Undergraduate Policies and Procedures
Some of the key undergraduate 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 substitution/waivers to request permission to meet a requirement by using a transferred course or a different course at Mason, credit overload requests, time conflict requests, etc. Students may appeal program decisions concerning academic actions by submitting an Appeal Request Form to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs (SAA) as noted above.
If the request is denied by the College, students are afforded one final level of appeal to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education. The burden of proof rests with the student who must provide clear and convincing documentation to support the contention that the decision was unfair. All documentation must be submitted prior to the last day of classes of the semester in which the original request was made.
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 (SAA), 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 either inform the student of the decision via their Mason email address, with a copy to email@example.com, or provide their decision to SAA, who will inform the student via their Mason email address. Included in the decision will be 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 (SAA) for college level review. When this happens, SAA will notify the student through their Mason email address. 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 previously 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 available to the student 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.
Appeal of Suspension
Students who have been placed on suspension (first or second) may petition for an exception to the policy for academic suspension to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs if some type of extenuating circumstance led to the suspension. An Appeal Request form must be completed, including a statement describing what factors led to the suspension, and submitted with any appropriate supporting documentation to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs no later than one week prior to the start of the semester.
Factors considered by the Office of Student and Academic Affairs when reviewing exception requests to the academic suspension policy may include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Documented reasons for student’s unsatisfactory performance (e.g., illness, unforeseen personal circumstances) and evidence of positive changes.
- The student’s cumulative GPA and number of credit hours successfully completed by the student in previous semesters.
- The possibility of another suspension or dismissal if the student is allowed an exception to policy (see the University Catalog, section A.P.5.2.3).
- Agreement to participate and complete the Academic Success Program with the CEHD Student Academic Success Coordinator.
- Willingness to consult with Learning Services and complete the Academic Skills Certificate Program.
- Willingness to speak with other offices that could help the student improve academically (including the Office of Disability Services, the Counseling Center, the Student Support and Advocacy Center or the Writing Center).
- Willingness to repeat appropriate courses to improve cumulative GPA.
- A well-defined plan of action in which the student states academic and career goals and lists courses necessary to help achieve these goals.
- Confirmation that the issue causing the poor academic performance has been remedied.
If a student is granted an exception to the suspension policy, they are limited to a maximum of 13 credits of coursework (no exceptions) and must meet with their academic advisor and the Student Academic Success Coordinator in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs throughout that semester. A third suspension will result in a dismissal from the university.
Undergraduate students who have been away from Mason for three or more consecutive years are eligible to request academic clemency. Clemency allows for up to 16 credits of coursework from previous semesters to be removed from the calculation of their cumulative GPA. See the University Catalog, Section AP.5.2.9, for the official policy. To be considered for this exception, students must meet all of the following criteria:/
- Be absent from George Mason for a minimum of three consecutive calendar years.
- Complete the Appeal Request form, providing a detailed explanation for why they were unsuccessful in those courses and how they have made changes to ensure their academic progress upon their return. This form should be submitted to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs within 12 months of the first day of the re-enrollment term.
- Meet with the Student Academic Success Coordinator to calculate mathematical feasibility for clemency to put student back into good academic standing.
- If good academic standing is possible, the student will work with the Student Academic Success Coordinator to develop a success plan for their return to Mason.
- Complete at least 6 hours during their first 12 months back at George Mason, at which time the clemency request will be reviewed for approval. If the student did not adhere to the success plan, or wasn’t academically successful, they will be allowed one additional semester to achieve clemency.
- If the student isn’t academically successful after the additional semester granted, the request for clemency will not be approved.
Clemency is neither automatic nor guaranteed.
CEHD undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 and lower are required to participate in the Academic Success Program managed by the Office of Student and Academic Affairs. The mission of the Academic Success Program is to intervene directly with students in academic difficulty who have been placed on academic warning and/or probation. In close collaboration with their academic advisor and CEHD Advising and Retention Coordinator, students will be able to recognize the challenges to their academic success, understand university policies regarding their academic standing, identify resources to support their success, and develop a personal plan for reaching and maintaining good academic standing.
Students who are eligible for Academic Success Program participation will be sent an email to their Masonlive account before the next semester begins describing the program and directing them to meet with their academic advisor and to complete an Academic Success form. A registration hold is placed on the student record for all Academic Success Program participants that prohibits the student from altering the current schedule as well as registering in future semesters. The hold is removed upon completion of the program.
