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George Mason University
    George Mason University
2016-2017 University Catalog 
2016-2017 University Catalog

Volgenau School of Engineering

Graduate Admissions: 703-993-1512
Graduate Student Affairs: 703-993-1505
Undergraduate Student Services: 703-993-1511

College Code: VS



Computer Science  

Electrical and Computer Engineering  

Information Sciences and Technology  

Mechanical Engineering  

Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering  


Systems Engineering and Operations Research  

Multidisciplinary Programs (VS)  

The mission of the Volgenau School of Engineering (VSE) is to provide a transformative learning experience for our students that integrates engineering and technology with other areas of scholarship to produce visionary stewards of society who are prepared to discover solutions to complex global challenges and make the world safer, cleaner, and more prosperous.

Our faculty members are engaged educators who lead high-impact research in critical areas such as sustainability, big data, cyber security, robotics and artificial intelligence, and healthcare.  These existing and emerging areas of expertise span departmental and disciplinary boundaries and reflect the breadth of the scholarly activities of our faculty and students. 

The Volgenau School of Engineering prepares students to solve complex, multidisciplinary, global challenges by leveraging innovative learning tools, the inventive capacity of our region, and Mason’s global presence.  The faculty and administration support the needs of the 21st century learner by providing multiple paths to success, a diverse and inclusive academic community, and real time integration of new data and technology in the classroom.

We offer bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of applied computer science bioengineering , civil and infrastructure engineering , computer engineering , computer science , cyber security engineering , electrical engineering information technology mechanical engineering , and systems engineering .   Our undergraduate degree programs prepare students to enter directly into professional employment or continue studies at the graduate level.  The requirements for the bachelor’s degrees include required and elective courses in mathematics, humanities, Mason Core , and specialty courses applicable to the major.  Each program strongly emphasizes English composition and communication.  Minors are available in aviation flight training and management , computer science , data analysis , environmental engineering , information technology , mechanical engineering , software engineering , statistics , and systems engineering and operations research 

The ever-increasing complexity and technical challenges in engineering, computer science, and information technology demand studies beyond the bachelor’s degree.  Master’s degree programs are available in the following areas: applied information technology , bioengineering (pending SCHEV approval)  , biostatistics , civil and infrastructure engineering , computer engineering , computer forensics , computer science , electrical engineering , geotechnical construction and structural engineering , information security and assurance , information systems , operations research , software engineering , statistical science , systems engineering , telecommunications , and multidisciplinary programs in data analytics engineering  and in management of secure information systems .

PhD graduates will gain comprehensive knowledge in their area of study and are prepared for careers in higher education and scientific research.  They are required to demonstrate comprehensive understanding and complete research that adds significantly to the body of knowledge in engineering, computer science, information technology or statistics.  Doctoral degree programs are available in the following areas: bioengineering , civil and infrastructure engineering , computer science , electrical and computer engineering , systems engineering and operations research , statistical science , and a multidisciplinary program in information technology 


Kenneth S. Ball, P.E. (Texas), Dean
Stephen G. Nash, Senior Associate Dean
Sharon A. Caraballo, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs
Melinda N. Barnhart, Executive Director, Finance and Administration
Martha Bushong, Director, Communications
Jonathan Goldman, Director, Computing Resources
Linda S. Kovac, Chief Advancement Officer
Terri A. Mancini, Director, Sponsored Research Administration

Bachelor of Science Programs

The Volgenau School offers 10 Bachelor of Science programs. Policies regarding admission and degree requirements specific to these majors are provided in the department sections that follow.    


BS Degrees Department
Applied Computer Science   CS
Bioengineering   BENG
Civil and Infrastructure Engineering   CEIE
Computer Engineering   ECE
Computer Science   CS
Cyber Security Engineering   Multidisciplinary
Electrical Engineering   ECE
Information Technology   IST
Mechanical Engineering   ME
Systems Engineering   SEOR


Undergraduate Mission and Goals

The undergraduate mission is to provide a quality education to support the needs of Virginia and the nation. The goal is to graduate students who are technically competent, prepared for ethical professional practice and a lifetime of learning, communicate effectively and work as members or leaders of technical teams, and understand the global nature and effect of information technology and engineering.

