Learning Communities FAQs

Who can join a learning community?

Can I earn credit for being a part of a learning community?

Yes, each of the learning communities provides opportunities to earn course credit. The amount of credits earned varies according to the learning community. 

The Democracy Lab

All Democracy Lab participants will register for GOVT 101 (3 credits).

Undergraduate Research Community 

The URC will be offered in both the fall and spring semesters, and while not mandatory, students are encouraged to participate in both semesters.

Fall semester - 1 credit of GOVT 399
Spring semester - 1 credit of GOVT 399

URC students who choose to complete an Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) project will also earn additional credits for their URAP project. 

International Relations Task Force

The IRTF is a two-semester experience with the spring semester building on the community activities of the fall semester. While not mandatory, students are encouraged to participate in both semesters for the full experience and to obtain the total 4 credits. 

Fall semester - 1 credit of GOVT 399
Spring semester - 3 credit of GOVT 399

How do GOVT 399 credits count?

  • GOVT 399 counts as an upper division credit.
  • You can take up to 9 credits of GOVT 399. 
  • GOVT 399 can be used for your Major Field Courses Requirement
  • The International Relations Task Force incorporates a second 3-credit section of GOVT 399.

Are there prerequisites?

There are no class prerequisites to join any of the communities.

How does the Undergraduate Research Community connect to URAP?

The Undergraduate Research Community is open to URAP participants and any other Schar School student interested in research. Community participants will share their research interests and discuss challenges, develop research skills through hands-on opportunities, and learn from and network with professionals in the research field.

URAP participation is not required to be a part of the Undergraduate Research Community. For those interested in also participating in URAP, that is now available for both Fall and Spring semesters!

Can I select my own topic for the second component of the International Relations Task Force?

Students organize themselves around particular broad topics and have the flexibility to focus on a specific interest within those broad topic areas. For example, if you are part of the task force group working on LBGTQ+ rights and diplomacy, you could focus on studying a particular region.

How do I sign up for a community?

With the exception of the Democracy Lab, you can sign up for a community by registering for the class just like you would for any other through Patriot Web. Look for the appropriate GOVT 399 course section on Patriot Web when registering.

Students interested in joining the Democracy Lab sign up through their housing application with Mason’s Office of Residential Life

What if I have other questions?

We'd love to hear from you! Please email us: