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

Honors College

Phone: 703-993-1110


Honors students have the opportunity to study with some of Mason’s most accomplished teachers and scholars from disciplines across the university, including Mason’s Robinson Professors.


Zofia Burr, Dean

Kathleen Alligood, Associate Dean


The Honors College offers all courses designated HNRS and HNRT in the Courses  section of this catalog and select honors courses or sections within the majors.

The Honors College

The Honors College focuses attention on the excellence of Mason’s student body and highlights the full spectrum of opportunities for academic achievement, professional development, and public service that Mason offers our most highly-motivated undergraduates. The Honors College provides talented students in all majors an enriched academic and social environment that enhances their college experience. Participation in challenging and innovative programs encourages student leadership and active engagement in local, national, and global communities.

Through the resources of the Honors College, the university provides students the support to excel academically and to pursue life-long goals. Included in these resources is the Honors College curriculum, which offers challenging courses that fulfill core academic requirements at Mason. Senior faculty, including Mason’s Robinson Professors, teach small classes of students taking the curriculum. A select group of entering students is invited to become part of the University Scholars, a community of learners and leaders who receive Mason’s most competitive merit-based scholarships. All Honors College students have direct access to the Postgraduate Scholarships and Fellowships Office, which provides advice and information to high-achieving Mason undergraduates and recent alumni about the application process for nationally competitive fellowships.

The benefits of being part of the Honors College include participating in a diverse living-learning community. Community programs include special lectures, events, and excursions on and off campus, as well as opportunities to take advantage of internships and cultural programs in Washington, D.C.

All students in the Honors College receive individualized academic advising, priority registration, and opportunities for close interaction with faculty for one-on-one mentoring and graduate and professional advising.


Admission to the Honors College is based on a holistic review of each student’s academic performance as well as any other information included in the general application, such as rigor of coursework, standardized test scores, class rank, essay response, teacher recommendations, outstanding leadership, and commitment to community service. Space is limited in each class, and admissions criteria may vary according to the applicant pool in any given year.

Admission to the Honors College requires an application and is open to both freshmen and transfer students.

Honors Curriculum

The honors curriculum is designed to satisfy Mason Core  requirements through a small number of courses, allowing students increased opportunities to pursue minors or other individual interests. Students may also take honors sections of selected major courses as well as upper division courses offered by the Honors College.

Students who earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 in HNRS and HNRT courses and supporting courses required for their approved honors program will receive a designation of Honors College Requirements Completed on their transcripts. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 may complete the program to satisfy Mason Core requirements but will not receive honors recognition on their transcripts.

Honors College students are required to develop a formal Plan of Study with their Honors College advisor during their first year in the Honors College. Students who do not complete a Plan of Study in their first year may be removed from the College and the benefits that it offers until an official Plan of Study is completed and approved by the student’s Honors College advisor.

Requirement One (6-7 credits)

One of the following research methods courses:

HNRS 108 - Introduction to Research Methods I Credits: 3  and HNRS 109 - Introduction to Research Methods II Credits: 3  


HNRS 110 - Research Methods Credits: 4  






Requirement Two (9 credits)

Three honors core courses chosen from:

HNRS 122 - Reading the Arts Credits: 3  (Art History/Arts)

HNRS 131 - Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives Credits: 3  (Social Science with a Global Perspective)

HNRS 240 - Reading the Past Credits: 3  (Western or World History) 

HNRS 130 - Conceptions of Self Credits: 3  (Philosophy/Religion)

HNRS 230 - Cross-Cultural Perspectives Credits: 3  (Social Science with a Non-Western Perspective)

Students are required to take either HNRS 230 or HNRS 131. Substitutions for both courses will only be allowed if a student transfers in credit for all the following Mason Core  requirements:
• Non-Western Culture
• Global Understanding
• Social Science and Behavioral Science

Honors students must satisfy all Mason Core requirements. These requirements may be satisfied by HNRS 122, 240, and 131 or 230, or by taking an approved Mason Core  course. HNRS 130 and HNRS 230 meet additional college requirements for the B.A. in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences  and the College of Science .

Note: Students who complete Requirements One and Two also fulfill Mason Core  requirements for information technology, oral communication and literature.

Requirement Three (6-10 credits)

Choose any two courses from the following list of approved departmental honors courses. Students may substitute only one course taken before attending Mason for Requirement Three.

ACCT 204 - Honors Survey of Accounting Credits: 3  

BIOL 213 - Cell Structure and Function Credits: 4  (Honors section only)

BIOL 214 - Biostatistics for Biology Majors Credits: 4  (Honors section only)

BIOL 308 - Foundations of Ecology and Evolution Credits: 5  (Honors section only)

BIOL 310 - Biodiversity Credits: 3  (Honors section only)

BIOL 311 - General Genetics Credits: 4  (Honors section only)

BIOL 314 - Introduction to Research Design and Analysis Credits: 4  

BIOL 493 - Honors Research in Biology Credits: 1-2  

CHEM 211 - General Chemistry I Credits: 3  (Honors section only)

CHEM 212 - General Chemistry II Credits: 3  (Honors Section only)

CS 211 - Object-Oriented Programming Credits: 3  (Honors Section only)

CS 390 - Research and Project Design Principles in Computing Credits: 3  

ECON 103 - Contemporary Microeconomic Principles Credits: 3  (Honors section only)

ENGR 107 - Introduction to Engineering Credits: 2  (Honors section only)

HHS 492 - RS: Internship in Clinical Research Credits: 3  

HNRS 130 - Conceptions of Self Credits: 3  (Philosophy/Religion), if not taken to satisfy Requirement Two

HNRS 230 - Cross-Cultural Perspectives Credits: 3  (Social Science with a Non-Western Perspective), if not taken to satisfy Requirement Two

HNRS 312 - RS: Research in the Public Sphere Credits: 0-3  

HNRS 330 - Research, Technology, and Online Community Credits: 0-3  

HNRS 410 - Thesis Proposal Credits: 0-3  

HNRS 411 - RS: Honors College Thesis Credits: 0-3  

HNRS 430 - Multidisciplinary Challenges in Professional Environments Credits: 0-3  

MATH 116 - Analytic Geometry and Calculus II (Honors) Credits: 4  

MATH 215 - Analytic Geometry and Calculus III (Honors) Credits: 3  

MATH 216 - Theory of Differential Equations Credits: 3  

OM 211 - Honors Statistical Analysis for Management Credits: 4  

PHYS 160 - University Physics I Credits: 3  (Honors section only)

PHYS 260 - University Physics II Credits: 3  (Honors section only)

UNIV 495 - RS: Undergraduate Research Scholars Program Seminar Credits: 0-3  


Additional Requirements:

  • Mathematics:  Each honors student must take one approved math course, depending on major. Approved math courses are  ,   and  ,   or  , or  . School of Business  and Information Sciences and Technology  majors may take any of these courses, except  . Additional math courses are required for some majors.
  • Science:  The Honors College science requirement mirrors the science requirement of a student’s college and major.
  • Foreign Language:  Students pursuing BA degrees may have a foreign language requirement.
  • Beyond the Honors College requirements, students must satisfy all requirements of their college and major.

Continuation in Honors

A student whose GPA falls below 2.00 (1.80 in the first or second semester) will be placed on academic warning and may be ineligible to continue in the Honors College.

Honors students are expected to maintain high standards of academic integrity and personal conduct. Students may be asked to withdraw from the program for a violation of the University Honor Code or any other conduct that reflects adversely on the Honors College.

Students who leave the Honors College before completion of the curriculum must meet Mason Core requirements and college-level requirements for their particular degree programs. On leaving the college and before registering for Mason Core  courses, students should be advised in their major program on equivalencies between the honors courses they have completed and Mason Core  requirements.

Transfer of Honors Credits

Within George Mason: Because of the sequential and integrated nature of the program, honors courses may not correspond exactly to other courses used to fulfill Mason Core  requirements. A list of equivalencies is available in the Honors College office and on the Honors College website.

Outside George Mason: Course work in the Honors College curriculum may meet the general education requirements of other universities. As in all transfer situations, general education requirements of one institution may not precisely match those of another.