Undergraduate Academic Policies and Forms

Our office is here to help you navigate a variety of needs, including requests submitted by students for exceptions to school and university policies. All communication about such requests will be provided to students’ Mason email addresses as quickly as possible. During certain busy times of the semester, decisions may take longer.

Academic Policies

Course Elsewhere

Requesting to Take a Course Elsewhere

Review all policies below pertaining to course elsewhere requests.

Fill out the [form], including the course equivalency and reason for request.

Obtain signature from your academic advisor.

Submit request to your major dean. 

Wait to obtain approval from all required deans before signing up for the course.

Course Elsewhere Policies

The course requested should be required for timely degree progression.

The course requested (or another course which meets the same requirement) cannot be offered at Mason either online or in-person for the semester requested. 

Students with 45 or more hours of transfer coursework are generally not permitted to take additional coursework at another institution. 

Students requesting permission to study elsewhere must have a previous semester GPA of 2.00 or above. 

All approvals are contingent on maintaining a semester and cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above.  

Courses elsewhere that have been pre-approved by our office must be taken for a grade and be passed with a GPA of 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale) or higher in order to be transferred to George Mason. Although credit for the course will be transferred, the grade for the course will not.

Students seeking permission to study elsewhere outside of the requirements outlined above, should include supporting documentation with their request. 

See [AP.1.4.2 Permission to Study Elsewhere] for additional information.

Students must make arrangements with the visited institution to have an official transcript mailed directly to the George Mason University Registrar's Office, Records Section, MSN 3D1, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 immediately after the course work is completed. Credit will not be transferred until an official transcript is received. Non-receipt of official transcripts within six weeks of conferral date will delay a student's pending graduation.

Students should keep in mind that courses requested outside of his or her college or school will need additional approval from the college or school that offers the equivalent course at Mason. Each school or college may have different policies regarding course elsewhere requests, so major dean permission does not guarantee approval for a student to take a particular course equivalent to one offered by a different college or school.

Foreign Language Exemption

The foreign language exemption is only allowed for students who have a verifiable disability that specifically affects learning foreign languages. All requests should be initiated through Disability Services (703-993-2474 or ods.@gmu.edu).

The university complies fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Due to the complexity of fully evaluating documentation and the amount of time needed to fulfill the foreign language requirement, students should submit their requests and documentation several semesters before they plan to graduate. Students who wait until their final semester(s) to begin this process should keep in mind the review of their degree audits may be delayed while awaiting an evaluation. Additionally, academic advisors may not be able to make firm course recommendations for a student's final semester(s) during this process.

Students who wish to request an exemption from the foreign language requirement due to a disability must first contact Disability Services (703-993-2474 or ods@gmu.edu) for guidance. Disability Services will review with the student the types of documentation required to submit an exemption request. Disability Services reviews these requests for all majors.

This is an exemption of the foreign language requirement; which means that students are not exempt from the credits needed, but rather from the specific language courses. Students should be aware they will be required to complete up to 9 credits of alternative courses in place of the foreign language requirement. The alternative course plan and list of options will be provided by ODS upon approval. Additionally, at a minimum, students must still complete the requisite number of degree credits required by the student’s major.

Requesting a Foreign Language Exemption

  1. Review the above information pertaining to foreign language exemption requests.
  2. Contact Disability Services to learn about the registration process and specific documentation needed to review the request.
  3. Complete the Disability Services registration process, foreign language exemption request form, and submit all required documentation to Disability Services.
  4. Disability Services will review the request, determine the appropriate next steps, and submit the request to Schar School Undergraduate Academic Affairs office for review.
  5. Once received, the Schar School will review the request and notify the student of the outcome.

Foreign Language Exemption Resources

Returning from Suspension

According to the University Catalog, the university's minimum standard for satisfactory academic achievement is 2.00 on a 4.00 scale. Students with at least 7 attempted credits and a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 fall into one of three categories: warning, probation, and suspension. 

You may refer to the university catalog Academic Policy AP.5.2.3 Student Retention Categories here.

Students in degree status who incur a first suspension following a spring semester or summer term serve a period of suspension through the next fall semester. Students who incur a first suspension following a fall semester serve a period of suspension through the next summer term. A second suspension is for one calendar year: two semesters and a summer term. Students returning from suspension are on probation for one academic period. Course credits earned at other colleges during the period of suspension from Mason (for academic or nonacademic reasons) are not accepted for the degree program. 

When returning from a period of suspension, you must meet with a member of the advising team so that we can help you with returning to your studies and remove the hold on your account. Send an email to gvip@gmu.edu (for Government and International Politics majors) or puad@gmu.edu (for Public Administration majors) to request a virtual advising appointment and get started on your pathway back at Mason! You’ll work with your advisor to plan for the best approach for success for the coming semester, likely targeting courses to repeat and planning for no more than 13 credits.

Here are some tips for your advising meeting:

If the schedule is viewable for the coming semester on Patriotweb, take a look and have some courses picked out ahead of time.

Be prepared to discuss what you can do differently this time and outline any time commitments like a job or other work activity.

Consider taking an academic skills workshop or two to demonstrate your commitment to improved study skills.

Your case will be referred to the Schar School Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Students will receive information about next steps at that time.

Bring your Academic Advisor Approval form to your virtual advising meeting. This form must be submitted to the Schar School Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs before you may register for classes after returning from suspension.

Requesting a Withdrawal

Consider these factors first:

After the last day to drop a class, withdrawing from any class requires the approval of the dean and is only allowed for nonacademic reasons.

For a non-academic reason (examples: a family or medical emergency), to submit a withdrawal request for consideration, please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the student request form found here.
  2. Provide a written, detailed explanation of why your withdrawal request has been made after the published deadlines and with extenuating circumstances
  3. Attach formal documentation supporting your reason

Please note that non-academic withdrawals are typically allowed only for full semesters at a time, i.e., students must withdraw from all courses. However, exceptional circumstances may be considered. For example, requests due to special medical conditions or other situations must be supported with documentation. The documentation must show why the condition or situation has affected single course(s) specifically instead of a full semester withdrawal.

Scan and email your attachments to Dr. Ludwick by email: aludwick@gmu.edu

Study Abroad Course Approvals

Study abroad course approval process:

Congratulations on your choice to study abroad! Mason offers numerous programs for international study, research, internships, service, and leadership. Mason’s Global Education Office is your main resource . The Schar School of Policy and Government also offers short term, 3-credit programs: Schar Study Abroad.

Students may seek pre-approval of study abroad courses using the GEO Course Evaluation and Registration System which routes to the Schar School Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs for review.

For the GEO Oxford Semester Experience, please submit your tutorial course descriptions and your Oxford Petition form by email to the Schar School Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs for review: aludwick@gmu.edu

Suspension Override Request Procedure

Suspension Override Request

All requests for an override of suspension must be submitted by the student to our office at least 2 weeks prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which the student seeks a return.

Suspension Override Policies

No student on suspension is guaranteed an override, and decisions are made on a case by case basis. If an override is approved, it is on a part-time basis only (no more than 7 hours of coursework). Students are not allowed more than one override. A third suspension results in dismissal, which is considered permanent. Students with outstanding incompletes (INs) are not permitted early returns and should make their top priority the successful completion of those INs by the university deadline.

Factors Affecting Suspension Overrides

Factors considered by the dean when reviewing requests for an override may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Documented reasons for student’s unsatisfactory performance (illness, unforeseen personal circumstances, etc.) and evidence of positive changes.
  • The student’s cumulative GPA and number of credit hours successfully completed by the student in past semesters.
  • The possibility of additional suspension or dismissal if the student is allowed an override.
  • Willingness to consult with Learning Services and complete the Certificate of Academic Skills Program.
  • Willingness to speak with other offices that could help student improve academically (possibly including the Office of Disability Services, the Counseling Center, or the Writing Center).
  • Willingness to repeat appropriate courses to improve cumulative GPA.
  • A well-defined plan of action in which the student states academic and career goals and lists courses necessary to help achieve these goals.
  • Timing of the request – the sooner, the better to allow a full, fair evaluation.

Students who are within 12 hours of meeting all degree requirements and who could reasonably bring their cumulative GPA up to the required 2.00 may request a special exception to the above conditions, which will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Requesting a Suspension Override

  1. Review all policies pertaining to suspension overrides.
  2. Complete the Schar School undergraduate student academic request form found here.
  3. Check the “other” box and indicate suspension appeal.
  4. Attach a written narrative explaining your circumstances and outlining your plan for returning to your studies earlier than the required suspension time frame. Refer to the “factors affecting suspension overrides” above.
  5. Submit the form to Assistant Dean Ann Ludwick. Scan/email, fax, or in-person submission are acceptable.
  6. Monitor your Mason email account to receive a decision.

Undergraduate Credit Overload Request

In order to be considered for an overload, students must fulfill all of the following criteria:

  • Be in good academic standing
  • Have completed the prior semester with a GPA of 2.33 or higher
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.33 or higher
  • Have demonstrated in prior semesters at Mason the ability to handle an increased and demanding course load while maintaining high performance
  • Have no remaining incompletes (INs) from a previous semester

Freshmen and transfer students in their first semesters are not given permission for overloads as they have yet to establish an academic record at George Mason University. However, special consideration may be given for study abroad programs during the winter intersession or Spring break week.

If approved for an overload, the student is responsible for adding the additional class(es) and paying for the related tuition by the official university deadlines.


Print the Credit Overload Process Form found here

Provide an explanation of Employment and other commitments for the semester of the overload, and attach a detailed explanation of your reason for requesting an overload to the form.

Submit the form and attachments to your advisor.

Undergraduate Grade Appeal Process

Although in most cases, the individual faculty member is the best judge of student performance, there may be instances in which a student believes a grade or other evaluation has been assigned unfairly. In such cases, the student may ask the professor or faculty member(s) concerned to reconsider the grade; this should be done in a formal meeting with the faculty member and student. If the student is not satisfied after this meeting, a request for review may be made to the Dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government for Schar courses only. This request must be in writing and must be submitted prior to the last day of classes of the next regular session, excluding summer. For courses in other disciplines, please refer to the appropriate Mason academic unit.

  1. Complete the student academic request form found here.
  2. Attach a formal, typed grade appeal request letter. Include a written narrative detailing the circumstances of the appeal, as well as any documentation such as attempt(s) at communication with instructor, course syllabus, student transcript showing the current grade, course papers, any other relevant documentation.
  3. Submit the packet to the attention of Dr. Ann Ludwick, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Packet accepted by scan/email to aludwick@gmu.edu.

The Dean will review the appeal and make one of three decisions:

  1. The appeal has no merit and the instructor-assigned grade will stand; or
  2. The Dean agrees with the appeal and instructs that the grade be changed; or
  3. The Dean constitutes a committee to advise him in rendering his decision. This committee will review the appeal and may collect such evidence as it deems necessary. This may or may not include interviews with the student and/or instructor. The committee may recommend that the grade not be changed, be raised or be lowered.

If the Dean asks a committee to review the appeal, the committee makes a recommendation to the Dean. The Dean may choose to accept or reject the committee's recommendation. The decision of the Dean is not subject to further appeal.

General Forms

Undergraduate Student Academic Request

Declaring a Major in the Schar School of Policy and Government

Current George Mason Students

If you you want to declare a major in the Schar School of Policy and Government, then take the Change of Major Form to Robinson A201. Ask an advisor to sign the form and then take it to the Registrar in SUB 1. All undergraduate students will be assigned to the Undergraduate Director and the Academic Coordinator for general inquiries, academic progress checks, graduation clearances and the like.

The Undergraduate Director and Academic Coordinator may refer students on to Field Directors for concentration questions, graduate school advising and career advising. Students interested in a minor will be referred to the appropriate minor advisor. Students interested in pre-law will be referred on to one of our pre-law advisors.

Many questions can be answered through a What-If-Analysis Degree Evaluation for your prospective major. Please follow these steps:

  • Log on to PatriotWeb
  • Enter the Student Records menu.
  • Click on Degree Evaluation.
  • Select the current term and Submit.
  • Scroll down and click on What-if Analysis.
  • Enter the semester you first attended George Mason for Term, click Continue.
  • Select Government & International Politics OR Public Administration from pull down and click Continue.
  • Scroll down to First Major, Select Government & International Politics OR Public Administration from pull down and Submit.
  • If information is correct, then click on Generate New Evaluation.
  • Click on Generate Request.
  • Click bubble next to Detail Requirements and Submit.

Students Not Currently Enrolled at George Mason

Please indicate your choice of major to the Admissions Office when you apply to George Mason. After you have accepted admission, you should attend an orientation for incoming students in your major. Contact the Admissions Office for dates of orientation events for Government & International Politics or Public Administration majors. Several advisors from our department will be present on these dates, explaining major requirements and helping with your class choices. Our advisors are also happy to speak with prospective students during walk-in advising hours.

Advising Checklists

Here you can find checklists to help you determine the requirements you have left to complete before you can graduate. Below you can also find some common academic questions about Mason Core and major requirements.

  • Can a C- or D apply to general education requirements?

ENGH 101 and ENGH 302 require a grade of C or higher. All other general education requirements can be passed with a D or higher. Keep in mind, though, that your cumulative GPA at graduation needs to be 2.0 or higher.

  • What if I got a C- or D in a class, which I wanted to use for the major?

All classes applied to the major must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

  • Which ENGH 302 should I take as a Schar major?

While any ENGH 302 sections complete this general education requirement, we strongly recommend that you take a Social Science section, because they are designed to help you become better writers in your major.

  • When should I take ENGH 302?

Take it after you have completed ENGH 101 (or 100), one Literature course, and 45 credits. It is useful to take it before you take the majority of your upper level GOVT courses, because ENGH 302 will help you write papers in your major.

  • How do I file for graduation?

Please view the the Registrar’s Office website for detailed instructions, deadlines, and the online graduation application.


BA in GVIP Degree Progress Worksheet 2016 to present
BS in Public Administration Degree Progress Worksheet Fall 2016-present
BA in International Security and Law Degree Progress Worksheet 2023-24

Four Year Plans

Government and International Politics, BA
Public Administration, BS
International Security and Law, BA

Independent Study Resources

Independent Study: GOVT 496

GOVT 496 is an opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a specific topic as an independent study class. You research this topic in-depth and write a research paper. You can apply up to 6 credits of GOVT 496 to the major. Permission and senior status (90 credits) are required. A GOVT 496 can be 1, 2 or 3 credits.

To register for GOVT 496, approach a Schar School faculty member, whose research is in the area you want to work on. Ask this professor whether she or he would be interested in working with you on the specific topic you have in mind. It helps if you have already taken a class with this faculty member, so they know who you are.

Use the GOVT 496 Contract Form to scope out your project with the faculty member and obtain their approval.

Email the completed contract form to gvip@gmu.edu for next steps.

Do your own Degree Evaluation!

As a degree-seeking student at Mason, you are responsible for knowing the requirements for your degree program and making sure that you are taking the courses your program requires for graduation. Please consult the catalog for any questions about requirements.

All your student information is on PatriotWeb and can be accessed using your username and password.

A degree evaluation is available in the Student Records section of Patriotweb. It will show you what degree requirements you have met and what requirements you still need to complete.

Always consult the detailed requirements view of your degree evaluation.

Remember that this evaluation is real time. You should print your degree evaluation once a semester and put it in a safe place. You may need verification of your degree requirements if a discrepancy occurs at a later date.

If you entered Mason Fall 2001 or later, then follow all these steps: 
(double-majors should scroll down)

  • Log on to PatriotWeb.
  • Click on Student Services and Financial Aid.
  • Click on Student Records.
  • Click on Degree Evaluation.
  • Select the current term in the pull-down field and click Submit.
  • Scroll down & click on Generate New Evaluation.
  • If information is correct, then click the bubble next to Program.
  • Click on Generate Request.
  • Click on the bubble next to Detail Requirements and click Submit.

There is no degree evaluation for majors who entered Mason prior to Fall 2001. Please work with your transcript and the pre-2001 worksheet. You can download the pre-2001 on the page for your major.

If you are a double major, then you need to run a What-if Analysis to access the degree evaluation:

  • Log on to PatriotWeb.
  • Click on Student Services and Financial Aid.
  • Click on Student Records.
  • Click on Degree Evaluation.
  • Select the current term in the pull-down field and click Submit.
  • Scroll down and click on What-if Analysis.
  • Select the semester you entered George Mason/ your catalog term from the pull down menu. Then click Continue.
  • Select your major from the pull down and click Continue.
  • Scroll down to First Major. Select your major from the pull down and click Submit.
  • If information is correct, then click on Generate Request.
    • Click on the bubble next to Detail Requirements and click Submit.