Policies and Procedures
The School of Business strives to maintain policies and procedures that are consistent with those of the university, as well as in the best interest of our students.
If you have any questions concerning a particular policy or procedure, please contact the Graduate Programs Office, Room 402 of Van Metre Hall (703-993-8006) for clarification, or to schedule an appointment with your academic advisor.
- Academic Responsibilities and Expectations
Graduate School of Business students are expected to attend all class periods of courses for which they are registered and to meet their academic load as well as maintain their family and professional obligations. It is very important that family members and employers understand the intense nature of this program and provide the graduate School of Business students with a supportive environment.
- Academic Termination
A graduate student is terminated upon accumulating grades of F in two courses, accumulating nine credits of unsatisfactory grades in graduate courses (C’s or F’s), or failing to make satisfactory progress toward degree. The notation of academic termination is affixed to the graduate student's official record. A student who is terminated may not take additional course work at the university unless a new graduate program application has been submitted and the applicant has been admitted to graduate study (see University Catalog policy AP.6.6.3).
- Academic Termination Exception Request
Termination from a graduate program is considered a serious action by the School of Business (SBUS). The school’s faculty recognizes that sometimes extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control may justify granting an exception to the academic termination policy.
- Students eligible for termination may submit a written request for an exception to policy to the SBUS Director of Graduate Academic Services (DGAS). Students should complete the graduate termination appeal form and include the required attachments in the request submitted to the DGAS. The exception request must be received within 5 business days of the academic termination notice. If a student does not submit an exception request by this deadline, the student will be terminated from the school.
- All requests for an exception received within 5 business days will be forwarded to the Chair of the SBUS Graduate Policy Committee (GPC). The Chair will communicate the request to the SBUS Graduate Academic Appeals Committee (GAAC). The SBUS GAAC is comprised of three faculty members from the GPC. If a member of the GAAC has a potential bias related to the request, e.g., has taught the student, that member shall recuse himself and another member of the GPC shall be selected to serve in his place.
- The committee will make an assessment as to whether extenuating circumstances beyond the students control justify granting an exception to the academic termination policy. Extenuating circumstances are extraordinary, beyond a student’s control, and provide a reasonable basis for justifying the student’s academic performance. Reasons related to professional responsibilities are NOT considered extenuating circumstances (e.g., new job, additional responsibilities).
- In-person meeting: In person meetings are not granted for Academic Exception Requests.
- Once a decision is made, the SBUS GAAC will send their decision and rationale to the GPC Chair and the DGAS, who will notify the student of the outcome in writing.
- All requests for exception to termination policy that are approved by the SBUS GAAC must also be approved by the Associate Provost for Graduate Education (APGE). The DGAS will submit the documents reviewed by the academic appeal committee and rationale to the APGE.
- If a request is denied, the student has the option to appeal the denial within five business days to the APGE. Appeals are submitted by the student directly to the APGE (firstname.lastname@example.org). More information on Graduate Education processes can be found here.
- Academic Warning
A notation of academic warning is entered on the transcript of a graduate student who receives a grade of C or lower.
- Applying for Graduation
Graduation is not an automatic process. Students should apply to graduate no later than the application deadline each semester. You must be in good financial standing with the university and have no holds on your account to receive your diploma. Please note that if you have courses left to take in a summer term but are walking in the spring ceremony, you must apply for summer graduation. Learn more.
- Auditing a Course
Graduate School of Business courses may not be audited.
- Change of Final Grade
Once the Registrar has recorded a final grade in a course, it can be changed only in cases of computational error or other justifiable cause approved by the Program Director and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. All changes of final grades must be initiated, approved, and recorded prior to the last day of classes of the next regular module.
- Course Waiver Policy
All graduate School of Business students are expected to follow the curricula established by the School’s faculty. In extraordinary circumstances, the Program Director may waive a requirement of this approved curriculum for individual students consistent with the overall objectives of the program. The waiver request must be submitted in writing to the Program Director one semester prior to when the course is scheduled. However, waivers of a specific course shall not reduce the overall total number of required credits of a program but be replaced by an appropriate course.
- Degree Evaluation
The School of Business utilizes Degree Works as our degree auditing software. Be advised, that the School REQUIRES students to understand how to read and utilize this system.
It is recommended that students utilize the tutorial on the Registrar’s website.
