George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Incoming Students

The Honors College will communicate about the advising and registration process with incoming students via email before the Honors College orientation on Monday, June 24th and Tuesday, June 25th. This page should serve as a resource for students who may still have questions regarding the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How many classes should I take per semester?

In college, each class has a specific number of credits associated with it. During the first year, students usually take between 13 and 15 credits, unless the sample schedule specifies more than this. Students pay an additional fee for each credit over 15. Some students may take five, 3-credit classes, while others take several, 1-, 2-, or 4-credit classes. For example, the course 'HNRS 122: Reading the Arts" is a 3 credit class, while 'HNRS 110: Principles of Research and Inquiry" is a 4 credit class.  It is best to consult your sample schedule and academic advisor when it comes to deciding which and/or how many courses to take.

What is a class "section"?

Many classes are offered by more than one professor or at more than one time during the week.  Each separate offering of a class is referred to as a "section" of that class.  So, for instance, section 001 of HNRS 122 might be offered by Professor Allbeck from 9:00-10:15a on Monday and Wednesday, while section 006 of HNRS 122 is offered by Professor Gregg from 1:30-2:45p on Tuesday and Thursday.  Note that some sections may meet once a week for a longer class period, while others may meet multiple times a week.

In many of your Honors College HNRS classes, different sections will cover differing topics. So, for instance, Professor Allbeck's HNRS 122 focuses on "Expression in Video Games" while Professor Gregg's HNRS 122 focuses on "Popmpei: A Window into Roman Art and Life."

It is a good idea to select a section that is both compatible with your schedule and on a topic you are interested in studying. You can read descriptions for the individual sections of classes on the Honors College website. However, some classes – like HNRS 110 – are not topical, so the description of these will be the same across all sections. 

What is a recitation or a lab?

Many classes require that you take an additional class called a "recitaiton" or "lab." Some classes will require both. Recitations and labs are additional required class meetings, usually used to discuss or apply concepts learned in the regular class meetings.  

For instance, most HNRS 110 sections will have a recitation that meets on Fridays. The HNRS 110 recitation on Fridays is what we call a "colloquium": a special meeting where we learn about research skills, projects, and opportunities in our community. It might not meet every week, but you must design your schedule in such a way that you are able to attend whenever it does meet. If it is impossible to create a schedule that permits you to attend the Friday colloquium because of activities like athletics, band, dance, or forensics, let us know as soon as you are sure you have a conflict. If you let us know, we will contact you before the semester begins about the alternatives to the colloquium that will allow you to fulfill this requirement. In the meanwhile, you should register for HNRS 110, including the Friday recitation.

Some classes will have both a recitation and a lab.  For instance, PHYS 160 has both a recitation connected to your section and a lab with a separate course code (PHYS 161).  You must register for both.

In the example below, notice that there is more than one available lab associated with the BIOL 311 lecture:

What are "H" sections and how do I find them?

H (for "Honors") sections of classes are special enrichment opportunities for Honors College students. Typically H sections of classes offer smaller class size and closer attention from professors.  

Not all classes have H sections, but your Sample Schedule will show you when H sections are available. In Patriot Web, H sections usually start with an H. For instance, in this example, the H section of BIOL 311 is "H01":

How do I search for classes?

Below is a step-by-step guide on searching for classes on PatriotWeb:

1. You will use PatriotWeb located at to register. To begin, go to this site and log in. If you haven’t already, you must first sign up for a Patriot Password using the claim code you received in your acceptance packet. If you need help with this, contact Information Technology Services Support Center at (703) 993-8870.

2. Once you have logged in, you will see this page. Go to the Student Services tab on the top menu.

3. Select the Registration link


4. Select the Search for Classes link

5. Search by the term you would be registering for. In this case, it would be Fall 2017. 

6. Classes are categorized by departmental subject codes. For example, the subject code for Honors courses is HNRS while the subject code for Biology is BIOL. Subject and course codes for your courses are on your sample schedule.

7. This will bring up a list of the offered classes. Next to each class is a button to display the sections offered.


Where do I find the information I need to put on the first-semester Schedule Approval form?

Why am I getting errors when I try to register for General Chemistry?

When registering for General Chemistry, you must simultaneously register for both the lecture and the lab.  Without the lab, you will not be permitted to register.