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 core academic requirements at Mason. 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 Postgraduate Scholarships and Fellowships Office, 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 freshmen 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.

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 in their major program on equivalencies between the honors courses they have completed and Mason Core requirements.

Transfer of Honors Credits

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

Outside George Mason: Course work in the Honors College curriculum may meet the general education requirements of other universities. As in all transfer situations, general education requirements of one institution may not precisely match those of another.

Honors Curriculum

The honors curriculum is designed to satisfy Mason Core requirements through a small number of courses, allowing students increased opportunities to pursue minors or other individual interests. Students may also take honors sections of selected major courses as well as upper division courses offered by the Honors College.

Students who earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 in HNRS and HNRT courses and supporting courses required for their approved honors program will receive a designation of Honors College Requirements Completed on their transcripts. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 may complete the program to satisfy Mason Core requirements but will not receive honors recognition on their transcripts.

Honors College students are required to develop a formal Plan of Study with their Honors College advisor during their first year in the Honors College. Students who do not complete a Plan of Study in their first year may be removed from the College and the benefits that it offers until an official Plan of Study is completed and approved by the student's Honors College advisor.

Requirement One

HNRS 108
HNRS 109
Introduction to Research Methods I
and Introduction to Research Methods II
3-6
or HNRS 110 Research Methods
or HNRS 302 Research Methods II
HNRS 353Technology in the Contemporary World (Topic Varies) (Mason Core)3
Total Credits6-9

Requirement Two

Honors Core Courses
Select three of the following:9
Reading the Arts (Topic Varies) (Art History/Arts)
Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives (Topic Varies) (Social Science with a Global Perspective)
Reading the Past (Topic Varies) (Western or World History)
Conceptions of Self (Topic Varies) (Philosophy/Religion)
Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Topic Varies) (Social Science with a Non-Western Perspective)
Total Credits9

Students are required to take either HNRS 230 Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Topic Varies) or HNRS 131 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives (Topic Varies). Substitutions for both courses will only be allowed if a student transfers in credit for all the following Mason Core requirements:

  • Non-Western Culture
  • Global Understanding
  • Social Science and Behavioral Science

Honors students must satisfy all Mason Core requirements. These requirements may be satisfied by HNRS 122 Reading the Arts (Topic Varies), HNRS 240 Reading the Past (Topic Varies), and HNRS 131 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives (Topic Varies) or HNRS 230 Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Topic Varies), or by taking an approved Mason Core course. HNRS 130 Conceptions of Self (Topic Varies) and HNRS 230 Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Topic Varies) meet additional college requirements for the B.A. in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Science.

Note: Students who complete Requirements One and Two also fulfill Mason Core requirements for information technology, oral communication and literature.

Requirement Three

Select any two courses of the following approved departmental honors courses: 13-9
Honors Survey of Accounting
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)
Independent Senior Research in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
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)
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
Conceptions of Self (Topic Varies) (Philosophy/Religion, if not taken to satisfy Requirement Two)
Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Topic Varies) (Social Science with a Non-Western Perspective, if not taken to satisfy Requirement Two)
RS: Research in the Public Sphere
Research, Technology, and Online Community
Thesis Proposal
RS: Honors College Thesis
Multidisciplinary Challenges in Professional Environments
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II (Honors)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus III (Honors)
Theory of Differential Equations
Honors Statistical Analysis for Management
University Physics I (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
University Physics II (Mason Core) (Honors section only)
RS: Undergraduate Research Scholars Program Seminar
Total Credits3-9
1

Students may substitute only one course taken before attending Mason for Requirement Three.

Additional Requirements

  • Mathematics:  Each honors student must take one approved math course, depending on major. Approved math courses are MATH 113 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core), MATH 123 Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A and MATH 124 Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core), HNRT 125 A Liberal Arts Approach to Calculus (Mason Core) or HNRT 225 Applied Calculus, or the honors section of MATH 111 Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core) , or MATH 108 Introductory Calculus with Business Applications (Mason Core). School of Business and Information Sciences and Technology majors may take any of these courses, except HNRT 125 A Liberal Arts Approach to Calculus (Mason Core). Additional math courses are required for some majors.
  • 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.

