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 University 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.

2024-2025 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 Contexts (3 credits)
Global History (3 credits)
Literature (3 credits)
Natural Science (7 credits)
Social and Behavioral Science (3 credits)
Just Societies (optional 2024-2025, required 2025-2026)
Integration Courses Written Communication–Upper Level (ENGH 302, 3 credits)
Writing-Intensive (3 credits*)
Mason Apex
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. View our Newly Approved Courses for courses approved during the 2024-2025 academic year.

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 was retired for students entering George Mason starting in Fall of 2023: Western Civilization/World History. Additionally, the Global Understanding, Synthesis, and Capstone categories were retired for students entering George Mason in Fall of 2024. For students looking for Mason Core requirements prior to Fall 2024, please refer to your specific catalog year.

Upcoming Categories

The Mason Core Committee continues to enhance George 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 George 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 2024, the following categories have been added to Mason Core: Global Contexts and Mason Apex.

Exploration-level courses with a Just Societies flag are available beginning in Fall 2024. Starting in Fall 2025, the Just Societies flag will be added as a Mason Core requirement. Students admitted prior to the Fall of 2025 are not required to take courses with a Just Societies flag but may wish to do so to increase their knowledge and skills in this important area. Students interested in this approach to completing their Mason Core Exploration requirements should work closely with their advisor to identify the appropriate Just Societies-flagged courses.