Graduate Non-Degree Studies

Interested in taking a graduate-level class, but not yet ready to commit to a degree program? George Mason University’s graduate non-degree studies option for visiting students might be the perfect fit for you. As a visiting non-degree student, you have the opportunity to take comprehensive, graduate-level courses at the Schar School of Policy and Government, without formally pursuing a degree. 

Students can take classes on a non-degree basis in the following graduate certificate, master's, doctoral, and undergraduate programs at the Schar School. Be sure to refer to the location for your specific course of interest, as the Schar School offers courses on both its Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia, campuses:

To browse course syllabi and select the course that best meets your interests, visit the course syllabus webpage.


To be eligible for non-degree graduate course work, candidates must have successfully completed an undergraduate degree. Test scores are not required for consideration; however, non-degree students who later choose to change their status and apply for formal degree consideration will need to check whether their program has test score or other requirements.

International students are eligible; however, students holding F-1 or J-1 visas are not eligible to enroll in non-degree coursework.

If you are currently a Schar School non-degree student and wish to enter a formal degree program, you will need to reapply for admission to the degree program of your choosing using the Application for Graduate Study. If admitted into a degree program, a maximum of four classes taken as a non-degree student may be applied towards your master’s degree program.

Learn more about non-degree studies application requirements and how to apply.


Are you starting with non-degree courses but are interested in pursuing a degree in the future? One benefit of the non-degree option is that some courses can count towards a future degree. Up to four courses taken while in enrolled in graduate non-degree studies can be applied toward one of the Schar School’s master’s degree programs. Two courses can be applied toward a graduate certificate.


Interested in learning more about taking a class as a non-degree student (and, potentially earning your degree in the future)? Contact the Schar School's Office of Graduate Admissions team at We look forward to speaking with you!