Honors Program (HNRS)

100 Level Courses

HNRS 108: Introduction to Research Methods I. 3 credits.
Introduces students to a wide range of disciplinary research practices. Students learn how to identify a topic and pose a focused research question, use information technology to find relevant sources, and develop a research proposal. Notes: Students must complete HNRS 109, which has a prerequisite of HNRS 108, to fulfill the equivalent of HNRS 110.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Lecture
HNRS 109: Introduction to Research Methods II. 3 credits.
Students continue to learn a wide range of disciplinary research practices. Students learn how to pose a research question, analyze pertinent evidence, and write and speak clearly by participating in a scholarly conversation.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit. Equivalent to HNRS 110.
Recommended Prerequisite: HNRS 108.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Lecture
HNRS 110: Research Methods. 4 credits.
Introduces students to a wide range of disciplinary research practices. Students learn how to pose and pursue a focused research question, use information technology to find relevant sources, analyze pertinent evidence, and write and speak clearly by participating in scholarly conversation.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit. 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
HNRS 122: Reading the Arts (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Explores the language of the art medium and the relationship of parts to whole in art works, connections among different art forms, and links between art and its historical context. In exploring multiple art forms, including literature, students will also learn how various artistic devices contribute to meaning. Students will critically explore detail and nuance in the social, historical and personal context of the work(s). Students will also participate in or attend a visual or performance based art work(s) or event(s).Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Lecture, Recitation
HNRS 130: Conceptions of Self (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Drawing from appropriate works in social sciences, arts, and humanities, examines different conceptions and definitions of the self from diverse cultures and historical contexts.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 302C, 210C 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: Lecture
HNRS 131: Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Explores methods and perspectives in social sciences and humanities to evaluate contributions of different disciplines to social and cultural issues, their constructions, their global ramifications. Investigates our individual, collective, and institutional responsibilities as citizens of a diverse and interconnected world.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 210C, 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: Lecture

200 Level Courses

HNRS 211: Mentorship in Undergraduate Research. 0-2 credits.
Students learn to use their own research experience as a tool to guide beginning scholars by mentoring students in Honors 110: Research Methods, through workshops and oral presentations.Offered by Honors Program. 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: Seminar
HNRS 230: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Enables students to broaden cultural horizons and understand human behavior by comparative studies of societies.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

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

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

Schedule Type: Lecture
HNRS 240: Reading the Past (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Considers constructions of historical narratives and their context in major world historical events by examining significant current topics such as revolution, race, empire, and religion over time. Considers how public narratives about history are constructed. Students will communicate their understanding of multiple historical narratives through written, oral and digital means.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 210C, 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: Lecture

