Graduate Policies and Procedures
Some of the key graduate policies and procedures that you need to know are highlighted in this section.
Students may submit appeal requests and supporting documentation to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the following address: Office of Student and Academic Affairs, College of Education and Human Development, Thompson Hall 2200, MS 4B4, Fairfax, VA 22030
Appeal of Academic Action Decisions
Academic Actions are exceptions to published academic regulations or requests for special permission. Examples include declaring a secondary graduate certificate, substitution/waivers to request permission to meet a requirement by using a transferred course or a different course at Mason, and requesting to apply courses taken previously as transfer credit. Students may appeal program decisions concerning academic actions by submitting an Appeal Request Form to the Office of Student and Academic Affairs (SAA) at the address noted above.
If the request is denied by the College, students are afforded one final level of appeal to the Associate Provost for Graduate Education. Procedures for appealing to the Associate Provost are available at: https://provost.gmu.edu/academics-and-research/graduate-education/graduate-student-academic-appeals.
Appeal of Grades
Students may appeal grades that they believe were assigned unjustly or were based on unclear criteria. Grade appeals are accepted until the last day of classes of the following semester (spring for fall grades, fall for spring and summer grades), not including reading days or exam periods. The Provost’s Office does not consider grade appeals, nor does the University Academic Appeals Committee.
Students who would like to contest a course grade should first contact their instructor for clarification regarding the assigned grade, and to ask the faculty member to reconsider the grade, if appropriate. If the instructor chooses to change a final grade, they will submit a Change of Grade form to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs, and note that the reason for the grade change is due to a grade appeal.
If a mutually satisfactory resolution or agreement is not reached with the instructor, the student may submit a formal grade appeal to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs as noted above.
The formal grade appeal should include the following:
- Grade Appeal Request form
- Statement that clearly describes the challenge, concern, or claim; Evidence of support for each challenge, concern, or claim; and the desired outcome for resolution (retake exam, different grade, etc.).
- Examples of the supporting evidence (Blackboard screen shots, sample(s) of work not graded accurately, email conversations, etc.)
- Copy of the course syllabus
- Any other documentation the student feels would support their request
The CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs (SAA) will then forward the grade appeal to the appropriate program level reviewer (Division Director, Academic Program Coordinator or Review Committee). The reviewer will consider all information that was provided by the student, and may gather information from other parties in order to render a decision. Typical review time is three (3) weeks after the appeal was received by the reviewer. The program level reviewer will inform the student of the decision via their Mason email address, with a copy to email@example.com. The reviewer will include in their decision a justification for each challenge, claim, or concern that was noted in the submitted grade appeal. If the student has not been notified of a decision within one month of original submission to SAA, they may submit a status inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the program level reviewer declines to make a decision, they must articulate why they were unable to do so. The grade appeal will then be forwarded to the Office of Student and Academic Affairs for college level review. When this happens, the student will be notified through their Mason email address, by SAA. An additional period of three (3) weeks will be necessary for this third level of review.
If the student feels the grade appeal process was not conducted fairly at the program level, is in disagreement with the program level decision due to misinterpretation of the information that was presented, or has additional information to provide that was not made available for the initial grade appeal submission, the student may appeal to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs by submitting a new Grade Appeal Request form through the same channels as noted above.
College level review may be conducted by the Associate Dean, the Assistant Dean, or the CEHD Appeals Committee. The following factors will be taken into consideration at this level of review: consistency in the review process at the program level and that proper protocols were followed; verification that the student’s challenge, claim or concern, and the evidence that was provided by the student, align with the findings and decision of the program level reviewer; and consideration of any new information that was not previously made available at the time of the program level review.
The college level reviewer will inform the student of their decision, including a justification for said decision, via Mason email, with a copy to email@example.com. If the student has not been notified of a decision within one month of submission to SAA, they may submit a status inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. The college level decision is final and is not subject to further appeal. The instructor will abide by the college level reviewer’s decision, and will submit a change of grade form to SAA, if applicable.
Academic Termination Procedures
According to University policy (AP.6.6.2), graduate students may be flagged for termination if they fail to make satisfactory academic progress as determined by the academic unit or as a result of accumulating unsatisfactory grades in graduate coursework. Students who are eligible for termination may request an exception to academic policy to remain enrolled in their degree program.
The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) academic termination procedures are as follows.
- The Office of the University Registrar (O.U.R.) sends “Eligible for Termination” notice to students via their Mason email. The notice references the academic termination policy and directs students to contact their College if they wish to request an exception to the termination policy.
- The College sends academic termination procedures to students who have been alerted by O.U.R. of their eligibility for termination status via their Mason email. The notice includes a link to the Graduate Termination Appeal form, a contact person in their academic program unit, and a deadline for when the materials (i.e., appeal form, justification statement for an exception to policy, and supporting documentation) are to be submitted to the academic program. Additional information is provided to students who have pending academic actions, such as medical withdrawals or grade appeals, that may reverse their eligibility for termination status.
- The student submits completed materials by the established deadline to the point of contact in their academic program unit.
- The point of contact in the academic program unit distributes the student’s materials to the program-level reviewers (the student’s academic advisor and the academic program coordinator).
- The program-level reviewers make a decision on the request for exception; complete the appropriate section of the Graduate Termination Appeal form; write a “Rationale for Decision” statement; and route all materials, including documents submitted by the student, to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs (SAA) for College review by the established deadline.
- Upon initial review of materials, the College-level reviewers will first determine if other academic actions, such as a retroactive medical withdrawal, are most appropriate. Additional information from the student or the student’s academic advisor may be requested to facilitate this process. College-level reviewers will continue with the review of the exception to academic termination policy if no other academic actions are deemed appropriate or if the student does not respond to the request for additional information by the established deadline.
- The College-level reviewers make a decision on the request for exception to academic termination policy.
If the College approves the exception to academic termination policy, the request for exception materials are routed to the Associate Provost for Graduate Education (APGE) for a second approval. See here for information on the APGE processes of review.
- If the APGE approves the exception, the APGE notifies the College and O.U.R. of the decision. The College notifies the program-level reviewers and the student via Mason email. No further action is required.
- If the APGE does not approve the exception, the APGE notifies the student and the College via Mason email. See here for information on appealing this decision via the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee (GAAC).
- If the student does not appeal to the GAAC by the established deadline, the College will send the student an official notice of academic termination via their Mason email and postal mail. The College will notify O.U.R. to process the termination and administratively withdraw the student from any currently enrolled classes. The student will be directed to Student Accounts to discuss a possible tuition refund. The College will notify program-level reviewers of the decision.
- If the student appeals to the GAAC by the established deadline, see here for information on the GAAC’s processes of review.
- If the appeal is approved, the GAAC will inform the student and the APGE of the decision. The APGE will inform the College and O.U.R. The College will notify the program-level reviewers. No further action is required.
- If the appeal is denied, the decision cannot be appealed any further, and the GAAC will inform the student and the APGE of the decision. The APGE will inform the College. The College will send the student an official notice of academic termination via their Mason email and postal mail. The College will notify O.U.R. to process the termination and administratively withdraw the student from any currently enrolled classes. The student will be directed to Student Accounts to discuss a possible tuition refund. The College will notify program-level reviewers of the decision.
If the College does not approve the EAP for termination, the College notifies the student via Mason email and informs the student of their right to appeal to the APGE within five (5) business days of decision notification. See here for information on the APGE processes of review.
- If the student does not appeal to the APGE by the established deadline, the College will send the student an official notice of academic termination via their Mason email and postal mail. The College will notify O.U.R. to process the termination and administratively withdraw the student from any currently enrolled classes. The student will be directed to Student Accounts to discuss a possible tuition refund. The College will notify program-level reviewers of the decision.
