George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
Course Descriptions

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Registration Procedure

The Schedule of Classes, distributed by the Registrar's Office before priority registration each semester, contains written instructions for registration. Courses listed in the Schedule of Classes may be withdrawn if enrollment is insufficient. The university reserves the right to change the class schedule and adjust the individual section enrollment as necessary.

Students are responsible for registering properly. They should confirm the correctness of their enrollments and report any apparent error immediately to the Registrar's Office. Students must be present at the first meeting of every laboratory course (lecture and laboratory) to validate their registration. If students cannot attend the first meeting, they must notify the department beforehand if they intend to continue in that section. Otherwise, their names will be stricken from that class roll in both lecture and lab.

Unless stated otherwise in the Schedule of Classes, registration is not canceled for failure to attend lecture courses. Students are responsible for full tuition payment and grades received for all courses in which they are registered unless (1) they are canceled for nonpayment for courses in which they registered early; (2) they are canceled administratively by the university staff due to suspension or dismissal; (3) the section in which they are registered is canceled; or (4) they do not attend the first meeting (lecture or lab) of a laboratory course.

Academic Load

Although many students must work to meet living expenses, employment must not take priority over academic responsibilities. Students employed more than 20 hours a week are strongly urged not to attempt a full-time academic load. Students employed more than 40 hours a week should attempt no more than six credit hours per semester. Students failing to observe these guidelines may expect no special consideration for academic problems arising from the pressures of employment. Although 12 semester hours per semester represents a minimum full-time undergraduate load, students wishing to graduate in four years need to carry an average of at least 15 credit hours per semester. A load in excess of 17 hours must be approved by the student's academic dean.

For planning purposes, applicants for admission are asked to indicate their preference for full- or part-time status and for day or evening classes. However, they may freely choose between evening and day sections of courses and may change their full- or part-time status.

Graduate students are urged to register each semester for only the number of hours they can successfully complete. A full-time academic load is nine semester hours. To be considered a full-time student, a graduate research or teaching assistant must register for a minimum of six hours. During the summer, a normal full-time academic load is nine semester hours for the entire term. Permission of the department chair is required to exceed the normal load.

Graduate students are expected to attend all class periods of courses for which they are registered and to meet all course requirements set by graduate faculty.

Adviser's Permission to Register

Freshmen, entering transfer students, students on academic probation, guest matriculants, and newly admitted graduate students are required to obtain an adviser's approval for registration. Students in the departments of Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Music, and Physics and Astronomy, in the College of Nursing and Health Science, and in the Institute of the Arts must obtain their adviser's approval for registration each semester. All students are encouraged to consult with their advisers concerning course registration.


Preregistration for the next semester, including the Summer Term, begins after mid-semester and is by priority groups (graduate students, seniors, juniors, etc.). The Registrar's Office assigns each student a particular date and time after which a student may register, based on the number of credit hours earned. Thus, dates and times to register may not be the same for all students within a particular priority group.

Students should consult the Schedule of Classes and 4GMU for information about their registration date and time.

Student Information

George Mason University hereby designates the following categories of student information as public or "Directory Information." Such information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion.

Note: As of spring 1997, digitized photos (taken for the student ID card) are considered part of the public, or directory, information.

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of any category of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended. To withhold disclosure, students must present a photo ID in person at the Registrar's Office and complete the Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form.

George Mason University assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of a category of Directory Information indicates individual approval for disclosure.

Directory Information includes:

  1. Name and Academic Information, including disclosure of name, dates of attendance, class, previous institutions, major field of study, awards, honors (including Dean's List), degrees conferred including dates, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and physical factors (including height and weight of athletes);
  2. Bio-Demo Information, including address(es), photo image (from ID card), telephone number(s), date, and place of birth;
  3. Publication Information¬name, address, photo image (from ID card), telephone number, major, and e-mail address to be listed in future George Mason student directories.

Students may inspect their education records and obtain more information about the Privacy Act at the Registrar's Office. They may also obtain copies of most parts of their records. Those desiring to do so should schedule an appointment with the Registrar.

* Students who withhold their name from Directory Information must conduct all university business in person with a photo ID. Such students are eligible to use telephone registration and other electronic systems such as MasonLink, which are protected by a personal identification number (PIN).

Student Identity Card

After registering, each student may obtain a university photo identification card. It must be presented to use the library services and is required for admission to university events and when using university facilities after normal operating hours. It is not transferable and is validated each semester after payment is made for classes; validation stickers are sent by mail. Questions may be directed to the Photo ID office at 993-1004.

Change of Status and Address

Each student is required to notify the Registrar's Office of any change in local home address and telephone number, permanent address, or legal name. When a student's legal name is changed, the Registrar's Office reserves the right to require a certified copy of documents authorizing the change. Such documents are kept in the student's permanent file.

Canceling Registration/Withdrawal

Students who cannot attend classes during the semester for which they have preregistered should cancel registration using the telephone registration system (4GMU) or by written notice to the Registrar's Office prior to the early registration deadline for payment. Students who register and then cancel/withdraw after the deadline, but prior to the beginning of classes or during the first week of classes, are charged a $25 administrative fee. Students who withdraw after the first week of classes must complete a withdrawal form at the Registrar's Office.

Refunds of tuition on and after the first day of classes are made according to the Tuition Liability Scale published in this catalog and the Schedule of Classes. Withdrawal after the last day for dropping a course (specified in the Academic Calendar) requires approval by the student's academic dean and is permitted only for nonacademic reasons that prevent course completion.

Changing Registration (Schedule Adjustment)

Once registered, students may change their registration only by using the telephone system (4GMU). Registration changes should be completed within the schedule adjustment period defined below and indicated in the Schedule of Classes. Permission to enter a closed or controlled section must be obtained in writing from the academic department offering the course on a Course Permit Slip and submitted in person to the Registrar's Office.

Schedule changes are made only during the Schedule Adjustment period, as listed in the Schedule of Classes.

The last day for adding a 14-week course is two calendar weeks after and including the first day of classes. The last day for dropping a 14-week course is five calendar weeks after and including the first day of classes.

After the date listed in the Schedule of Classes for adding and dropping courses, add actions require approval by the chair of the academic department offering the course. Late drop approval is granted only for nonacademic reasons by the student's academic dean. Normally this approval is given for all courses at once, constituting withdrawal from a semester (see procedure below).

All such transactions must be approved by the Office of Student Accounts and processed by the Office of the Registrar.

Withdrawal from a Semester

Upon approval by the student's academic dean, a student may withdraw from a semester after the end of the drop period without academic penalty, but only for nonacademic reasons preventing completion of the courses. A student who withdraws from a semester after the drop period without the dean's approval receives Fs in all courses. Withdrawal forms are available at the Registrar's Office.

Upon withdrawal after the drop period, the following notation is made on the student's permanent record: "Withdrew voluntarily for nonacademic reasons."

Graduate students who are enrolled in one or more courses are considered in attendance until they formally withdraw by having an official withdrawal form approved by the dean of their college/school/institute.

Upon approval by the dean of their college/school/institute, graduate students may withdraw from all classes after the drop period without academic penalty, but only for nonacademic reasons that prevent completion of the courses. Graduate students who stop attending all classes after the drop period without the dean's approval to withdraw receive Fs in all courses.

Graduate students withdrawing before the final examinations in any semester or Summer Term forfeit credit for work done in that term.

The university may impose enforced withdrawal as a penalty for any fault that prevents the graduate student from fulfilling the purposes of enrollment.

Auditing a Course

Auditing a course requires the permission of the instructor of the course. Audit forms are available at the Registrar's Office. A previously audited course may be taken for credit at a later date. A student may also audit a course previously taken and passed. A student may not change from credit to audit status after the end of the drop period. The usual tuition and fees apply to audit status.

Enrolling in Consortium Courses

George Mason University is a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes American University, The Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University, Marymount University, Mount Vernon College, Trinity College, University of District of Columbia, and the University of Maryland College Park. Eligible Mason students may enroll in courses at any of the Consortium institutions.

To be eligible for enrollment, interested George Mason University students must be currently enrolled at George Mason University and must be admitted to a degree program. Nondegree students are not permitted to enroll in Consortium courses. Graduate students must be currently enrolled, in good academic standing, and in a degree-seeking status. Undergraduate students must be currently enrolled, in good academic standing, and have attained at least junior status.

George Mason University students may register for any course through the Consortium providing the courses are not available at George Mason University during the same semester and are not exempt from Consortium registration at the visited institution. Courses that are off-campus at George Washington and American universities are not open to Consortium registrants. Independent study projects, special institutes, or tutorials are also exempt from Consortium registration.

