT&E departments are available from the departments. With approval of departmental advisors, some courses may be taken out of the indicated sequences, particularly in the case of English, literature, and social science courses.

Students should consult the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements section in the "Academic Policies" chapter in this catalog for detailed information concerning requirements for graduation, residence, and academic quality for graduation. Students should also consult the "Academic Policies" chapter of this catalog for additional university requirements for minor programs. The requirements for the B.I.S. degree can be found in the New Century College section of the "College of Arts and Sciences" chapter. The requirements for the civil and infrastructure engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, and systems engineering undergraduate degree programs are provided in the academic departments' sections of this chapter. The requirements for the B.S. degree in information technology are provided in the interdisciplinary section of this chapter. A student majoring in an IT&E program is expected to have an acceptable plan of study, formulated by the student and his or her advisor, on file in the student's department.

School of Information Technology and Engineering Introductory Section is detailed immediately following "Degree Requirements."

Restricted Courses

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many excellent courses available to broaden their educational experience or strengthen their background; however, some credits earned may not satisfy any requirements for the student's degree. Degree requirements for IT&E undergraduate programs may not include credits earned in activity courses in any department. Examples are many of the courses listed under the catalog designations of art, dance, music, theater, individual sports, physical education, team sports, and recreational activities. Exceptions in these categories are courses that meet the general education (i.e., global understanding and/or fine arts) criteria for the student's major. Whenever there is any uncertainty, the student must consult with an academic advisor for specifics. Generally, degree requirements for computer science and engineering majors may not be met by 100-400-level courses designated "IT" (and any associated cross-listed courses) in the "Course Descriptions" section of this catalog. The respective computer science or engineering student's department might approve requests for IT 350, IT 362, IT 462, and IT 466 to satisfy degree requirements; however, the department must forward to the IT&E Student Services Office for approval any other recommendation for exception to the policy on restricted courses. Contact your department or the IT&E Student Services Office at (703) 993-1511 for answers to more specific questions.

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all undergraduate students to successfully complete a course, or combination of courses, designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. To determine the writing-intensive course requirements for specific degrees, please refer to the major program descriptions in the following department sections.

B.S./Accelerated M.S. Programs

A number of the B.S. degree programs offered within IT&E may be packaged with some of the M.S. degree programs in ways that reduce the total number of credits required. Details may be found in the following department sections.

Certificate in Information Technology

The certificate in information technology (IT) is designed primarily for those students who have earned a nontechnical bachelor's degree. The IT certificate allows students with nontechnical backgrounds to augment the knowledge gained through their major-related courses with additional computer and information technology knowledge and skills to improve their attractiveness to employers in the high-technology community. The IT certificate requires a minimum of 24 credits, including 15 credits of core courses. Beyond these requirements, the student is free to define a technical focus area. The focus area must be composed of at least three courses (9 credits). Elective courses selected for the technical focus area must be approved by the IT&E program advisor for the IT certificate.

Core Courses 15
IT 101 Introduction to Information Technology 3
IT 103 Introduction to Computing 3
IT 108 Programming Fundamentals 3
Two of the following courses:  
IT 212 How Computers Work 3
IT 213 Multimedia and Computer Graphics 3
IT 214 Database Fundamentals 3
IT 250 Introductory Statistics I 3
Technical Focus Area 9

Minor in Information Technology

The information technology (IT) minor is designed primarily for those non-IT&E majors who desire to augment the knowledge gained through their major-related courses with additional computer and information technology knowledge and skills to improve their attractiveness to employers in the high-technology community. The IT minor requires a minimum of 15 credits, including 9 credits of core courses. Beyond these requirements, the student is free to define a technical focus area, e.g., in information security. Focus areas are composed of at least two courses (6 credits). Students pursuing the IT Minor should obtain a list of approved electives from the IT Programs Office.

Core Courses 9
IT 101 Introduction to Information Technology 3
IT 103 Introduction to Computing 3
IT 108 Programming Fundamentals 3
Technical Focus Area 6

Master of Science

Degree Requirements

IT&E offers 13 master of science programs in its academic units. Policies regarding admission and degree requirements are provided in the department sections that follow.