Degree Requirements

The following general requirements must be completed by all undergraduate students:

  • At least 120 credits of academic work including at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above);
  • At least 6 credits of English composition, 3 credits of literature, and 3 credits of oral communication (Mason Core courses);
  • At least 3 credits of arts, 3 credits of Western civilization or world history, 3 credits of social and behavioral science, and 3 credits of global understanding issues (Mason Core courses);
  • At least 24 credits of social science and humanities course work, which is normally satisfied by the 24 credits of Mason Core  courses described above;
  • All requirements listed in the following sections for specific Volgenau School majors, including university requirements for mathematics, natural science, information technology including ethics, and synthesis.  Sample schedules that fulfill degree requirements for individual programs within the Volgenau School are available from the departments. With approval of departmental advisors, some courses may be taken out of the indicated sequences, particularly English, literature and social science courses.

Termination from the Major

No math, science, or Volgenau School of Engineering course that is required for the major may be attempted more than three times.  Those students who do not successfully complete such a course within three attempts will be terminated from the major.  Undeclared students in the Volgenau School who do not successfully complete a course required for a Volgenau School major within three attempts will also be terminated.  For more information, see the “Termination from the Major” section under AP.5 Undergraduate Policies .

Once a student has attempted one of these courses twice unsuccessfully, the third attempt must be no later than the next semester of enrollment, excluding summers. Failure to take the course at that time will result in termination from the major. If the student is unable to take the course when required, the student may request an extension to a future semester; extensions require approval of the student’s advisor, their department, and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs. The deadline for extension requests is the add deadline for the semester in which the course is required.

Students who have been terminated from a Volgenau School of Engineering major may not register for a Volgenau School course without permission of the department offering the course.  This applies to all undergraduate courses offered by the Volgenau School except IT 104  and STAT 250 .

A student may not declare any major in the Volgenau School of Engineering if the student has previously met the termination criteria for that major at any time, regardless of what the student’s major was at the time the courses were taken.

Sample Schedules

Sample schedules that fulfill degree requirements for individual programs within the Volgenau School are available from the departments.

Undeclared Students in the Volgenau School of Engineering

Students who are undecided about their specific major may select Volgenau School Undeclared as their major. This should be done as soon as possible after a student enrolls at Mason. Students will be advised to follow an initial semester or two of courses that could be applicable to majors that are of interest to them.  This may involve taking courses that help the student better understand different engineering and computing areas, but which may not contribute to the total credits needed for the major they eventually choose.

Students who apply to a VSE major but do not meet major admissions criteria may also be accepted into VSE Undeclared, and become eligible to declare a VSE major after meeting specific requirements as determined by that particular major.

VSE Undeclared students are advised by the Coordinator of Undergraduate Academic Advising in the Student Services Office. Students should seek advising at least once each semester. 

Academic Policies

Students should become familiar with the Academic Policies  in the University Catalog in addition to policies specific to each academic unit.  The Academic Policies section of the catalog also lists additional university requirements for minor programs and double majors.

Academic Appeal of Policies and Actions

A student’s instructor, academic advisor and/or department can resolve most academic issues.  If, however, an undergraduate student disagrees with a decision at the department level and feels that there may be reasonable grounds for appeal, the student should contact the Volgenau School Undergraduate Student Services Office at 703-993-1511 for guidance in preparing a request to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs or other offices as appropriate.

Academic Progression

Students majoring in Volgenau School programs are expected to have an acceptable plan of study on file, formulated with assistance from their departmental advisor. They are expected to make reasonable progress toward their degree during each semester in which they are enrolled. 

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 degree requirements. Degree requirements for Volgenau School undergraduate programs may not include credits earned in activity courses, including military science, individual sports, physical education or team sports, and recreational activities. Exceptions in these categories are courses that meet the Mason Core requirements for the major, including global understanding. Arts courses are permitted. Whenever there is uncertainty, students must consult with an academic advisor in their department. 

Generally, degree requirements for computer science and engineering majors may not be met by 100- to 400-level courses designated “IT” (and any associated cross-listed courses) in the Courses section of this catalog unless approved by the student’s major department.  For more information, students should contact their academic advisor.

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, refer to the major program descriptions in the following department sections.

Graduate Admission

Admission decisions are made by the faculty committee or graduate coordinator of the respective graduate program. Denial of admission is not subject to appeal. Applicants denied admission to a program are not permitted to enroll in courses in that graduate program, though they may apply for either non-degree enrollment or admission to another program.

