FAQ Current Mason Student

Frequently Asked Questions About Joining the Honors College for Current Mason Students

The Honors College is a place where students are highly motivated, perpetually learning, and inquisitive. Here, we ask questions that allow us to engage with our world in meaningful ways. Current Mason students looking to join the Honors College may have questions. This page should serve as a resource for students who may still have questions regarding the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Honors College?

An enhanced opportunity for the most motivated students from all majors at Mason.

  • Curriculum. The Honors College offers an enhanced alternative general education curriculum comprised of small, highly interactive seminar-type classes.

  • Programming. The Honors College offers co-curricular programming to help students excel academically, connect socially, and pursue the things they care about most.

  • Support. You will receive additional support from an Honors College advisor, help navigating your transition, and extra help if you run into challenges along the way.

What distinguishes the Honors College curriculum?

We focus on inquiry-based, civic, and experiential learning.

  • Research. 100% of Honors College students begin conducting individual research their first semester. 44% conduct research with a faculty mentor before graduating.

  • Civic learning. Honors College students take a civic learning course. Since 2019, 33 regional nonprofits have partnered with students in our classes.

  • Experiential learning. Students may participate in hands-on classes that develop professional skills. Honors College classes have hosted 53 distinct partner projects since 2019.

What is the value of the Honors College experience?

Learn with a community that inspires you to do your best.

  • At Mason. Excellent graduation rates. Before graduation, 80% of ours students are in RSOs, with over half in leadership roles; 63% participate in service work; 73% have internships.

  • In Grad School. Honors College grads attend the most prestigious graduate, law, and medical schools, from Harvard to Stanford and from UVA to University of California.

  • Top Careers. Honors College grads work in leadership positions in every industry and field - in law firms, health systems, corporations, and the government.

How does Honors College curriculum relate to Mason Core?

The Honors College curriculum is an alternative to the Mason Core.

  • Be excused from the remaining Mason Core Foundation and Exploration Requirements. Instead of taking these, you’ll take the remaining Honors College seminars.

  • Substitute Mason Core credits you already have. You will be able to substitute Mason Core Exploration credits you already have for some of the Honors College seminars.

How will my credits transfer?

The Honors College will evaluate the classes you’ve taken and award appropriate credit. The Honors College Planning Form is available to assist you in understanding where you stand in terms of the Honors College requirements and Mason Core requirements.

  • Credit from before Mason. After admission, the Honors College will evaluate transfer, AP/ IB, and dual enrollment credits and apply them to relevant requirements in our curriculum.
  • Mason Core credits. Students may use Mason Core Exploration courses to substitute for up to 4 of the 7 required Honors College seminars.
  • Natural science and math. You will take the same science and math classes you would otherwise take, but will have optional enhanced H-sections available for certain classes.
  • Other Mason credits. Admission to the Honors College does not impact your major or minor requirements.


Open your degree evaluation in DegreeWorks through Patriot Web and review your Mason Core requirements. Think about the questions below.

  • What Mason Core requirements have you completed or will you fulfill by the time you apply to join the Honors College?
  • Which requirements remain?
  • How many total credits do you have?
  • How close are you to reaching the required number of credits to graduate? This is typically 120 credits but might vary slightly based on your major.


The chart below demonstrates common substitutions the Honors College accepts for students who transfer into the College.

Honors College Inquiry in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Common Substitutions
HNRS 122
Reading the Art
Literature, art, music, theater
(Includes any Mason Core Literature or Fine Arts course)
HNRS 130
Identity, Community, and Difference
Philosophy or religion courses
(Includes any Mason BA Philosophy or religion course)
HNRS 131
Contemporary Social Issues
Social, behavioral, or cognitive sciences
(Social, behavioral, or cognitive sciences Including Mason Core Social & Behavioral Sciences or Global Understanding course)
HNRS 240
Reading the Past
History courses
(Including MC World History/Western Civ courses)

How do I apply?

Apply if you have a 3.5 cumulative GPA & will have completed at least 24 credits at Mason this semester.

If I am admitted, how can I connect with the Honors College and my peers?

Interested students can apply to join Honors College leadership. Information about opportunities and events can also be found in the weekly Honors College newsletter. 

Honoring Our Community
Honors College Recruitment Team
Honors College Connects
Honors College Student Advisory Board
Honors College Peer Mentors
Honors College Communications Team