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 citizen and 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.



What’s New in the Mason Core? 

The Mason Core Committee and COVID-19 Updates

University Faculty and Staff are following the guidelines shared by President Washington, outlined here: https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus

Currently, Mason Core meetings are schedule to be held remotely, via Zoom. Mason Core meetings are open to members of the Mason community. If you wish to attend a Mason Core meeting, please email masoncor@gmu.edu from your gmu email account for the zoom information.

For information on Zoom access and use, please visit: https://its.gmu.edu/service/zoom/ 

Congratulations, Mason Core Faculty!

The results are in! We are proud to announce that nearly 400 faculty members scored above 4.75 out of 5 on the element “My Overall Rating of Teaching” from the Student Ratings of Instruction for Fall 2020. We know there are many ways to measure a course’s quality and impact, but this evaluation highlights the value we place on student’s perception of teaching in the Mason Core.

Mason Core classes are critical for engaging students and helping to create Mason Graduates: Well-Rounded Scholars and Engaged Citizens  who are Prepared to Act. We appreciate your college’s contribution to providing Mason Core courses. Please join me in thanking these faculty for their commitment to teaching.

Visit the Mason Core Awards page for a complete list.