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 general education requirements. 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 Office of Fellowships, 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.

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.

Admissions

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 incoming first-year and transfer students.

Policies

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. Students are required to take and pass with a grade of "C" or higher either HNRS 110 Principles of Research and Inquiry or HNRS 302 Principles of Research and Inquiry for Transfer Students  in their first semester in the Honors College to maintain their Honors College status.

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 on equivalencies between the honors courses they have completed and Mason Core requirements.

Transfer of Honors Credits

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

Honors Curriculum

Starting in their first semesters on campus, Honors College students are challenged to identify, articulate, and evaluate multiple perspectives on questions of cultural, scientific, or global significance and to consider evidence that broadens their understanding and challenges their beliefs.

The Honors College inquiry-driven curriculum provides exceptionally motivated students with an alternative to the Mason Core. The Honors College curriculum allows students increased opportunities to pursue minors and other individual interests such as extended research. Students may also take honors sections of selected major courses as well as upper division courses offered by the Honors College. Beyond the Honors College requirements, students must satisfy all requirements of their college and major and Mason undergraduate program requirements for admissions, residency, credit hours, quality, and upper level credits.

Students who complete their Honors College curriculum with a GPA of 3.00 or higher and with no more than one C- or D in HNRS courses will receive a designation of Honors College Requirements Completed on their transcripts. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 or who have a C- or D in multiple HNRS courses may complete the honors curriculum to satisfy Mason Core requirements but will not receive honors recognition on their transcripts.

Students must take a minimum of 12 credits of HNRS courses from the Honors College at Mason. Students must also complete the Foundations; Inquiry in the Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences; Civic Engagement; Multi-Disciplinary Challenges requirements.

Foundations

Introduction to Inquiry and Research: Honors students are introduced to methods for formulating, articulating, pursuing, and communicating research questions and the subsequent findings. Students must take one of the following during their first semester as an Honors College student:

HNRS 110Principles of Research and Inquiry4
or
HNRS 302Principles of Research and Inquiry for Transfer Students 3

Inquiry in the Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

Students will pursue answers to focused questions in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Specific topics will vary by semester and section.  (12 credits)

Reading the Arts (Topic Varies)
Identity, Community, and Difference (Topics Vary)
Contemporary Social Issues (Topic Varies)
Reading the Past (Topic Varies)

Civic Engagement

Students will explore their roles and responsibilities in society and/or identify and address issues of public or community concern. Specific topics will vary by semester and section (3 credits).

HNRS 260Society and Community Engagement Topics (Topics Vary)3
or
HNRS 261Community Connection Practicum (Topics Vary)3

Multi-Disciplinary Challenges

Students will address complex challenges through scholarly research (HNRS 360) or experiential learning (HNRS 361). Specific topics will vary by semester and section. (3 credits)

HNRS 360Multi-Disciplinary Topics (Topic Varies)3
or
HNRS 361Multi-Disciplinary Practicum (Topic Varies)3

Honors College Electives

Students are encouraged to explore fields in more depth through approved departmental honors courses.

Independent Senior Research in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
Biostatistics for Biology Majors (Honors section only)
Foundations of Ecology and Evolution (Honors section only)
Biodiversity (Honors section only)
General Genetics (Honors section only)
Introduction to Research Design and Analysis
Honors Research in Biology
Business and Society (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
Global Environment of Business (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
General Chemistry I (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
General Chemistry II (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
Undergraduate Research
Object-Oriented Programming (Honors section only)
Research and Project Design Principles in Computing
Contemporary Microeconomic Principles (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
Introduction to Engineering (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
RS: Internship in Clinical Research
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II (Honors)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus III (Honors)
Theory of Differential Equations
University Physics I (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
University Physics II (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
Introductory Statistics II (Honors section only)
RS: Undergraduate Research Scholars Program Seminar

Additional Requirements

  • Quantitative Reasoning:  Honors students must take at least one approved Quantitative Reasoning course. The Honors College quantitative reasoning requirement mirrors the mathematics or quantitative reasoning requirement of the student’s college and major. Students whose college and major do not have a quantitative reasoning or mathematics requirement must take one of the following courses:
HNRT 125Applied Quantitative Reasoning (Mason Core)3
HNRT 225Applied Calculus3
MATH 108Introductory Calculus with Business Applications (Mason Core)3
MATH 110Introductory Probability (Mason Core)3
MATH 111Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core)3
MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 115Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Honors) (Mason Core)4
MATH 124Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)3
MATH 125Discrete Mathematics I (Mason Core)3
SOCI 313Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (Mason Core)4
STAT 250Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)3
  • 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 and Mason undergraduate program requirements for admissions, residency, credit hours, quality, and upper-level credits.

