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 28th. 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, one section of HNRS 122 might be offered by one professor from 9:00-10:15a on Monday and Wednesday, while another section of HNRS 122 might be offered by another professor on 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, one professor's HNRS 122 might focus on "Expression in Video Games" while another professor's HNRS 122 might focus on "Art and Protest."

It is a good idea to select a section that is compatible with your schedule and covers 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, you'll need to register for recitation (also known as "colloquium") to take HNRS 110. You'll have two options, both on Fridays. The HNRS 110 Colloquium provides a unique opportunity for Honors College students to learn about ongoing research and professional opportunities with community partners from Mason and beyond. Your HNRS 110 faculty will provide more details about the colloquium schedule in the first week of classes.

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:

  • Option 1: Lab for Lecture – 70458 - BIOL 311 – Mondays, 1:30 pm – 4:15 pm, Exploratory Hall 3505
  • Option 2: Lab for lecture – 70943 – BIOL 311 –  Mondays 4:30 pm – 7:10 pm, Exploratory Hall 3505
  • Option 3: Lab for lecture – 70460 – BIOL 311 – Tuesdays, 10:30 am – 1:15 pm, Exploratory Hall 3505

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 BUSI 100 is "H01":

  • Business and Society - 71921 - BUSI 100 - H01

How do I search for classes?

The University Registrar maintains the official step-by-step guide for registering. You can directly search the fall schedule

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

Follow the step by step Advising and Priority Registration Checklist

Review Step 2 in particular, as this provides an overview of some of the information that you will need to include in the form. You should also check the Schedule of Classes for information on course numbers, sections, dates, and times

Why am I getting a “Link Error” when submitting my schedule?

For some courses, in addition to the lecture, a lab or recitation is required. In order to register for the lecture, you must simultaneously register for the required lab/recitation. These are called “linked courses” and, if required, you will be able to locate these by clicking the “view linked” button on the lecture section you wish to register for. Once you choose the lab/recitation you wish to register for, click the "add all" green button to add both the lecture and linked course to your cart.

One common example of a linked course is General Chemistry and the General Chemistry lab.

What if I get AP or IB credits over summer that are pre-requisites for classes I plan to take in math, science, or computer science?

In order to receive credit for AP/IB or dual-enrollment courses you will need to have your scores or transcript sent directly to Mason Admissions.

You also will want to find out what to do when these scores arrive, if you need Math, Computer Science, or Chemistry scores as pre-requisites for classes you intend to take in Fall.