George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University


Honors College Curriculum (starting Catalog Year 2019-2020)

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 and 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 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 and Multi-Disciplinary Challenges requirements. 

Creating a diagram on the white board

The Honors College has a condensed curriculum so students have time to pursue additional academic interests.


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

  • HNRS 110         Principles of Research and Inquiry (4 credits)


  • HNRS 302         Principles of Research and Inquiry for Transfer Students (3 credits)
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)

  • Arts: HNRS 122 Reading the Arts (3 credits)
  • Humanities: HNRS 130 Identity, Community, and Difference (3 credits)
  • Social/Behavioral science: HNRS 131 Contemporary Social Issues (3 credits)
  • History: HNRS 240 Reading the Past (3 credits)
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 260 Society and Community Engagement (3 credits)


  • HNRS 261 Community Connection Practicum (3 credits)
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 360 Multi-Disciplinary Topics (3 credits)


  • HNRS 361 Multi-Disciplinary Practicum (3 credits)
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 125         A Liberal Arts Approach to Calculus (Quantitative Reasoning for Liberal Arts)      
  • HNRT 225         Applied Calculus           
  • MATH 108        Introductory Calculus with Business Applications           
  • MATH 111        Linear Mathematical Modeling (Honors Section Only)    
  • MATH 113        Analytic Geometry and Calculus I          
  • MATH 123 & MATH 124        Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A & B              
  • STAT 250          Introductory Statistics I (Only majors that require STAT 250 to satisfy their quantitative reasoning requirement) 



The Honors College science requirement mirrors the science requirement of a student's college and major.

Honors College Electives

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

  • BUS 100           Business and Society (Honors section only)
  • BUS 200           Global Environment of Business (Honors section only)
  • ECON 103         Contemporary Microeconomic Principles (Honors section only)
  • ENGR 107         Introduction to Engineering (Honors section only)
  • CS 211              Object-Oriented Programming (Honors section only)
  • CS 390              Research and Project Design Principles in Computing
  • BIOL 213          Cell Structure and Function (Honors section only)          
  • BIOL 214          Biostatistics for Biology Majors (Honors section only)     
  • BIOL 308          Foundations of Ecology and Evolution (Honors section only)      
  • BIOL 310          Biodiversity (Honors section only)         
  • BIOL 311          General Genetics (Honors section only)
  • BIOL 314          Introduction to Research Design and Analysis
  • BIOL 493          Honors Research in Biology
  • BINF 490          Independent Senior Research in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • CHEM 211        General Chemistry I (Honors section only)         
  • CHEM 212        General Chemistry II (Honors section only)
  • CHEM 213        General Chemistry Lab I (Honors section only)
  • CHEM 214        General Chemistry Lab II (Honors section only)
  • CHEM 355        Undergraduate Research          
  • PHYS 160          University Physics I (Honors section only)          
  • PHYS 260          University Physics II (Honors section only)
  • HHS 492           RS: Internship in Clinical Research
  • HNRS 300         Advanced Study Abroad
  • MATH 116        Analytic Geometry and Calculus II (Honors)
  • MATH 215        Analytic Geometry and Calculus III (Honors)
  • MATH 216        Theory of Differential Equations
  • STAT 250          Introductory Statistics I (Honors section only)
  • STAT 350          Introductory Statistics II (Honors section only)
  • UNIV 495         RS: Undergraduate Research Scholars Program Seminar