- Degree Requirements
Master’s degree candidates are required to complete all course requirements with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0, which may include no more than 6 credits in which a C is earned. Only graduate-level courses may apply toward the degree.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that gives protection to student educational records and provides students with certain rights.
- For anyone at George Mason to communicate with a third party (including but not limited to parents, guardians, siblings, etc), the student must grant permission by completing a FERPA document.
- Please note, due to FERPA, students must communicate with the university through their official Masonlive email account.
- Final Examination Policy
Final examinations are held at the end of each module or semester. Absence from an examination must be approved by the faculty member. If the absence is unexcused, the grade for the exam is entered as F.
A student whose absence from an examination is excused may take a special examination within a 10-day period on a date to be arranged between the student and the instructor in charge of the examination. If the examination is not taken within 10 days of the regularly scheduled exam date, the grade for the course is entered as F.
- Global Residency
Most graduate School of Business Master’s degree programs include or require a 7 to 10 day international residency. These residencies give students exposure to how business is conducted outside the United States. Meetings with government officials, senior executives, and industry experts provide students with a thorough understanding of the economic and cultural forces that influence global business. The primary benefit of this course is that it provides an international perspective that is firsthand, relevant, and personal. In addition to development of a global network of contacts and friends, one of the goals of this course is to provide students a competitive edge in the workplace.
While travel to the residency is not included, many travel costs during the residency, lodging, and some meals are included in the tuition costs.
Policy states that spouses and significant others may NOT accompany students on the residency for any of our graduate programs.
- Grade Appeals
Although generally the individual faculty member is the best judge of student performance, a student may occasionally believe a grade has been assigned unfairly. Reasons such as missed deadlines, lack of curving, non-use of +/- are not acceptable criteria for appeal.
You should first contact your professor to discuss the grade. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the professor, please contact the Area Chair responsible for the class. The full process for a grade appeal can be found here. If you are unable to identify which area is responsible for your class, please contact the School of Business Graduate Programs Office (703-993-8006).
Please note that the School of Business handles grade appeals only for those classes taught by School of Business professors. If the course in question is taught by another department, you should contact that department for their grade appeal procedure. Also, please note that you may request a delay from the dean in imposing an academic suspension if the results of a pending grade appeal could change your academic status. An approved delay allows you to register while the appeal is in process. See Catalog Academic Policy AP.3.9.1.
Grade appeals must be submitted before the last day of classes for the following semester (spring for fall grades, fall for spring and summer grades).
- Grading System
The university-wide graduate grading system is as follows:
Letter Grade Grade Points Status A+ 4.000 Satisfactory/Passing A 4.000 Satisfactory/Passing A- 3.667 Satisfactory/Passing B+ 3.333 Satisfactory/Passing B 3.000 Satisfactory/Passing B- 2.677 Satisfactory/Passing C 2.000 Unsatisfactory/Passing F 0.000 Unsatisfactory/Passing
- Graduate Assistantships
The School of Business appoints a number of graduate students to graduate assistantships (GA) each year. While helping students cover their expenses, these positions offer outstanding exposure to the School's educational and research programs. All GA positions include a partial tuition waiver as well as a stipend. An assistantship is awarded to select graduate students who demonstrate intellectual promise in the business field through past academic performance, GMAT test scores, and previous relevant work experience. Positions are listed and students apply through this website. Candidates must meet all criteria as stated in the job announcement.
- Honor Code Violation
- Independent Study
Graduate School of Business students may register for an independent study for 1-3 academic credits with approval of a prior written proposal submitted to their graduate degree program office. 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.
- Laptop Policy
Minimum Computing Requirements for Graduate Students
All School of Business Graduate Students must have access to a portable computing device that meets the following minimum standards. Students are required to bring their laptops to class if asked by the instructor. Phones of any sort are not acceptable in place of a laptop.
- Operating System: Windows 10 is strongly recommended.
- Some business courses may require the usage of software that runs exclusively on Windows. In such cases, it is the responsibility of Mac users to create a Windows partition on their devices. Windows 10 is available to all GMU students for free through the Azure Education Portal.
- NOTE: Macs with the M1 CPU (released late 2020) do not support Windows partitions. Students must use a Windows computer or older Mac if class requires Windows-only software.