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 Program. 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
HNRS 302: Research Methods II. 3 credits.
Introduces students transferring into the Honors College to a wide range of disciplinary research practices. Students learn how to choose and focus a research question, find and analyze sources, organize evidence in an essay shaped by an original thesis, write clearly, and address an audience of scholars.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit. Equivalent to HNRS 210.
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
HNRS 310: Honors College Connects I. 0 credits.
The first of a two-semester course in which students work in groups on long-term service projects coming from community nonprofit organizations.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum credits.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Independent Study
HNRS 311: Honors College Connects II. 0 credits.
A continuation of HNRS 310, culminating in student presentations of their results to the community nonprofit organizations and constituents of the Honors College.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 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
HNRS 312: RS: Research in the Public Sphere. 0-3 credits.
Building on projects begun in HNRS 310, students use research/scholarship skills to address community problems presented by nonprofit organizations. Designated as a research and scholarship intensive course.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Specialized Designation: Research/Scholarship Intensive
Recommended Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in HNRS 109, HNRS 110, HNRS 210, or HNRS 302.
Recommended Corequisite: HNRS 311 or permission of the instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Seminar
HNRS 330: Research, Technology, and Online Community. 0-3 credits.
Student applicants selected to participate in the RTOC project will plan and create new media artifacts or learning objects in structured collaboration with university stakeholders and mentors. Through this process, they will deepen their understanding of the research process, learn to appreciate the institutional and social dimensions of undertaking and teaching research, and learn to communicate more effectively about research.Offered by Honors Program. 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
HNRS 353: Technology in the Contemporary World (Topic Varies). 3 credits.
Course topic varies by semester. Critically analyzes emergence and impact of specific technologies on contemporary cultures and the core concepts surrounding these technologies, including legal, social, ethical issues and the technology's relationship to core information security issues. Students develop a significant research project employing multiple disciplinary perspectives. This project will be communicated ethically and with cultural awareness through written, oral and digital means, showing a critical understanding of technologies and their impact.Offered by Honors Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Mason Core: Synthesis
Registration Restrictions:

Required Prerequisites: (HNRS 110C, 210C, 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: Lecture

400 Level Courses

HNRS 400: Honors College Internship. 0-6 credits.
Offers students in the Honors College the opportunitty to take an internship that focuses on research or engaged learning. Students develop individual contracts defining learning and competencies they plan to gain from the experience. Pre-internship proposal and final reflection papers required. Notes: Contact the Honors College a semester before the internship for the application process.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: HNRS 109, 110, 210 or 302.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Internship
HNRS 410: Thesis Proposal. 0-3 credits.
Provides guidance in research methods to students writing an honors thesis proposal as well as workshop to critique research in progress and to understand the research process in multiple disciplines.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Specialized Designation: Research Associated
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: Seminar
HNRS 411: RS: Honors College Thesis. 0-3 credits.
Directed research on topic agreed on by student, advisor, and the Honors College. Designated as a research and scholarship intensive course.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Specialized Designation: Research/Scholarship Intensive
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
HNRS 430: Multidisciplinary Challenges in Professional Environments. 0-3 credits.
Students work to solve a problem or challenge currently faced by an Honors College community partner which is identified in consultation with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Provides students with opportunities to synthesize knowledge and practices developed in prior courses and co-curricular experiences; develops the skills and strategies necessary for working effectively in multidisciplinary teams.Offered by Honors Program. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: HNRS 109, 110, 210, 302.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Seminar
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 Program. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: 45 credits and acceptance into the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program.
Schedule Type: Independent Study

Honors Program (Science/Math) (HNRT)

100 Level Courses

HNRT 125: A Liberal Arts Approach to Calculus. 3 credits.
Assumes understanding of basic algebra and functions. Explores various mathematical models and develops concepts and applications of limits and derivatives Offered by College of Science. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Lecture

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 College of Science. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Lecture
HNRT 226: Topics in Quantitative Analysis. 3 credits.
Studies selected topics of special interest to honors students with suitable preparation. Notes: For students who have taken calculus in high school. HNRT 226 is an alternative to HNRT 125. Offered by College of Science. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Calculus in high school.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Lecture
HNRT 227: Scientific Thought and Processes I. 4 credits.
Explores and integrates principles of classical and modern science through study of such topics as cosmology, evolution, ecology, mechanics, relativity, quantum physics, and the environment. Notes: Includes a weekly lab session. Offered by College of Science. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Laboratory, Lecture
HNRT 228: Scientific Thought and Processes II. 4 credits.
Explores and integrates principles of classical and modern science through study of such topics as cosmology, evolution, ecology, mechanics, relativity, quantum physics, and the environment. Notes: Includes a weekly lab session. Offered by College of Science. May not be repeated for credit.
Specialized Designation: Green Leaf Course
Recommended Prerequisite: HNRT 227
Registration Restrictions:

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

Schedule Type: Laboratory, Lecture