October 28, 2014

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What’s New in the Mason Core? 

The Mason Core Welcomes its First Faculty Fellow:

Dr. Samaine Lockwood, Director of Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of English will serve as Mason Core Faculty Fellow for Summer 2019 and the 2019-2020 academic year.  The Faculty Fellow will work to facilitate conversations about the Mason Core and gather evidence about what is and is not working well in the Core.  The Faculty Fellow will share information and work closely with the Mason Core Committee as the committee explores possible ways to strengthen the Mason Core.



           Considering the Mason Core: A Collaborative Visioning Workshop 

We invite you to join us at this year’s Innovations for Teaching and Learning (ITL) Conference for a special kick off event. In Considering the Mason Core: A Collaborative Visioning Workshop, we will begin a series of conversations about the Mason Core. Participants will have the opportunity to help shape the vision for the Mason Core as we refine our curriculum to meet the needs of today’s students. Join us on Friday, September 27, 10:30-12:00 in the JC Gold Room. Register for ITL at: https://stearnscenter.gmu.edu/programs/annual-conference-itl/

If you want to participate in the session but do not plan to attend ITL, you are welcome to join us without registering for the conference.

Can’t make it to ITL? We will be hosting a series of open conversations throughout the semester. Watch for dates in the Mason Core Newsletter, and at masoncore.gmu.edu.



The Mason Core

The Mason Graduate is an Engaged Citizen and Well-Rounded Scholar who is Prepared to Act. The Mason Core is Mason’s general education program that builds the foundation for The Mason Graduate. The Mason Core is a set of required courses that create the foundation of your undergraduate degree. All undergraduates seeking a baccalaureate degree must complete Mason Core requirements. The Mason Core provides a breadth of liberal education courses, complementing the depth of knowledge and skills you build in their majors and minors. The Mason Core helps you become a Mason Graduate: an engaged, well-rounded scholar who is prepared to act.

  • Information Technology
The Mason Core is divided into three sections: Foundation, Exploration, and Integration (formerly named Foundation, Core and Synthesis/Capstone).

Foundation courses strengthen your foundation in key knowledge and skills needed for academic success. Exploration courses provide a breadth of learning across the university. Integration courses include upper-division courses that are designed to integrate knowledge and skills learned from Foundation and Exploration courses into learning in the major. Courses in each category are guided by specific student learning outcomes that are assessed on a regular basis through the student academic experience.

For certain degrees or majors, specific courses are used to fulfill the Mason Core. Please see the Catalog and your academic advisor to understand the specific requirements for your academic program. See the table below for a list of course categories. Click on the category name to see approved courses for that category.


Mason Core SectionCourse Categories
Foundation CoursesWritten Communication--Lower Division (ENGH 101, 3 credits)
Oral Communication (3 credits)
Quantitative Reasoning (3 credits)
Information Technology and Computing (3 credits)
Exploration CoursesArts (3 credits)
Global Understanding (3 credits)
Literature (3 credits)
Natural Science (7 credits)
Social and Behavioral Science (3 credits)
Western Civilization or World History (3 credits)
Integration Courses Written Communication--Upper Division (ENGH 302, 3 credits)
Writing-Intensive (3 credits*)
Capstone or
Synthesis (3 credits)
Total: 40 credits
*Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

For approved Mason Core courses and accurate course descriptions please click HERE for the current catalog.


 Note: Beginning Fall 2014, certain courses within the Mason Core can count for more than one category, if approved by the Mason Core committee. Students will be allowed to double count two courses (up to six credit hours) to fulfill their Mason Core requirements. Courses that qualify for double counting will be listed in their individually approved sections. Students may not double count credits in Oral Communication, Written Communication, or Quantitative Reasoning categories.