Once students have met with their academic advisor and completed the Academic Success Program form they must schedule the initial meeting with the Retention Coordinator.
For more information, send an email to email@example.com.
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 FERPA for information on your 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 available on the Registrar’s website.
To be in good academic standing, students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. The other standings are warning, probation, suspension and dismissal and are determined by the student’s GPA and number of credits attempted, including transfer credit earned. Students whose GPA is lower than 2.0 should check their transcript in Patriot Web to determine their academic standing and see the University Catalog: Section AP.5.2.3 for information on the GPA ranges that define the academic standing categories.
Grades of Incomplete (IN)
Students may request an Incomplete from their instructor 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 the Incomplete extension form, is filed with the Office of the University Registrar by the deadline, the grade of IN is automatically changed to an F.
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 Office of the University Registrar no later than 6 weeks after the conferral date for that semester.
The college recognizes degree-seeking students who have enrolled in at least six credits in a semester and have earned a semester grade point average of 3.50 or higher by placement on the Dean’s List. Recipients of this honor are emailed in the semester directly following that in which they received the distinction with an official email from the Academic Dean of the college. Students are welcome to print their attached PDF letter for their records.
Grievances with a professor or academic advisor may be referred to the Academic Program Coordinator.
Academic Program Coordinators
Athletic Training Education
Amanda Caswell, firstname.lastname@example.org, x3-9914
Health and Physical Education
Dominique Banville, email@example.com, x3-3579
Human Development and Family Science
Bethany Letiecq, firstname.lastname@example.org, x3-5076
Charles Robison, email@example.com, x3-7115
Brenda Wiggins, firstname.lastname@example.org, x3-2068
Craig Esherick, email@example.com, x3-9922
Brenda Wiggins, firstname.lastname@example.org, x3-2068
Students with grievances in other CEHD undergraduate courses, including courses in Early Childhood Education, Education Technologies, Special Education, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education, should contact the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office at email@example.com for guidance.
Leave of Absence
All undergraduate students who are planning an absence from George Mason must submit a formal request for Leave of Absence with all applicable signatures to the Office of the University Registrar. This form is available at http://registrar.gmu.edu/forms/.
Students do not need to complete the Leave of Absence form if they are participating in a George Mason University sponsored study abroad program or have received permission to study elsewhere.
A student must:
- Be eligible to register for classes
- Be a degree-seeking undergraduate student
- Be registered during the semester immediately prior to the beginning of the Leave Absence
- Have no holds (e.g., disciplinary, financial, etc.) which would restrict registration
- The maximum time allowed for a Leave of Absence is two years.
- A new admission application will be required if a student is away for more than two academic years. Re-admission is not guaranteed.
- Prior approval is required. Advisors approve one-semester requests. Approval by both your advisor and Student and Academic Affairs is required if the leave of absence requested is for more than one semester.
- The Leave of Absence form must be submitted by the last day to drop for the semester in which a leave is requested.
- Students are not permitted to study elsewhere while on a Leave of Absence.
- A student who was admitted as a new first semester freshman or transfer student but did not attend will not be eligible for a Leave of Absence. Instead, he or she must contact the Office of Admissions.
- A student who was re-admitted but did not attend will not be eligible for a Leave of Absence. He or she must contact the Office of Admissions.
- Requests for extensions on a previously submitted Leave of Absence require submission of a new Leave of Absence form.
Re-enrollment after Previous Attendance
Students in good academic standing who have missed one or more consecutive semesters of enrollment (excluding summer term) may re-enter by completing a re-enrollment form available through the Office of the University Registrar. Undergraduate students do not need to submit a re-enrollment form if an approved Leave of Absence is on file. Upon re-enrollment, undergraduate students who do not have an approved Leave of Absence on file will be required to meet new catalog year requirements.
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 2.0) are eligible to enroll in up to 18 hours of coursework per semester. In exceptional circumstances, students may be allowed to enroll in more credits than the maximum. See the Registrar’s Office website, for the Credit Overload form. The form is to be completed and 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 2.3 or higher;
- Have completed the prior semester with a 2.5 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; and
- Must have an established academic history at Mason. Freshmen and transfer students
- In their first semesters 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 Division Director. If the last day to drop has passed, approval from the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office is also required.
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 the course due to a hold of any kind on your account -these may include parking, library, health, and academic holds.
- Failure to process an approved late add form (signed by the appropriate academic program coordinator) through the Registrar's office before the deadline for doing so.
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 into the course in question.
