General Education Requirements (2009-2010)

All undergraduates have to complete university general education requirements.  Students earning a BA or BS degree from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or the College of Science must complete additional requirements.

The university offers two interdisciplinary programs for freshmen: Honors Program in General Education and Cornerstones. These programs meet in part the general education requirements listed here. See the websites below for more information.

Catalog Year

Catalogs from different years may contain different requirements. Students must graduate under the requirements that are published in one single catalog, known as "catalog year."  Students have to have the same the catalog year for all components of their degrees—the requirements for general education, for college requirements, and  for the requirments 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

The General Education Archive has requirements for earlier catalog years.

Requirements for Catalog Year 2009 - 2010

General Education Requirements (Catalog Year 2009 - 2010)

  • Written communication (6 credits): ENGL 100 or 101 and ENGL 302
  • Oral communication (3 credits): COMM 100 or 101
  • Quantitative reasoning (3 credits)
  • Information technology (3 credits)
  • Literature (3 credits)
  • Arts (3 credits)
  • Natural science (8 credits): (Though the university requires 7 credits of natural science, the college require 8 credits.)
  • Western civilization/world history (3 credits): HIST 100 or 125 (with other options for transfer students)
  • Social and behavioral science (3 credits)
  • Global understanding (3 credits)
  • Synthesis (3 credits)

Students must fulfill each of these university general education requirements with a separate course. No course may be used to fulfill more than one university requirement.

Under some circumstances, students may use a single course to fulfill a university general education requirement and a college requirement or a requirement for the major.  See your academic advisor for more information.

College Requirements for BS Students (Catalog Year 2009 - 2010)

Students receiving a BS degree have one change to the university general education requirements. They must fulfill the requirement in natural science with an approved two-semester laboratory science sequence in a single science. Students should consult the relevant science department if they have questions about the courses that form an approved laboratory science sequence.

College Requirements for BA Students (Catalog Year 2009 - 2010)

Students receiving a BA degree have the following additional requirements.

  • One course (3 credits) in philosophy or religious studies: Fulfilled by any course in PHIL or RELI
  • One course (3 credits) in social and behavioral science: 3 credits in addition to the university general education 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. The courses used to fulfill this requirement must be in addition to the course used to fulfill the university requirement in western civilization/world history. This requirement may be fulfilled by completing any course in ADJ, ANTH, ECON, GEOG (except 102 or 309), GOVT, HIST (except 100 or 125), LING, PSYC, or SOCI.
  • One course (3 credits) in non-Western culture. The same course cannot be used to fulfill this requirement and the university general education requirement in global understanding. Students who have attended high school in a non-Western country for four or more years may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. The webpage Waiver of the Non-Western Requirement has more information.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language through the intermediate level

Under some circumstances, students may use a single course to fulfill a more than one college-level requirement. It is also possible under some circumstances to use a single course to fulfill a university general education requirement and a college requirement or a requirement for the major. See an academic advisor for more information.

Transfer Students

Admitted and enrolled transfer students who have completed an AA, AS, or AA&S degree from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) with a curriculum grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 are considered to have met all of George Mason University's lower level general education requirements. They are still required by the university to complete English 302 and a synthesis course. Transfer students who meet the conditions above 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).

General Education Alternative Programs