Academic Policies and Forms

On this page you will find handbooks and guides, information about University-wide policies, and the relevant forms for both the Schar School of Policy and Government and George Mason University.

If you have any questions concerning a particular policy or procedure, please contact the Schar Graduate Student Services Office, Suite 560 in Van Metre Hall at, or call 703-993-3762 for clarification, or to schedule an appointment with your academic advisor.

Handbooks and Guides

  • Master’s students are subject to the Schar School Student Guide. To find your respective guide, determined by the term of admission the the master’s program, please visit the Schar Student Guide.
  • Students admitted prior to 2014 in any of the Schar School Master’s programs should see the relevant guide in our Handbook Archive.

University-wide Policies

University Catalog: The university-wide catalog is the sum total of all the policies and procedures of how Mason and each school within the university interact with a student academically. This covers everything from admission to graduation and includes topics such as residency and academic integrity.

Honor Code: Mason shares in the tradition of an honor system that has existed in Virginia since 1842. Mason's Honor System was inaugurated in 1963 when the college was a satellite of the University of Virginia. The code is an integral part of university life. On the application for admission, students sign a statement agreeing to conform to and uphold the Honor Code. Students are responsible, therefore, for understanding the code's provisions. In the spirit of the code, a student's word is a declaration of good faith acceptable as truth in all academic matters. Cheating and attempted cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing in academic matters constitute Honor Code violations. To maintain an academic community according to these standards, students and faculty members must report all alleged violations to the Honor Committee.

Specialized Course Forms

Graduate Internship Program Packet: The Schar School of Policy and Government Internship Program provides an opportunity for students to gain professional experience and skills that will complement their academic program and enhance their career opportunities. The program also is intended to support area organizations by allowing employers to work with graduate students to increase recruiting success.  The internship program is open to all degree seeking Schar School Master’s students who have completed a minimum of 9 credits of required coursework with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students in the MPP and ODKM programs who do not have at least two years of relevant professional experience are required to complete a three-credit internship.

Internship Waiver Packet for MPP and ODKM Students: The MPP and ODKM programs require that all students in the program complete a three-credit internship if they do not have two years of relevant work experience. It is important to contact Duane Bradshaw, Director of Career Development, at if you have concerns about this requirement. If you have a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience, you can apply for a waiver of the internship.

MA in Political Science Project Packet (GOVT 798): As the final requirement in the master’s degree in political science, students complete a substantial research project to demonstrate the ability to conduct original, independent research. This goal can be achieved in by completing a project paper in GOVT 798 or a thesis in *GOVT 799. In almost all cases, we recommend that students take GOVT 798 to fulfill this requirement. The length of the final product will normally be 25-40 pages. The research project paper should build on a research paper completed for a course in the student’s area of concentration and should be completed over the course of one semester. *Students with a high cumulative GPA of 3.8 and above, may pursue a thesis in lieu of GOVT 798. For more information, please review the following: MA in Political Science Thesis Packet (GOVT 799)

PUAD 792 – Advanced Seminar in Applied Public Administration Research Waiver Packet: The MPA program requires that all students in the program complete a three-credit practicum course if they do not have two years of relevant work experience. It is important to contact Duane Bradshaw, Director of Career Development, if you have concerns about this requirement. If you have a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience you can apply for a waiver for the practicum course.

Masters Independent Study Form (POGO 796): Graduate Schar School of Policy and Government students may register for an independent study for 1-3 academic credits with approval of a prior written proposal submitted to their graduate advisor and program director. This course requires a syllabus, work plan, and course deliverables, such as a research paper or business plan. The purpose of the independent study is to allow students to further develop expertise on a topic of their substantive interest that is not available as a regular course offering. Independent work must be done under full-time faculty supervision and with the approval of the program director. Students may take no more than three credits of independent work in one semester and no more than six credits in one academic year. Independent study courses may not be substituted for core courses:

Student Status Forms

The following forms are found on the REGISTRAR’S FORM PAGE:

  • Graduate Re-Enrollment Form: To be completed by Graduate students who have missed two or more consecutive semesters at Mason.

  • Application to Add Certificate to Master’s degree (Secondary Certificate): Current Master’s student in the Schar School, you can apply and earn one of the Schar School Graduate Certificates by completing only two additional courses? All Schar School graduate certificates (see complete list below) are worth 15-credits (5 courses) each; however, if you apply and are admitted to a certificate program while still enrolled in a master’s program, you will benefit from a reduction in credits which will allow you to earn that certificate by completing six (6) credits beyond the credits required for your master’s degree. For more information on curriculum requirements and approved electives, please click on the certificate links below.
  • Graduate Change of Program: This form can be used if a student is switching between degree programs within the Schar School of Policy and Government or declaring a concentration.
  • Transfer Credit (Graduate): We will consider transferring graduate coursework earned from Mason-recognized U.S. institutional accrediting agencies and AACSB accredited programs. Transfer credit may be given for core courses or electives. To be considered for transfer, previous credits must have been earned within six years prior to enrollment at Mason, may not have been applied to a previous degree, and must have a grade of B or higher. See catalog policies AP.6.8AP.6.9, and AP.6.10 for limits on the number of credits that can be transferred or earned outside of Mason for certificate, Master’s, and doctoral programs, respectively. Students should submit a written request to their graduate program’s office to have their transcript evaluated for possible transfer credit. Course descriptions and/or syllabi must be submitted for each course to be evaluated. At the discretion of the program director, the student may be given a waiver of a core course rather than credit for the course. In the case of a waiver, the student is required to make up the credits by taking additional elective credits to complete their degree.

Schar School Course Withdrawal Policy

Withdrawal from Classes: Graduate students may drop from any or all courses during the drop period and withdraw from any or all courses during the unrestricted withdrawal period. See the Office of the University Registrar’s Calendars website for deadlines. After these deadlines have passed, students may request a retroactive drop or retroactive withdrawal. Click here to review the requirements and process to request a retroactive drop. Click here to review the requirements and process to request a retroactive withdrawal. Please reach out to your academic advisor for more information.