- If the student appeals to the APGE by the established deadline, see here for information on the APGE processes of review.
- If the appeal is approved, the AGPE will inform the student, the College, and O.U.R. The College will notify the program-level reviewers. No further action is required.
- If the appeal is denied, the APGE will inform the student, O.U.R., and the College. The decision cannot be appealed further, and the College will send the student an official notice of academic termination via their Mason email and postal mail. The College will notify O.U.R. to process the termination and administratively withdraw the student from any currently enrolled classes. The student will be directed to Student Accounts to discuss a possible tuition refund. The College will notify program-level reviewers of the decision.
Time Limit Extension Requests
Master’s degree students have six years from the time of initial enrollment in their graduate program to complete their degrees. Students who are unable to meet this time limit may apply for an extension. Students must complete the online form and upload all documents requested, including a timeline approved by the student’s Advisor or Dissertation/Thesis Chair and a letter of support from the student’s Advisor or Dissertation/Thesis Chair that is approved by the Academic Program Coordinator/PhD Program Director. Failure to meet the time limit requirements or to secure approval of an extension request may result in termination from the program.
The College offers a wide variety of graduate certificates that may be pursued in conjunction with another graduate program. Master’s and doctoral students may apply for a secondary graduate certificate by completing the Graduate Secondary Certificate application available on the Registrar’s website. Students must apply for the certificate at least one semester before finishing the requirements of the certificate and graduating from it. Students interested in certificates that comprise licensure coursework should check with their advisor(s) to make certain that they meet all entrance requirements.
A maximum of 3 graduate credits taken at another institution can be transferred into a graduate certificate program. All coursework taken at Mason that counts toward the degree may also count toward one graduate certificate.
Certificate students are subject to graduate termination and dismissal policies. See the University Catalog, Section AP.6.8 for policies regarding graduate certificates.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that gives protection to student educational records and provides students with certain rights. See See FERPA for information on rights and responsibilities. Students who wish to give permission to a university official to release FERPA protected student information to a particular individual must complete the FERPA Consent to Release Student Information form which is on the Registrar’s website.
Graduate students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 to be considered in good academic standing. Students who receive a grade of C or F or have a grade of IN have a notation of academic warning entered on the transcript. Non-degree graduate students are eligible for academic termination if they accumulate 12 credits of unsatisfactory grades in undergraduate courses or grades of F in two graduate courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades (C or F) in graduate courses. Provisionally admitted degree seeking graduate students are eligible for academic termination if they a) fail to meet conditions of admission within time limits, b) fail to make satisfactory progress toward the degree as determined by the academic unit, c) accumulate 12 credits of unsatisfactory grades in undergraduate courses, or d) accumulate grades of F in two graduate courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades in graduate courses. Fully admitted graduate students enrolled in a degree or certificate program are eligible for termination if they fail to make satisfactory progress toward their degree as determined by the academic unit or accumulate grades of F in two graduate courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades (C or F) in graduate courses. See the section below on Appeal of Termination for information on submitting an appeal.
Grades of Incomplete (IN)
Students may request an Incomplete from their faculty member if they are passing the course but are unable to complete all course work for a cause beyond reasonable control. Students who have been granted an “incomplete” must submit all outstanding work by the date given by the instructor but no later than the 9th week of the following semester (not including summer sessions). Unless an explicit written extension is filed with the Office of the University Registrar by the deadline, the grade of IN is changed by the University Registrar’s office to an F (see Incomplete extension form). The maximum IN extension is to the end of the same semester in which it was originally due.
Students who wish to graduate in the same semester in which an IN was posted must complete their outstanding coursework and have the final grades recorded by the University Registrar’s Office no later than 6 weeks after the conferral date for that semester.
Grievances with a professor, class or academic advisor may be referred to the Office of Student and Academic Affairs or the Academic Program Coordinator.