Return from Suspension
A registration hold is placed on the record of all students who are suspended to prevent them from enrolling in future coursework. To return from suspension, students must meet with their academic advisor to discuss course enrollment that will provide the student with the best opportunity to succeed. Students must complete the Academic Advisor Approval form available on the Registrar’s website.
This form will be required for both first and second suspensions.
After the academic advisor has signed the form, it must be submitted to the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office for review and approval before the hold will be removed.
Once enrolled in degree status at Mason, students with fewer than 60 hours of transfer coursework (not including registration through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area or coursework completed through the Center for Global Education) may take up to twelve hours of coursework in CEHD disciplines at another institution. Students with 60 or more hours of transfer coursework are not permitted to take additional coursework in CEHD disciplines at another institution. A student may seek permission for additional hours beyond these limits for summer registration if his/her permanent residence is more than 50 miles from the George Mason University Fairfax campus.
The Undergraduate Permission to Study at Another Regionally Accredited U.S. Institution form may be found at http://registrar.gmu.edu/forms/. This form must be submitted to the student’s advisor and then to the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office for approval by the following required deadlines: August 1st – Fall Semester, January 2nd- Spring Semester and May 1st- Summer term. Submission of this form does not guarantee approval. Catalog numbers and descriptions of courses to be taken elsewhere must be submitted with the request for approval. Per the form, students must obtain advance, written approval from both the Academic Dean’s office for the course and the student’s Academic Dean. Students who enroll elsewhere without advance written permission while enrolled at Mason will not receive transfer credit for the course work taken at another institution unless they re-apply for admission to Mason as transfer applicants and meet all priority deadlines. Re-admission is not guaranteed and transfer credit is awarded based upon course equivalences in effect at the time of re-admission. Freshmen and transfer students in their first semester at Mason are not permitted to study elsewhere. Courses previously attempted at Mason (including withdrawals) cannot be taken elsewhere. Students must be in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in their Mason courses. Upon course completion, students must submit to the University Registrar an official transcript from the visited institution where the coursework was completed. Note that credits accepted for transfer do not compute into any Mason GPA.
See the University Catalog section, AP.1.4 Special Registration Procedures for additional 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. The waiver or substitution is reviewed by the college that houses the major or minor.
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.
The College offers several opportunities for undergraduate students to meet the requirements for teacher licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia. See https://cehd.gmu.edu/teacher/ for information on the options available at Mason.
The awarding of transfer credit is handled by the Office of Admissions at the time of transfer to Mason. Students wishing to appeal for the transfer of additional courses should discuss questions with their academic advisor before submitting one of the following forms to the Office of Admissions.
- Transfer Credit Inquiry Form (PDF). Students should use this form if they are missing any transfer credit from their evaluation. This includes credit by exam such as AP, IB or CLEP. Before submitting this form students should be sure that they have requested official final transcripts to be sent to the Office of Admissions and have read and understood the criteria for credit acceptance policies.
- Transfer Credit Re-Evaluation Appeal Form (PDF). Students should use this form if they have been awarded elective credit for a course and wish to have it re-evaluated as equivalent to a specific Mason course.
PLEASE NOTE: Transfer credit evaluations are considered final upon completion of the first academic year of enrollment. No changes will be made to evaluations after this time.
Undergraduates enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs are eligible to withdraw from a limited number of classes without the dean’s approval and at the student’s own discretion. Students may process a maximum of three such selective withdrawals during their entire undergraduate career at Mason. The three classes may have any number of credits. The academic calendar for each semester will include an open withdrawal period beginning the day after the last day to drop the class and extending through the ninth week. For classes shorter than a semester (14 weeks), the period will be set in proportion to the length of the class.
For more information and instructions on how to submit, see Selective Withdrawal.
Withdrawal for Non-Academic Reasons
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.
If you are granted a withdrawal, it will result in a "W" on your permanent record. These non-academic withdrawals do not count toward your allowed selective withdrawals.
Effects of Withdrawals on Academic Standing
Approved or selective withdrawal results in a grade of W on the student’s transcript for the withdrawn course(s). While a grade of W does not affect the GPA, undergraduate students should note that withdrawn courses are part of “attempted credit hours,” which serve as the basis for the student’s credit level. In the university’s undergraduate retention system, GPA standards increase according to credit level and withdrawals can result in a change in academic standing to probation or suspension. See the University Catalog, Section AP.5.2.3, Student Retention Categories, for more information.