All course work attempted by a George Mason student must be authorized by the appropriate dean and chairman for the field of study in which the student is enrolled at George Mason. Course work is also subject to the requirements of the particular school in which the student is enrolled. The allowable number of credit hours to be taken through the Consortium during an academic career are limited by university policy.

Credits earned through the Consortium are considered resident credit. Grades for Consortium courses are sent to the George Mason Office of the Registrar, recorded, and calculated into the cumulative grade point average of the George Mason University student and become a permanent part of the student's official record.

Any academic courses that do not carry credit at the visited institution will not be counted for credit at George Mason University. Courses that do not carry credit at George Mason, but do receive credit at the host university, will not be given credit at George Mason University.

Registration for Air Force ROTC course work at the University of Maryland College Park is processed through the Office of the Consortium. Air Force ROTC courses will not be given hour credits at George Mason University.

Auditing courses through the Consortium is not permitted.

George Mason Consortium students pay the George Mason tuition rate to the George Mason Office of Student Accounts. Credits taken through the Consortium are counted toward full/part-time status at George Mason University for purposes of financial aid. Any additional fees are to be paid by the student to the visited institution.

Special inquiries and further information is available through the Office of the Registrar. Registration is processed through the Office of the Registrar by the Consortium coordinator. Schedules and catalogs of participating universities are located in the same office.

Special Registration for Non-Enrolled Students

Students not enrolled in a credit-bearing course but pursuing an activity related to their GMU matriculation who wish to retain active status may register for Special Registration (SREG 200, Section 001) for a $45 fee. This special registration allows students to retain their library privileges and student ID, and to purchase a student parking decal. Students must have active status in order to apply for or receive a degree, take an examination, or participate in cooperative education.

Repeating a Course

Courses passed with a grade of C or better by undergraduates may not be repeated (except for audit). When a course is repeated, the following conditions apply: (1) all hours attempted count toward probation, suspension, or dismissal; (2) the transcript shows both the original and repeat grades; (3) only one grade per course may be presented on the degree application.

A graduate student who has passed a course with a grade of B or better is not permitted to repeat the course for credit. A graduate student may repeat a course in which a grade of C or below has been earned. Permission for repeating the course must be obtained from the department offering the course. Each department establishes procedures for granting permission for repeating a course.

When a course is repeated, all hours attempted are used in determination of termination or dismissal, the transcript shows both the original and repeat grades, and only one grade per course may be presented on the degree application.

Permission to Register as a Graduate Student

Registration for courses in a graduate program is permitted only after the student has been notified of admission. Admitted students are given preference over Extended Studies students through the pre-registration process. Dual registration (e.g., as a graduate student and as an extended studies enrollee) is not permitted. The graduate student is responsible for being properly registered and aware of all regulations and procedures required by a program of study. Regulations and degree requirements are not waived nor are exceptions granted because of ignorance of university, college/school/institute, or departmental regulations.

Academic Advising for Graduate Students

At the time of admission to graduate study, the student is assigned a faculty adviser by the department 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 adviser. 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 adviser. The graduate student is responsible for compliance with the rules and procedures of their college/school/institute and all applicable departmental requirements that govern the individual program of study. Students should consult with their advisers before registration each semester.

Newly admitted graduate students must consult with their faculty adviser prior to registration.

Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates

A student may seek to take a 500-level graduate course either for reserve graduate credit or for undergraduate credit. A maximum of six hours may be earned for reserve graduate credit. Courses numbered 600 and above are closed to undergraduates.

Approval to register for reserve graduate credit (earned credit held in reserve to apply later toward a graduate degree) is normally given only to George Mason seniors within 15 hours of completion of undergraduate study. In addition, this privilege is normally extended only to seniors who have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours at the university, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, have successfully completed all prerequisite courses and have a major in the department offering the courses. Permission must be obtained in writing prior to registration. Forms are available at the Office of the Registrar. Students are responsible for obtaining all signatures required.

Approval for reserve graduate credit does not imply approval for admission into a graduate program at the university or that credit so earned will be accepted at another graduate school. Credit for the same course is not given toward both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

University policy permits undergraduates to enroll in graduate courses numbered 500 to 599 and apply the credit earned toward an undergraduate degree. For details of requirements and procedures see Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates in the Admission section.

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