Office of Student and Academic Affairs
email@example.com, (703) 993-2080
Academic Program Coordinators
Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) Program
Rebecca Fox, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-4123
Fred Bemak, email@example.com, (703) 993-3941
Early Childhood Education Program
Debbie Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-4916
Education Leadership Program
Farnoosh Shahrokhi, email@example.com, (703) 993-2009
Educational Psychology Program
Michelle Buehl, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-9175
Elementary Education Program
Audra Parker, email@example.com, (703) 993-9717
Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion Program
Joel Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-7607
Learning Design and Technology Program
Shahron Williams van Rooij, email@example.com, (703) 993-9704
Learning Technologies in Schools Program
Priscilla Norton, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-2015
Jennifer Hathaway, email@example.com, (703) 993-5789
Mathematics Education Leadership Program
Courtney Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-5081
PhD in Education Program
Margaret Hjalmarson, email@example.com, (703) 993-4818
Secondary Education Program
Kristien Zenkov, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-5413
Special Education Program
Pam Baker, email@example.com, (703) 993-1787
- Adapted Curriculum Program
Marci Kinas Jerome, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-8295
- Applied Behavior Analysis Program
Christine Barthold, email@example.com, (703) 993-5450
- Assistive Technology Program
Marci Kinas Jerome, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-8295
- General Curriculum Program
Kelley Regan, email@example.com, (703) 993-9858
Sport and Recreation Studies Program
Pierre Rodgers, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-8317
Brenda Wiggins, email@example.com, (703) 993-2068
Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Exceptional Learners
Joan Shin, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 993-6214
Transformative Teaching Program
Betsy DeMulder, email@example.com, (703) 993-8326
Throughout a student’s program of study at George Mason University, they should demonstrate behaviors that reflect positive dispositions of a professional educator. Dispositions are inferred from a person’s observable actions and behaviors.
At the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), dispositions may play a part in the discussions and assignments of any/all courses in a student’s program (GR) or major (UG). Dispositions are generally evaluated at three points in each student’s program; however, based on observable actions and behaviors, additional evaluations may be required and implemented.
When dispositions are assessed, it is important that for any/all areas where a positive disposition is ‘not proficient,’ the student takes steps to grow as a professional. Violations of professional dispositions may result in a recommendation for termination from the program/major (University Catalog: AP.6.6.2 and AP.5.2.4).
When a professional disposition violation is recorded, the following process is followed:
- Dispositional meetings with faculty:
- Faculty member(s) hold an initial meeting with the student to discuss the professional disposition behavior and develop a plan for remediation, including benchmarks and deadlines. The student’s signature is not necessary if they agree to the plan, however, refusal to sign or acknowledge the plan should be indicated.
- A second meeting is held between the faculty member(s) and the student to evaluate the student’s progress.
- If the student has satisfied the remediation plan, they will be allowed to continue in the program/major and no further action is necessary.
- If faculty determine the student is making satisfactory progress, but hasn’t fully completed the terms of the remediation plan, they have the option to extend the deadline for the plan.
- If the remediation plan is not sufficiently satisfied as determined by faculty evaluators, a warning notice is issued by the leadership of the program, division, or school, which reiterates the importance of professional dispositions; sets a deadline to schedule a meeting with the student’s advisor and/or evaluators; and sets a deadline to satisfy the disposition plan to avoid a recommendation for termination.
- Warning Notice:
- After the warning notice has been issued by the leadership, the student is re-evaluated by faculty as per the criteria and deadline established in the notice.
- Faculty evaluators provide a written update to the leadership regarding the student’s progress on satisfying the remediation plan. The leadership determines if the student has made sufficient progress to continue the remediation plan OR be recommended for termination from the program (GR) or the major (UG).
- Termination Eligibility:
- If it has been determined that the student has not made satisfactory progress toward the remediation plan and the student is recommended for termination from the program, the leadership will send a request to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs (SAA) to initiate termination procedures.