If an applicant is offered graduate admission, the college reserves the right to withdraw that offer of admission if:

  • During his or her academic studies, the admitted applicant has a significant drop in academic performance or fails to graduate with a degree prior to the first day of classes for the term admitted.
  • There has been a misrepresentation in the application process.
  • Prior to the first day of classes for the term admitted, the school learns that the admitted applicant has engaged in behavior that indicates a serious lack of judgment or integrity, irrespective of the outcome of any disciplinary process related to such behavior.
  • For students admitted to an accelerated master’s program, the student does not maintain satisfactory progress in his or her undergraduate program, does not receive a minimum grade of 3.00 in the graduate classes taken as an undergraduate, or otherwise does not meet the conditions specified on the application and admission letter.

The university further reserves the right to require the applicant to provide additional information (and/or authorization for the release of information) about any such matter.

Graduate Non-degree

Non-degree graduate students taking courses in the Volgenau School may not register for classes numbered 700 or higher. All MS degree programs require at least 18 credits to be completed in degree status at Mason to be considered for graduation; as a result, a maximum of 12 credits of non-degree coursework can be transferred to a degree program.

BS/Accelerated MS Programs

Many of the BS degree programs offered within the Volgenau School may be packaged with some of the MS degree programs in ways that reduce the total number of credits required. Details can be found in the individual department sections of this catalog.

Master of Science Programs 

The Volgenau School offers a number of master of science programs. Policies regarding admission and degree requirements are provided in the sections of this catalog linked below. 


MS Degrees
Applied Information Technology   IST
Bioengineering (Pending SCHEV Approval)   BENG
Biostatistics   STAT
Civil and Infrastructure Engineering   CEIE
Computer Engineering   ECE
Computer Forensics   ECE
Computer Science   CS
Data Analytics Engineering   Multidisciplinary
Electrical Engineering   ECE
Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering, MEng   CEIE
Information Security and Assurance   CS
Information Systems   CS
Management of Secure Information Systems   Multidisciplinary
Operations Research   SEOR
Software Engineering   CS
Statistical Science   STAT
Systems Engineering   SEOR
Telecommunications   ECE


Doctor of Philosophy Programs

The Volgenau School offers seven doctoral programs.  Policies regarding admission and degree requirements are provided in the sections of this catalog linked below.


PhD Degrees Department
Bioengineering   BENG
Civil and Infrastructure Engineering   CEIE
Computer Science   CS
Electrical and Computer Engineering   ECE
Information Technology   Multidisciplinary
Statistical Science   STAT
Systems Engineering and Operations Research   SEOR

Volgenau School Graduate Policy for Readmission after Termination

Graduate students who have been terminated, dismissed, or have resigned from a program in the Volgenau School and want to reapply to the same program must wait three calendar years before submitting a new application for admission. A full application for admission as well as all application materials required of that program must be submitted (or resubmitted). GRE scores, if required, cannot be older than five years.  Previous admission to a program does not guarantee readmission to the same program. The circumstances of the prior termination will be a factor in the decision-making process.  Graduate credit earned prior to termination can be applied to the degree program as long as the requirements for Transfer of Credit (section AP.6.5.3) are met.

Online Education Programs

In order to increase access to Volgenau School education and to meet the needs of the School’s student population, a number of individual courses and select degree programs can be completed via online education. All academic policies and procedures apply to online education programs and courses; see the appropriate sections of this catalog. Some instructors may require students to come to campus or make alternate arrangements for exams and/or other meetings. Students should contact the instructor directly to resolve any questions. For online education courses that involve live online transmission of simultaneous classroom instruction, students enrolled in the online section may also be permitted to join the campus-based section in the classroom; Patriot Web will state if this option is available for a particular online education section. Please contact Mason Online for details.

Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP)

CGEP is a premier provider of high-quality post-baccalaureate engineering education for practicing engineers and scientists interested in maintaining and enhancing their skills.  Participating universities are:  George Mason University (Mason); Old Dominion University (ODU); University of Virginia (UVA); Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); and Virginia Tech (VT).  Offerings include master’s degrees and certificate programs. 

Each degree program is taught by one of the five participating universities, and prospective students should apply directly to the university offering the degree of interest. Mason’s MS in Telecommunications degree is available through CGEP. This program follows all policies stated in this catalog for the MS in Telecommunications, with the exception that, with faculty advisor approval, up to 50% of the required credits may be completed at other CGEP institutions.

Policies for other universities’ programs are determined by those institutions; please consult with the university offering the program of interest for details.  

For more information about CGEP, go to: