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Curriculum Overview

The Honors College Curriculum consists of a set of required Core courses, plus optional Honors subject courses offered by Mason’s departments. The Honors Core includes a small number of multi-disciplinary courses that satisfy the university general education requirements, allowing students increased opportunities to pursue minors or other individual interests.

How Honors Courses Are Related To Your Major

Honors students are not restricted in their choice of majors or minors. Honors courses provide skills and perspectives that are valuable, whatever a student’s major. Many majors offer separate upper-level Honors curricula.

The Honors Community Beyond the Classroom

The Honors Curriculum offers students special access to the technical, intellectual, and artistic resources of the university and the national capital region. Outside the classroom, Honors students and faculty participate in field trips and social events, as well as lectures and discussions. Students enjoy informal community in the Honors Study Lounge, computer lab, and residence halls. Most students in the Honors Curriculum choose to live in a residence hall reserved specifically for the Honors Living and Learning Community but this is not a requirement.

Admission

The Honors Curriculum invites students who want to be challenged and have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement in high school to join the Honors College. Candidates applying to George Mason who also want to be considered for the Honors Curriculum submit a separate essay which is included in the general Mason application. If your application meets the criteria for Honors, you will receive an invitation to the curriculum shortly after you receive your acceptance to the university. Candidates are evaluated on the strength of their entire academic record, including their GPA and standardized tests scores as well as the rigor of their high school curricula.

The Honors College Curriculum

The Honors Curriculum is the curriculum for Mason’s Honors College. The Core of the curriculum is designed to satisfy the University General Education requirements through a small number of multi-disciplinary courses, allowing students increased opportunities to pursue minors or other individual interests. Each Honors student begins the program with HNRS 110: Research Methods, and completes the program with the capstone course HNRS 353: Technology in the Contemporary World.

Curriculum Overview (Catalog Year 2013-2014)

Requirement 1 (7 credits)

Two required courses:

Requirement 2 (9 credits)

Three honors core courses chosen from:

HNRS 122 – Reading the Arts Credits: 3  (Art History/Arts)
HNRS 131 – Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives Credits: 3  (Social Science with a Global Perspective)
HNRS 240 – Reading the Past Credits: 3  (History)
HNRS 130 – Conceptions of Self Credits: 3 (Philosophy/Religion)
HNRS 230 – Cross-Cultural Perspectives Credits: 3 (Social Science with a Non-Western Perspective)


Students are required to take either HNRS 230 or HNRS 131.
Substitutions for both courses will only be allowed if a student transfers in credit for all the following general education requirements:
• Non-Western Culture
• Global Understanding
• Social Science and Behavioral Science

Honors students must satisfy all university general education requirements. These requirements may be satisfied by HNRS 122, 240, and 131 or 230, or by taking university approved general education courses. HNRS 130 and HNRS 230 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 university general education requirements for information technology, oral communication and literature.

Requirement 3 (6-10 credits)

Choose any two courses from the following list of approved departmental honors courses. Students may substitute only one course taken before attending Mason for Requirement Three.

BIOL 213 – Cell Structure and Function Credits: 4 (Honors section only)
BIOL 310 – Biodiversity Credits: 5 (Honors section only)
BIOL 311 - General Genetics Credits: 4 (Honors section only)
CHEM 211 – General Chemistry Credits: 4 (Honors section only)
CHEM 212 – General Chemistry Credits: 4 (Honors Section only)
CS 211 – Object-Oriented Programming Credits: 3 (Honors Section only)
PHYS 160 – University Physics I Credits: 3 (Honors section only)
PHYS 260 – University Physics II Credits: 3 (Honors section only)
HNRS 130 – Conceptions of Self Credits: 3 (Philosophy/Religion), if not taken to satisfy Requirement Two
HNRS 230 – Cross-Cultural Perspectives Credits: 3 (Social Science with a Non-Western Perspective), if not taken to satisfy Requirement Two

Additional Requirements:

  • Mathematics:  Each honors student must take one approved math course, depending on major. Approved math courses are

    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.
  • Students in the following colleges or majors must take the specific courses required by their college and major to meet the Honors College science requirements:
    • College of Education and Human Development
    • College of Health and Human Services
    • College of Science
    • Volgenau School of Engineering (excluding Applied Information Technology- see below)
    • Psychology, BS, or Neuroscience, BS, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Students in the following colleges and majors must fulfill the requirements listed below to complete their Honors College science requirements:
    • College of Visual and Performing Arts: 7 credits of science, except for the Bachelor of Music which requires a 3-credit science course
    • College of Humanities and Social Science (excluding majors listed above):  Honors College course sequence of HNRT 227* and HNRT 228• School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution: 7 credits of science
    • School of Management: Honors College course sequence of HNRT 227* and HNRT 228
    • Applied Information Technology, BS, in the Volgenau School of Engineering:  7 credits of science

*Students may substitute a 4-credit general education lab science course for HNRT 227

Note:  Students who are required to fulfill 7 credits of science must take one lab science course and either one non-lab science course or another lab science course to meet the credit requirement.

  • Foreign Language:  Students pursuing B.A. degrees may have a foreign language requirement
  • Beyond the Honors College requirements students must satisfy all requirements of their college and major

 

Course Substitutions (Catalog Year 2013-2014)

AP/IB exams and college credits earned before you began attending Mason can be substituted for many of your Honors courses.

Be aware that most AP exams require a 4 or a 5 and IB exams require a 6 or a 7  to receive credit at Mason . See the Admissions web page for acceptable scores for AP/IB exams: http://admissions.gmu.edu/exams/

For Dual-Enrollment (previous college) courses taken before beginning your degree at George Mason University the course requirements below apply.  You must have received a B or higher for the course and it must be transferred to George Mason University and appear on your transcript before an official substitution can be made.  To substitute for HNRT 125 the dual-enrollment course must be equivalent to MATH 113 or MATH 108.  To substitute for HNRT 227 and 228 the dual-enrollment course must be equivalent to a two–course general education science sequence with labs.

Any credits that cannot be used for major, minor, or Honors curriculum requirements will count as electives towards the 120 credits required to graduate with an undergraduate degree from Mason.

HNRS 122: Reading the Arts

Can be substituted with any course that fulfills the University General Education requirement for Arts.

HNRS 130: Conceptions of Self

Can be substituted with any course that fulfills the CHSS General Education requirement for Philosophy or Religion.

HNRS 131: Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives

Can be substituted with any course that fulfills the University General Education requirement for Global Understanding.

HNRS 230: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Can be substituted with any course that fulfills the CHSS General Education requirement for Non-Western.

HNRS 240: Reading the Past

Can be substituted with any course that fulfills the University General Education requirement for Western Civilization or World History.