Honors College (HNRS)

100 Level Courses

HNRS 110: Principles of Research and Inquiry. 4 credits.
Introduces students to a wide range of disciplinary research practices. Students learn how to pose and pursue a focused research question, identify and evaluate the multiple perspectives and approaches involved, analyze pertinent evidence, and write and speak clearly by participating in scholarly conversation.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts. Equivalent to HNRS 109.
Specialized Designation: Scholarly Inquiry.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Lecture, Recitation
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 122: Reading the Arts (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester and section. Students will pursue focused questions or investigate specific topics in the arts by considering selected works of art and/or literature in historical, social, and formal contexts. Inquiry may be complemented by attendance and/or participation in creative activities.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 130: Identity, Community, and Difference (Topics Vary). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester and section. Students will pursue focused questions about how different conceptions of the self are understood in specific historical, social, scientific, and/or philosophical contexts. Students will understand how questions about individuality and subjectivity are asked in the humanities, arts, and/or social sciences.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 302C or 108C).
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 131: Contemporary Social Issues (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester and section. Students will pursue a focused question about contemporary social issues. Students consider and apply theories, methods and evidence from the social sciences and humanities. Topics range in focus from global to local issues involving how power and inequality shape social and institutional structures.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 302C or 108C).
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

200 Level Courses

HNRS 240: Reading the Past (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester and section. Students will pursue focused questions about a historical problem or situate a contemporary social issue in historical context. Students assess what is at stake in specific historiographic debates, consider how historical narratives are constructed and contested, and/or apply historical perspectives to analyze pressing social issues.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 302C or 109C).
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 260: Society and Community Engagement Topics (Topics Vary). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester and section. Students pursue focused questions about a problem facing a community, society, or government. Students assess what is at stake in specific debates, consider how narratives are constructed and contested and/or apply multiple perspectives to analyze pressing social issues.Offered by Honors College. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits. Equivalent to HNRS 230.
Recommended Prerequisite: Completion of 30 credits
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: HNRS 109C, 110C or 302C.
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 261: Community Connection Practicum (Topics Vary). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Students will identify and address a challenge or question in response to the needs of the community. All students will contribute to and benefit from rigorous discussion among of a cohort of students representing multiple disciplines. Where relevant, the conversation also includes stakeholders from the community. Students learn to account for their own and for other points of view, and to adapt communication practices to reach those who do not share their backgrounds or expectations. As a result, they integrate new directions & approaches as well as alternate, divergent or contradictory perspectives or ideas.Offered by Honors College. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits. Equivalent to HNRS 230.
Recommended Prerequisite: Completion of 30 credits
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: HNRS 109C, 110C or 302C.
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

300 Level Courses

HNRS 300: Advanced Study Abroad. 0-6 credits.
Offers students in the Honors College the opportunity to take advanced study abroad courses that focus on in-depth research or engaged learning. Offered by Honors College. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in HNRS 109, HNRS 110, HNRS 210, or HNRS 302.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Independent Study
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 302: Principles of Research and Inquiry for Transfer Students. 3 credits.
Introduces students to a wide range of disciplinary research practices. Students learn how to pose and pursue a focused research question, identify and evaluate the multiple perspectives and approaches involved, analyze pertinent evidence, and write and speak clearly by participating in scholarly conversation.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Specialized Designation: Scholarly Inquiry.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 360: Multi-Disciplinary Topics (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester and section. Students will ask and refine manageable research questions focused on a topical theme selected by the instructor. Students will evaluate, analyze, and synthesize new or existing evidence and explicitly identify and explain the implications of connections between their findings and existing scholarship. The results of projects developed in this research seminar will be communicated in the form of papers, public or digital communications, visual representations, public presentations, performances, and/or other significant deliverables.Offered by Honors College. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits. Equivalent to HNRS 353.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: HNRS 109C, 110C, 210C or 302C.
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Students with a class of Freshman may not enroll.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.
HNRS 361: Multi-Disciplinary Practicum (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Students in HNRS 361 identify and address a challenge or question that emerges from their individual goals & interests or in response to the needs of the community. All students in HNRS 361, whether pursuing individual or community challenges, contribute to and benefit from rigorous discussion among of a cohort of students representing multiple disciplines. Where relevant, the conversation also includes stakeholders from the community. Students learn to account for their own and for other points of view, and to adapt communication practices to reach those who do not share their backgrounds or expectations. As a result, they integrate new directions & approaches as well as alternate, divergent or contradictory perspectives or ideas. Course deliverables include strengthened and transformed proposals, reports, and/or prototypes.Offered by Honors College. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits. Equivalent to HNRS 353.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: HNRS 109C, 110C, 210C or 302C.
C Requires minimum grade of C.

Students with a class of Freshman may not enroll.

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Seminar
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

400 Level Courses

HNRS 490: Undergraduate Apprenticeship. 1-3 credits.
Independent work with a faculty mentor on an inquiry-based project involving research, creative activities, or teaching and mentoring. Notes: This course is open only to undergraduates who have been accepted to the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Recommended Prerequisite: 45 credits and acceptance into the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program.
Schedule Type: Independent Study
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

Honors Program (Science/Math) (HNRT)

100 Level Courses

HNRT 125: Applied Quantitative Reasoning. 3 credits.
The course will emphasize statistical reasoning and develop statistical thinking using real-life examples. The following topics will be covered: descriptive statistics, probability, probability distributions, estimation, and single sample hypothesis testing.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Lecture
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

200 Level Courses

HNRT 225: Applied Calculus. 3 credits.
Theory and applications of calculus for nonSTEM students. Assumes a previous introductory course in calculus. Topics include exponential models in the life sciences and business, theory of integration and may include improper integrals, infinite series, differential equations, or probability.Offered by Honors College. Limited to three attempts.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with the Honors College (Business)., Honors College (STEM). or Honors College. attributes.

Schedule Type: Lecture
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.