FAQ

General Questions for the BAS Program

Is the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree (BAS) a valid, recognized degree?

Yes. Programs that are a part of the Mason BAS degree will fill a specific niche, addressing significantly increasing demands in growing fields while producing graduates equipped with quality knowledge and skills to advance in their careers.  While this program may meet the demands for a fast track degree completion program, it must also maintain programmatic integrity by meeting all expectations for a Mason degree, including general education, upper-level degree requirements, and competency development.

How will this degree benefit me?

The BAS degree articulates well with the specialized applied associate degree programs, providing a streamlined path to completion of traditional academic requirements leading to the baccalaureate degree. This degree meets students’ professional and personal goals while developing a depth of knowledge and proficiency of skill that translates well to the workplace.

How many of my credits will transfer to George Mason?

The Office of Admissions at Mason will evaluate your transfer credits after you are admitted to Mason and have submitted your enrollment deposit. To see how your courses might transfer to Mason, please visit the Online Adult Student Information Service (OASIS) Transfer Search Engine.   This tool is designed to assist you in evaluating which of the course credits taken at a previous institution(s) can potentially be transferable to Mason. It can also help you assess which adult learning program and concentration might be a good fit for you. For further credit evaluation and determination, please consult with the academic advisor for your concentration.

What other types of credits will be accepted into the BAS Program?

The BAS program allows students to receive college credit for learning acquired through a variety of nontraditional methods such as nationally recognized programs like:

  1. College Level Examination Program (CLEP),  when the particular exam has been approved for Mason credit. See the approved CLEP Examination  list. A maximum of 45 maximum credits can be earned through exams. Students may not take CLEP exams for credit once they have matriculated at Mason.
  2. Certain university approved industry, government, or military training credits if such credits are indexed and recommended as college-level credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). To be eligible for Mason credit, training and course specifics must exactly match what is in the ACE guide and be approved for Mason credit. The specific credits must also be approved by the program director and the dean. A maximum of 45 maximum credits can be earned through ACE-approved training. A maximum of 60 total combined credits can be accepted for exams and ACE-approved training. For example, if 45 credits are accepted by ACE-approved training, a maximum of 15 credits can be accepted for exams. Students may not take these courses for credit once they have matriculated at Mason.
  3. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credits are demonstrated by portfolios for life experience/experiential credit subject to approval by the program director and the dean (30 maximum credits).
  4. To inquire about education benefits for military personnel, please visit the Office of Military Services  or call (703) 993 – 2428.

Can I apply if I am under the age of 25?

Recognizing that transfer students present a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, students younger than 25 may petition* the Admissions Committee to be considered at a younger age if they meet the following criteria:

  • Have been conferred a VCCS Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree
  • Have a 2.85 or higher cumulative grade point average
  • Have completed ENG 111 and a Mason Core equivalent Quantitative Reasoning with grades of C or better in each course
  • Have no previous suspensions or dismissals

*Note: Applicants under the age of 25 will automatically be considered for the petition upon application to the University. No separate application or forms are required.

 

The Mason Online Experience

 

Are all courses available online?

All courses for the BAS concentrations in Cyber Security, Technology and Innovation, and Defense Information Systems Technology are available online with asynchronous delivery. Courses offered online can be searched at the courses tab on the Mason Online website. Mason offers a variety of online education methods that may require real time participation, coming to a campus for part of the course, and/or testing in a proctored setting.

How much do online courses cost?

The cost for the online education classes is the same as for in-person courses. The Student Accounts Office will help you determine tuition and other costs. Some online courses may require a fee to help provide the necessary software, support, and technical assistance needed to manage and assure quality in the online education experience.

How do I see the GMU catalog for course details?

You may go to the Mason online catalog at http://catalog.gmu.edu.

How do I register for an online course?

After submitting your enrollment deposit and attending orientation, you may register for courses in PatriotWeb.

For a tutorial video, view the Online guide to registration and using Patriot Web.

