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Mason Core

Mason Core is George Mason University’s general education program that builds the foundation for the Mason Graduate – an engaged citizen and well-rounded scholar who is prepared to act in a global, diverse world. Mason Core is a set of required courses that create the foundation of a student’s undergraduate degree. It provides a breadth of liberal education courses, complementing the depth of knowledge and skills students build in their majors and minors. All undergraduates seeking a baccalaureate degree must complete Mason Core requirements. 


Mason Core: A Lifelong Investment in our Students’ Future 

General education is often viewed as a checklist of things to complete before graduation, but it’s really so much more. Mason Core courses are a chance for students to experience new ideas, develop lifelong skills, and enhance their education through a variety of disciplines they otherwise might not experience.  

Employers overwhelmingly say that they value the skills that we build in Mason Core (see AAC&U’s 2023 employer survey report The Career-Ready Graduate: What Employers Say about the Difference College Makes). Critical thinking skills, the ability to analyze and interpret data, the ability to communicate through writing and speaking, digital literacy, and the ability to work with people from different backgrounds top the list of skills employers want. Each of these skills and more are developed by Mason Core coursework.  

Mason Core provides the framework through which our students become better scholars, professionals, and citizens.  

Better Thinkers 

Mason Core provides the opportunity for students to explore ideas within subjects such as the humanities, social and natural sciences, and the arts.  Courses in these areas are designed to develop a student’s critical thinking skills. Students are challenged to comprehensively explore issues, ideas, and perspectives before accepting or formulating an opinion or drawing a conclusion, setting the stage for life-long learning. 

Better Communicators 

Mason Core provides the skills students need to become more effective communicators. Mason Core’s commitment to developing students’ oral and written communication allows students to better analyze arguments and share their own ideas, both verbally and through writing. In an increasingly diverse world, the ability to engage in productive discourse is imperative to creating a stronger, more productive society.  

Better Citizens 

Mirroring the diversity on George Mason’s campus, our Mason Core courses encourage students to engage in a variety of perspectives and ideas that cultivate a more rounded worldview. This directly impacts students’ ability to effectively engage in their communities through a better understanding and appreciation of diversity in the world around them. This can help students become more empathetic, inclusive, and tolerant individuals. 

A Better Future 

Through their Mason Core coursework, our students gain skills that are imperative for work, for engaging in the world around them, and for life.