Students who wish to take a course at an institution other than Mason must obtain advanced written permission. There are three possible ways to do this: the Washington Metropolitan Area Consortium, a study abroad program through Mason Study Abroad, or requesting and receiving permission to study elsewhere. There are specific guidelines and policies governing the approval of this third option; carefully review the policies below before submitting a request.
Study Elsewhere Policies
Once you accept an offer of admission to Mason, you are expected to complete all courses at Mason. However, there are some circumstances in which a student may be allowed to take a course at another college or university. Exceptions to university and college policy are rarely granted, and the following policies always apply:
- Courses previously attempted at Mason (including withdrawals) cannot be taken elsewhere.
- Students must have an academic record of at least one semester with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.
- Students must meet the minimum 30-hour residency requirement at Mason.
The following factors also influence the decision of whether or not a student can study elsewhere:
- The distance the student lives from Mason. (Students must have a permanent address of 50 miles or more away from Mason.)
- Whether the course is offered at Mason for the same semester.
- The level of the course at Mason and the level of the course to be taken elsewhere.
- Individual colleges/schools/institutes determine restrictions on the number, type, mode of delivery, location, and offering patterns of courses that can be taken at another institution. Keep in mind that courses requested outside of CHHS will need additional approval from the college or school that offers the equivalent course at Mason.
Steps to Request to Take a Course Elsewhere
- Review the policies in the University Catalog regarding taking a course elsewhere.
- Fill out the Study Elsewhere Request Form, found on the Registrar’s website, and attach the following to the completed form:
- A brief narrative explaining why you need to take the course elsewhere. Please include your name and G# at the top and also provide a plan about which courses you intend to take over the next few semesters.
- The course equivalency at Mason. Courses that have already been approved for equivalency can be found by using the Transfer Credit Matrix on the Admissions website. If the course does not appear on the transfer credit matrix, then the course must be reviewed by the department that offers the equivalent course at Mason. If the course is not in the Transfer Credit Matrix, include copies of the catalog course description for the actual course and for the Mason equivalent course. These can be found in the University Catalog.
- Submit the form with attached documents to your academic advisor. If your advisor approves your request, it will be forwarded to the CHHS Associate Dean for Student Affairs or the Director of Student Success for review and approval. If it is approved, the CHHS Office of Student Affairs will forward it to the college that offers the course at Mason. You will receive a decision by email from the approving department. Wait to obtain approval from all required deans before signing up for the course.
- The Study Elsewhere Request Form, found on the Registrar’s website, must be submitted to the Dean by the following deadlines:
Fall Semester: August 1
Spring Semester: January 2
Summer Semester: May 1
After Completing a Course Elsewhere
Complete your study elsewhere coursework and earn a passing grade of C (2.0) or better. Request a copy of your final transcripts upon course completion to be sent to George Mason University Registrar's Office, Records Section, MSN 3D1, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. Credit will not be transferred until an official transcript is received. Non-receipt of official transcripts within six weeks of conferral date will delay a student’s pending graduation.
If for any reason you decided not to pursue study elsewhere after approval, you will need to submit the Study Elsewhere Removal form, which can be found on the Registrar’s website. This is an online form that is submitted directly to the Registrar’s Office and does not require an advisor’s signature.
Permission to study elsewhere is only granted at the time of review for the specified term; approval may not be applied in the future if you were granted permission to study elsewhere and did not do so.