Can I use online courses toward programs at other schools?

Acceptance of transfer credit is determined by the receiving school, so you should check with the receiving school.

What do I need to do to be successful in a Mason online course?

In order for you to be successful in a online course, you will need to have: (a) adequate time to prepare and participate in the course, (b) technical competency, (c) a dependable computer and internet connection, (d) an open mind to gain knowledge and meaning from their experiences, (e) the ability to participate in high levels of collaboration with the instructor and other students, and (f) a willingness to work in a self-directed manner through times of uncertainty as knowledge and skills are acquired. The skills needed to be successful in an online course are similar to those needed in a face-to-face course and in life.

Can I take an online education course at my own pace?

As in any other class at Mason, professors set regular deadlines for assignments in each course that you will need to meet.  Most courses have weekly or biweekly deadlines for preparation and response assignments such as readings, discussion posts, and quizzes. Because student interaction and sequential learning are important for learning, your timely participation in discussion boards, written assignments, group projects, testing, and other standard evaluation methods is crucial to your success. See the syllabus or consult with the professor for details.

Online education courses require a great deal of SELF-DISCIPLINE and SELF-DIRECTION for your success.  You will want to create, in writing, a brief study plan that helps you schedule enough time each week to log on and to work independently to meet the course objectives.  Time on task, quality of all assignments, and quiz and other testing grades are monitored in a number of ways to help assure your success.

How long do I need to work on each class?

You should plan on logging in a minimum of 4 days per week to stay current with course announcements and discussions. Students generally spend 8 to 12 hours per week for each online class. This includes reading the textbook, participating in course discussions, completing homework assignments, and taking tests. This is similar to the recommendations for a face-to-face class.

You will want to plan this time on a calendar and make sure that you have a work space where you may complete all of the requirements for the course prior to signing up for any distance education course.  You will want to schedule more time in the first few weeks of class to get oriented to the distance environment, adjust your “living” schedules to be successful, and get assistance from the Mason community through e-mail, calls, and onsite visits if needed and possible.

If the course is synchronous, you will arrange your schedule to be online during the entire class time as posted in the syllabus, as well as scheduling time for completing assignments.

Do I have to log into class at a specific time?

Some courses may have a “synchronous” component that requires specific log-in times; others may also require some onsite classroom or group work. Check the syllabus prior to the start of the class term. If you have to log in for office hours, group presentations, or other assignments, you will be able to plan your schedule by checking the syllabus and building in that time into your workday at the beginning of the semester.

Are online students able to participate in a class?

Much of the communication between teaching staff and students takes place via e-mail and the course website for local as well as distance students. The format of each course varies but most courses have a discussion board, chat rooms, blogs, and other electronic communication tools to foster dialogue among students and teaching staff. You can look at the course website to get a sense of how the course is run or contact the instructor via e-mail with more specific questions.

How do students interact online?

Courses at Mason are delivered in a number of formats.  Some courses are offered via teleconferencing.  Other courses are offered in a hybrid model, requiring some classroom attendance, and some courses are offered fully online.  Students usually interact using email or discussion boards. Each discussion board is organized into “discussion threads” so that you can see the questions asked, student responses, and faculty comments. The instructor may post or request students to post questions or comments to be considered, monitor the thoughtfulness and depth of the responses, and help to summarize and clarify as needed. The discussion board is key to student success in any online course.  You will want to use your best thinking, writing, and evidence when participating in discussion board assignments.

Do students have to work in groups?

Many courses do have some required group work, although most homework assignments are completed individually.  Working in groups in an online environment will require each student to demonstrate in writing how they have met the objectives of that assignment.  To that end, it is important to carefully consider your time commitment, accessibility to classmates, and ability to participate fully in group assignments.  Generally, student groups collaborate using online technologies.

How many students are in each class?