- SAA will formally notify the student of their pending termination and will provide instructions and the necessary appeal form for the student to request an exception to the termination policy, which is every student’s right.
- Exception to Policy Process:
- If the student wishes to submit a request for an exception to the academic termination policy, they are given ten (10) days to submit their request directly to SAA. The appeal packet should include the appeal form, student statement, and any supporting documentation that corroborates the reason for the request. The student statement should provide a rationale for why they were not able to make satisfactory progress toward the remediation plan, OR if the student feels sufficient progress was made, they will be required to provide evidence supporting their claim. All materials should be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If the student does not request an exception to policy during the specified window, SAA will process the termination through the Office of the University Registrar.
- Review/Consideration Process:
- The Dean’s office will review the exception to policy request and render a decision at the College level.
- For graduate students:
- If the Dean’s office approves the exception to policy request, a second approval is required by the Associate Provost for Graduate Education (APGE).
- If the Dean’s office denies the exception request, the student can appeal to the APGE within five (5) business days after receiving the decision from the College.
- If the request is approved by the APGE, the student is expected to resume satisfying the original disposition plan.
- For undergraduate students:
- If the Dean’s office approves the exception to policy request, the student can remain in the major and continue to satisfy the disposition plan. However, the student may be eligible for termination from the major again upon an additional violation.
- If the Dean’s office denies the request, the student may remain at Mason, but will be transferred to an exploratory/ undeclared major.
Credit Overload Request
Students in good standing (GPA at or above 3.0) are eligible to enroll in up to 12 hours of coursework per semester. In exceptional circumstances, students may be allowed to enroll in more credits than the maximum. To do so, they must complete the Credit Overload form found on the Registrar’s website. The completed form should be given to the student’s program office.
In order to be considered for an overload, students must fulfill all of the following criteria:
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher;
- Have completed the prior semester with a 3.5 GPA or higher;
- Have demonstrated in prior semesters at Mason the ability to handle an increased and demanding courseload while maintaining high performance;
- Have no remaining incompletes (INs) from a previous semester;
- Have an established academic history at Mason. First semester graduate students are not allowed to take a course overload.
Students are expected to register for classes prior to the published last day to add. If extenuating circumstances prevent registration by the last day to add, students must request a Late Schedule Adjustment form from the program office and obtain the signatures of the course instructor and the Academic Program Coordinator. If the last day to drop has passed, approval from the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office is also required.
Re-enrollment after Previous Attendance
All graduate students who have not enrolled in at least one credit for two or more consecutive semesters must obtain permission to re-enroll. Students must submit the Graduate Re-enrollment Application, available on the Registrar’s website, to their academic program for review.
Only students who were not enrolled correctly due to a documented university error may retroactively add a course to a previous semester.
Students are responsible for registering properly and paying for all credits by the registration and payment deadlines listed on the Registrar’s website. Instructors do not have the authority to add students to courses, and students are always held personally responsible for verifying the accuracy of their own enrollment before the end of the add period. Being waitlisted for a course does not guarantee a student’s subsequent enrollment in that course.
Reasons NOT considered for retroactive adds include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Failure to enroll officially from a waitlist.
- Failure to add into the course due to a hold of any kind on your account (including parking, library, health, and academic holds).
The CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office requests that any student who is seeking a retroactive addition of a course complete the Appeal Request Form, and provide a written statement and proof of university error as to why the student was not able to enroll in the course in question.
Students who wish to take a course at another regionally-accredited institution must obtain prior written approval and submit the form, Graduate Permission to Study at Another Regionally Accredited U.S. Institution, available on the Registrar’s website at Study Elsewhere-Graduate Students. Students should discuss the request with their advisor to assure that the course will meet program requirements. If the student would like to take a class through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, they should contact the Registrar’s Office for information.
