Graduate Policy Resources

Graduate and Academic Expectations

Everything from requirements, to time limits, to grading policies and more are governed by documented policies outlined by the university. These policies may be located in the University Catalog, University Policy, and/or Graduate Student Handbook.

Avenues for researching, applying, and appealing these policies are provided for your quick reference. For inquiries regarding program policies and college or school administrative procedures, please refer to your program or college administration.

Check in with your program.

Individual programs, colleges, and schools maintain policies and procedures specific to their administrative processes. Before embarking on any policy-related activity, be sure to familiarize yourself with your program's order of operations.


Keep Your Handbook Handy

Understanding the rules, regulations, and policies applicable to your graduate career can save you from unexpected headaches down the line. The Graduate Student Handbook outlines the most commonly encountered questions and scenarios faced by Mason's graduate student community.


George Mason University cares about incidents our students may encounter. If you wish to follow the University's official complaints process regarding adverse events not related to academic policy or procedures, please do so using the secure portal found at

Graduate Academic Policies

The university catalog provides information including to graduate studies. AP.6 is the source of information for policies including to:

  • Student Classification
  • Full-time vs. Half-time
  • Academic advising
  • Student status: non-degree, provisional, re-enrollment, resignation, parental leave of absence
  • Credit by exam, reduction, or transfer
  • Graduate academic standing: warning, termination, readmission
  • Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees
  • Graduate certificates' requirements
  • Master's degree requirements: thesis options, time limit, master's thesis, submissions, doctoral students pursuing 1st master's, individualized master's degree programs
  • Doctoral degree requirements: time limit, research skill requirements, program of study, advancement to candidacy, dissertation committee, dissertation registration, dissertation, defense, submission and fees, dissertation and thesis services.
  • Graduate Council
  • Graduate Faculty

Appealing a Grade:

Although faculty members are generally the best judges of student performance, there may be times when a student believes a grade is unfair. In such cases, the student is able to follow an appeal process as outlined in the grading policy section of the university catalog.

Academic Exceptions

Sometimes a student encounters an extraordinary obstacle while pursuing a graduate degree. If that happens, an exception to university academic policy can be requested.  A request for exception does not guarantee the request will be granted. All requests for academic exceptions must begin within your department or academic program for initial approval.