Mason Core and College Requirements
Welcome! Mason Core classes are all about setting you up for academic success. With them, you will build a base of skills and knowledge -- a base that will support you as you complete the requirements for your own course of study, and serve you for years after you leave your formal education behind.
Earning a BA degree from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences? The Mason Core and college's requirements for BA students, described below, will furnish you with tools to navigate the complexities of our global society.
The BS degree provides students with a more intensive approach to the core technical questions of their majors. This curriculum has a reduced number of courses in humanities and social sciences in comparison with the BA degree to allow students to achieve greater depth in their majors. Students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences pursuing a BS must complete the Mason Core requirements.
Catalogs from different years may contain different requirements. Students must graduate under the requirements published in one single catalog. Students have to have the same catalog year for all components of their degrees—the requirements for Mason Core, for college requirements, and for the requirements of their major and concentration, if any.
Students should be aware of their catalog year when planning their course of study. For questions about which catalog year applies, see an advisor.
Requirements for Previous Catalog Years
See the University Catalog's Archives page for Mason Core Requirements for earlier catalog years.
Requirements for Catalog Year 2023-2024
Under some circumstances, students may use a single course to fulfill a Mason Core requirement and a college requirement or a requirement for the major. See your academic advisor for more information.
College Requirements for BA Students
The BA degree provides students with a breadth of knowledge as well as the necessary skills to make in-depth study of a major truly meaningful. In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Under some circumstances, students may use a single course to fulfill more than one college-level requirement. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college-level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major). See an academic advisor for more information.
- Philosophy or religious studies: 3 credits fulfilled by any course in philosophy or religious studies (PHIL, RELI) except for, PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory, PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory, PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory, PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career, PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. PHIL 253 Philosophy and Literature (Mason Core), RELI 235 Religion and Literature (Mason Core), RELI 333 Spiritual Autobiography, and RELI 339 The Bible as Literature cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.
- Social and behavioral science: 3 credits in addition to the university-wide requirement in social and behavioral science for a total of 6 credits. The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and university requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. This requirement may be fulfilled by completing any course in ANTH, CRIM, ECON, GLOA, GOVT, HIST (except HIST 100 History of Western Civilization (Mason Core) or HIST 125 Introduction to World History (Mason Core)), INTS, LING, PSYC, or SOCI, or WMST and these courses in GGS:
Course List GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3 GGS 103 Human Geography (Mason Core) 3 GGS 110 Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies 3 GGS 301 Political Geography (Mason Core) 3 GGS 303 Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core) 3 GGS 304 Population Geography (Mason Core) 3 GGS 305 Economic Geography 3 GGS 306 Urban Geography 3 GGS 315 Geography of the United States 3 GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3 GGS 320 Geography of Europe 3 GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3 GGS 357 Urban Planning 3 GGS 380 Geography of Virginia 3
- Foreign language: intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language. This requirement may be fulfilled by completing a course in a foreign language numbered 202 (or higher level courses taught in the language) or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test. A three course sequence (12 credits) in American Sign Language (EDSE 115 American Sign Language (ASL) I, EDSE 116 American Sign Language (ASL) II, and EDSE 219 American Sign Language (ASL) III) will also meet the foreign language requirement. Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding). A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
Course List ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 300 Civilizations 3 ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 314 Zombies 3 ANTH 317 East Asian Cultures 3 ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3 ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3 ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3 ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3 ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3 ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3 ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3 ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 386 The Silk Road (Mason Core) 3 ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art 3 CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3 CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3 CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3 CHIN 470 Special Topics in Chinese Studies 3 DANC 118 Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core) 3 ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3 ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3 FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3 GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3 GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3 GGS 317 Geography of China (Mason Core) 3 GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3 GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3 GOVT 328 Global Political Theory 3 GOVT 332 Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3 GOVT 333 Government and Politics of Asia 3 GOVT 338 Government and Politics of Russia 3 GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3 GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3 GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3 GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3 HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3 HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3 HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3 HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3 HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3 HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3 HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3 HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3 HIST 326 Stalinism 3 HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3 HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3 HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3 HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3 HIST 354 Modern China (Mason Core) 3 HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3 HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3 HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3 HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3 HIST 364 Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core) 3 HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3 HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3 HIST 367 History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America 3 HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6 HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3 HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3 HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3 JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3 JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3 JAPA 380 Japan in Motion 3 KORE 300 Korean Culture and Society 3 KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3 KORE 385 Introduction to Korean Linguistics 3 MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3 RELI 211 Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core) 3 RELI 212 Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3 RELI 272 Islam 3 RELI 312 Islam 3 RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3 RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3 RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3 RELI 317 Daoism 3 RELI 318 Korean Philosophy and Religions 3 RELI 338 Qur'an and Hadith 3 RELI 342 Comparative Study of Mysticism 3 RELI 344 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3 RELI 358 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3 RELI 367 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3 RELI 368 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights 3 RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3 RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3 RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3
George Mason University has Guaranteed Admission Agreements with certain Virginia community colleges. Transfer students who are offered GAA admission and meet all of the terms of the GAA agreement with their Virginia community college may be eligible for a waiver of George Mason University's lower level Mason Core requirements. GAA students who receive the waiver are still required by the university to complete English 302 and a synthesis course. GAA students who receive the waiver and are pursuing a degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences are considered to have met all college requirements except for proficiency in a foreign language (required of BA students).