M.S. Degree Department
Civil and Infrastructure Engineering Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering
Computer Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering
Computer Science Computer Science
E-Commerce Interdisciplinary Programs
Electrical Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering
Enterprise Engineering and Policy Interdisciplinary Programs
Information Security and Assurance Information and Software Engineering
Information Systems Information and Software Engineering
Operations Research Systems Engineering and Operations Research
Software Engineering Information and Software Engineering
Statistical Science Applied and Engineering Statistics
Systems Engineering Systems Engineering and Operations Research
Telecommunications Interdisciplinary Programs

Doctor of Philosophy

IT&E offers a Ph.D. in Computer Science, a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology. The Ph.D. in Computer Science is described in the Computer Science section of this chapter, and the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering is described in the Electrical and Computer Engineering section. The Ph.D. in Information Technology is a program that builds on a fundamental core and emphasizes cross-disciplinary efforts among the 13 master's programs in IT&E, as well as with related units at George Mason University. Specific entrance and degree requirements for this doctoral program are found in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs section of this chapter.

Engineer Degree in Information Technology

The Engineer Degree in Information Technology allows a student to combine the advanced course work of the Ph.D. degree in Information Technology with an applied project. It is suitable for students seeking specialized training, but who do not wish to complete an extended research project.

For complete details, see the section on Interdisciplinary Programs in this chapter.

Nondegree Graduate Program

Admission to graduate study in nondegree status is available for those individuals who do not wish to pursue a degree but are interested in taking graduate courses offered by IT&E. To be admitted to nondegree status, a student must meet the following requirements. For routine admission, a student should have a 3.000 GPA or higher and a B.S. degree (preferably in a discipline in the potential degree area of interest), and must have met the course prerequisites as listed in the various departments. Admission criteria for students with a GPA below 3.000 or those with a nonengineering background are varied, and applications are reviewed within departments on an individual basis.

Students who later choose to seek admission to one of the IT&E graduate degree programs must reapply for admission to a degree program and supply the additional required materials with the new application. If admitted to the degree program, the student may request that up to 12 credits taken in nondegree status be approved for transfer for a degree. Admission to nondegree status does not automatically guarantee admission to the degree program at a later date. Applicants may obtain more information by contacting the IT&E Student Services Office, Room 160, Science and Technology II, (703) 993-1505, or by contacting the individual departments.

University Computing Capability

Academic computing capability is provided by laboratories offering a large number of individual student computers, as well as campuswide networked facilities. All laboratories are networked and include access to local and remote servers as well as the Internet.

IT&E provides multiple labs equipped with Microsoft workstations, Sun workstations, Network Computing Device workstations, as well as workstations of other manufacturers. The IT&E central system computers are clustered into UNIX and Windows servers that support the student labs as well as faculty and departmental machines.

Software includes compilers for a variety of programming languages and software tools supporting engineering design, graphics, neural networks, and high-performance/parallel computing. Specialized facilities are available for artificial intelligence, civil engineering, software engineering, image processing and computer vision, virtual reality, and parallel and distributed computing research.

Virginia Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program

Graduate programs in engineering and information technology are offered under the auspices of a commonwealth network in Virginia. This network includes George Mason University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI&SU), Old Dominion University (ODU), the University of Virginia (UVA), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and employs a mix of direct classroom instruction from George Mason and live interactive televised lectures from other universities. Afternoon and evening instruction is provided at the George Mason Fairfax Campus, and the UVA/VPI&SU Northern Virginia Center.

Master's degree programs are offered by UVA, VPI&SU, ODU, and George Mason. The degree programs from UVA include the Master of Materials Engineering, Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Manufacturing Systems Engineering), Electrical Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Civil Engineering (Structural Focus). VPI&SU offers the following degree programs: Master of Engineering Administration; Master of Science or Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering (Environmental), and Systems Engineering; and a Master in Mechanical Engineering. ODU offers the Master of Engineering Management. George Mason offers the master of science in programs described in this chapter. Also offered by George Mason are the Ph.D. in Computer Science, the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Ph.D. in Information Technology, as well as a variety of certificate programs.

For further information, see the web site .