- For Apple supported partitioning using Bootcamp to install Windows, see: https://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/
- Memory: Minimum 8 GB (recommended 12GB or higher)
- Video/audio streaming capability: For online courses, hybrid courses, or in the event courses need to shift online for extraordinary circumstances, students should have a video camera and microphone that feed or stream audio and video in real-time to or through the internet. Instructors may ask students to activate the camera and microphone for class activities.”
- Hard drive free space: at least 120 GB free space (recommend 250 GB free space or higher)
- Network Capability: wireless capability required
- Minimum Software Recommendations and Resources:
- All Mason students can download Windows operating system from Azure Education Portal
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise (available for free for all students at https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/how-to-install-microsoft-365-apps-for-enterprise-on-your-computer/
- Optional Antivirus Software (links to free software at https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/does-mason-provide-antivirus-software/
- Internet browser (Chrome or Firefox recommended)
- Other software for individual courses may need to be installed
The cost of a computer can be included in the student’s estimated cost of attendance. In order to do this, students must provide a copy of their receipt or purchase order for their computer and submit that to their assigned Financial Aid Counselor.
This can be done once during the student’s academic program.
Students can reach their Financial Aid Counselor via email at: https://www2.gmu.edu/financial-aid/contact-office-student-financial-aid
- Non-Degree Status
Students in non-degree status are not permitted to enroll in graduate School of Business courses.
- Repeating a Course
Graduate School of Business students may repeat a course in which a grade of C or lower has been earned. Permission to repeat the course must be obtained from the Program Director. The procedure for repeating the course will be established by the Program Director. When a course is repeated, all hours attempted are used in the GPA calculation and toward probation or dismissal. The transcript shows both the original and repeat grades, and only one grade per course may be presented on the degree application.
- Study Elsewhere – Consortium
Some graduate School of Business programs allow up to six credits of coursework (typically electives) to be taken from outside the degree program, either in other Mason graduate programs or through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Students submit a written request to the graduate program office with justification for taking the course and must include a course description and/or syllabus. The Program Director must approve these credits before registration. Students need to remember that under Consortium, they become a guest at another university, subject to that school’s regulations and policies. Students who have already transferred six credits taken prior to their enrollment in the degree program will not be allowed to take further courses outside the program. Consortium courses cannot be taken at satellite campuses or online. Consortium courses cannot be taken if a course with similar or matching course description is offered at George Mason.
- Temporary Grade: Incomplete
For causes beyond reasonable control, a student may be unable to complete a course on schedule. In such cases the instructor may assign a temporary grade of Incomplete (IN). If the student fails to complete all requirements in time for the instructor to assign a regular grade by the end of the ninth week of classes in the next semester (excluding summer session), the mark of IN is changed by the Registrar to F. In the case of graduation, IN coursework must be graded by the end of the sixth week following the university degree conferral date. The student is responsible for submitting work to the instructor with sufficient time for its evaluation. Incompletes are given infrequently. Because of the fast pace of the many of the graduate School of Business programs, students are strongly encouraged to complete work within the allocated time frame. While the mark of IN remains on the transcript, it is treated as an unsatisfactory grade and may affect financial aid eligibility and/or contribute to dismissal.
- Time Limit
Master's degree students have six years from the time of first enrollment as a degree-seeking student to complete their degrees. International students attending in F-1 or J-1 status have more restrictive time limits; contact the Office of International Programs and Services for information. Students who are given permission to re-enroll following an absence from Mason may not count the six-year time limit as beginning on the date of re-enrollment. Students who will not meet published time limits because of circumstances beyond their control may petition for an extension. Failure to meet the time limits or to secure approval of an extension request may result in termination from the program. See detailed information regarding how to determine the initial deadline and petition for an extension here.
- Transfer of Credit
We will consider up to 6 credit hours of graduate coursework 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.
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 taken additional elective credits to complete their degree.
- Withdrawal from All Classes
Only with approval by the Program Director may students withdraw from any or all classes after the self-withdrawal deadline, and is permitted only for nonacademic reasons that prevent course completion. Graduate School of Business students who stop attending classes without the Program Director’s approval will receive F’s in all courses. Because of the lockstep nature of the many graduate School of Business cohort-based programs, withdrawal from selected classes will not be approved.
Upon approval of a late withdrawal from classes, W grades are listed for the courses withdrawn from after the drop deadline. Graduate students withdrawing before the final examination period in any module, semester, or summer session forfeit credit for work done in that term. Tuition is not refunded upon withdrawal.