Mason Core Course Categories

The Mason Core is divided into three sections: Foundation, Exploration, and Integration.

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 current course categories. Click on the category name to see approved courses for that category.

2023-2024 Catalog Categories

Mason Core SectionCourse Categories
Foundation CoursesWritten Communication–Lower Level (ENGH 101, 3 credits)
Oral Communication (3 credits)
Quantitative Reasoning (3 credits)
Information Technology and Computing (3 credits)
Exploration CoursesArts (3 credits)
Global History (3 credits)
Global Understanding (3 credits)
Literature (3 credits)
Natural Science (7 credits)
Social and Behavioral Science (3 credits)

Integration Courses Written Communication–Upper Level (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.

Please refer to the current catalog for approved Mason Core courses and accurate course descriptions

Previous Catalog Years

Students should always refer to their catalog year and speak with their advisor to ensure they are meeting the correct requirements. The following category is retired for students entering Mason starting in Fall of 2023: Western Civilization/World History. For students looking for Mason Core requirements prior to Fall 2023, please refer to your specific catalog year.

Upcoming Categories

The Mason Core Committee continues to enhance Mason’s general education program to better prepare students to be scholars and citizens who thrive in a diverse, global world. The targeted goal of these enhancements is to integrate diverse, global perspectives into the Mason educational experience. These updates include a variety of category transitions, as well as an added flag within the Exploration category.

Global History was the first course to move into Mason Core, replacing Western Civilization/World History for incoming students. Starting in Fall of 2024, the following categories will be added to Mason Core: Global Contexts, the Just Societies flag, and Mason Apex. Read more about our Mason Core enhancements and check out our FAQ page.