Substitution/Waiver request forms (available on the Registrar’s website, are used to either substitute or waive a degree requirement. For students in the College of Education and Human Development, these requests require a signature from the Student and Academic Affairs Office.
These requests must be completed and signed by a student's major or minor academic advisor. Once the form has been completely filled out, it can be submitted to the Student and Academic Affairs Office for review. If the request is approved, the substitution/waiver form will be hand delivered to the Registrar's Office.
Students are only notified about a substitution decision if the request has been denied.
Completed as Mason non-degree student
Students who have completed coursework as a non-degree student at Mason within six years of enrolling in a degree program may apply to have the coursework count toward their degree. The maximum number of credits for Master’s students to transfer is limited by the residency requirement that requires a minimum of 18 credits in degree status after admission to the degree program. Doctoral students must earn more than half of the required credits in doctoral degree status. Only courses with grades of B or above are eligible for transfer. Students should complete the Graduate Transfer of Credit form available on the Registrar’s website and obtain the signature of their advisor. The form also requires the signature of the Division Director and the Student and Academic Affairs Office.
Completed at another university
Graduate credit completed at another university may be eligible for transfer into a graduate program in CEHD. The credit must have been earned within six years of first enrollment with an earned grade of B or above, and may not have counted toward a degree at the other institution. The maximum number of credits for Master’s students to transfer is limited by the residency requirement that requires a minimum of 18 credits in degree status after admission to the degree program. Doctoral students must earn more than half of the required credits in doctoral degree status. A maximum of 3 graduate credits taken at another institution can be transferred into a graduate certificate program.
Students who wish to resign must complete the form “Voluntary Resignation from Graduate Academic Program” available on the Registrar’s website. Signatures from the academic program coordinator and the Student and Academic Affairs Office in CEHD are required. If the resignation is processed after the drop period, the student receives Ws for that semester and is removed from future registered courses. To enroll after a voluntary resignation, students must submit a new application for admission.
Students may request a withdrawal from classes after the drop deadline for non-academic reasons. Such requests are only considered under exceptional circumstances. Students must provide verifiable, third-party documentation with the request. For questions about documentation, contact the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office at email@example.com.
Withdrawals are typically allowed only for all courses within a semester.
Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Medical - Requests for withdrawals due to medical reasons must be supported by relevant, dated medical documentation. The documentation must show a substantial medical change that arose unexpectedly after the drop period ended. If a student is seeking a partial withdrawal, the student must show why the condition has affected that course (or courses) specifically. Otherwise, only a full withdrawal from all courses in a semester will be considered.
- Employment - Requests for withdrawals due to work-related reasons must be documented by the employer on company letterhead. Only unanticipated and unavoidable changes in employment that occur after the drop date and which result in a direct scheduling conflict with a course (or courses) will be considered. An increased or more stressful workload is not considered a valid reason to request a withdrawal (see the University Catalog, Section AP.1.2, Academic Load).
Withdrawal is Not Allowed
- To avoid an unsatisfactory grade due to academic reasons.
- To correct enrollment errors on the part of the student. (For more information, review "Changing Registration" in the University Catalog.) Students are responsible for all courses in which they remain officially enrolled after the drop period has ended.
Instructors do not have the authority to withdraw students from classes.
Requesting a Non-Academic Withdrawal
- Review all policies pertaining to non-academic withdrawals.
- Fill out a Withdrawal Request Form explaining the specific request and reasons. Only written materials and verifiable, third-party documentation will be considered.
- Submit your completed request and supporting documentation to the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office.
- Submit your request in a timely manner. Timing is very important when submitting a request to withdraw. Delays in submitting requests increase the academic component of the request and can have an adverse effect on the final decision.
- Provide requested documentation in a timely manner. After 30 days, all undocumented requests are automatically denied.
- Continue attending all classes in which you are officially enrolled and complete the required coursework unless you receive written approval from our office for a withdrawal. If permission is granted, you will need to confirm that there are no holds on your record for the withdrawal to be processed.