Class size varies by discipline and level (i.e., undergraduate/graduate).  You may check with your faculty member before class starts if you are concerned. Sections may be larger depending on the type of course offered, the number of faculty and other staff assigned to the course, and, the interest and needs of students.

How do I take online tests?

Online tests are taken at the student’s computer. Exams might be timed, or they may be in the form of an essay or project and due within a longer time period (such as several days to a week).  You will be authenticated by logging into the system and, in doing so, are verifying your understanding of the Mason Honor Code and requirements for original work.  Additional verification, campus or proctored testing, or other procedures may be required by the faculty member.  Please review the syllabus and check with your faculty member prior to the start of the class should you have questions about testing.

Are exams proctored?

Some tests may require proctoring.  Refer to the syllabus prior to checking with your faculty regarding testing.  Testing may be fully online, require coming to a Mason campus, or may require a proctored test site.  Please note that all exams are subject to the Mason Honor Code.  In logging into a course and taking an exam you are verifying that you are the person taking the exam, and that you have not used any materials to assist you with the test unless prior approval is obtained in writing, or, as stated in the syllabus.

 

Advising

How do I contact my academic advisor?

If you have not yet declared a concentration within the BAS program, please email us at bas@gmu.edu for guidance.  If you have declared a specific major within this program, please visit the advising page for a list of concentrations and academic advisors.

Does Mason have a forgiveness policy for unsatisfactory grades?

When calculating a student’s cumulative GPA, if a course is repeated, only the new grade will be used in this calculation.

What are academic warning, probation, suspension, and dismissal?

An undergraduate student who earns a cumulative GPA of less than a 2.00 will be put on academic warning, probation, or suspension. Your attempted credit level will determine the degree of academic restriction. A student’s attempted credit level consists of credits passed, credits failed, credits withdrawn, transfer credit, AP and IB credit, and any other credit the student earned through credit by testing. A warning and probation both result in a restriction of 13 credits for the following semester. Following a first suspension, students cannot take courses for two academic periods unless it is imposed at the end of a summer term in which case the student will be unable to enroll for the fall semester, but can return for the spring semester. If a student receives a second suspension, that individual will not be allowed to take courses for one full academic year. A third suspension will result in the student being dismissed from the university.

How does the 13 credit limit work?

Undergraduate students who earn a GPA of less than 2.00 and are still eligible to enroll, may register for a maximum of 13 credit hours for the following spring or fall semester. All undergraduate students who are returning from suspension in a fall or spring semester may take a maximum of 13 credit hours and must meet with an advisor before registering.

What is full/part/half time credit load?

Undergraduate students are considered full time if they are registered for at least 12 credit hours. Part time undergraduate students are registered for fewer than 12 credit hours. Half time undergraduate students must be registered for a minimum of 6 hours.

What are the guidelines for taking courses at other institutions?

In order to take courses elsewhere, students must receive prior approval from the appropriate department or dean. The Study Elsewhere Form can be obtained by visiting the Registrar’s website. The form must be signed by an advisor and then submitted with any required documentation to the Student Affairs office of the student’s academic department.

Can I test out of any courses?

Mason offers a limited number of departmental exams for credit that will permit you to test out of certain courses. These options can be located by visiting Credit by Exam: Departmental Exams at http://admissions.gmu.edu/exams/examDepartmental.asp

What are holds on my record and how do I get them removed?

Holds on your record can be but are not limited to academic holds, financial holds, library fines or parking fines. When you have a “hold” on your record you are not able to adjust your schedule in any way. In order to have the hold removed, you will need to contact the appropriate office or department. You can check for holds on your account by going to PatriotWeb.

I have a learning disability. How do I get help?

You will need to establish that you are eligible to receive the appropriate services and accommodations by opening a file with the Office of Disability Services. You may contact them at 703-993-2474 to set up an appointment.

How do I find my grades and what does NA, NC, and other codes mean on my grade report?

To access grade reports, log onto Patriot Web at http://patriotweb.gmu.edu. An NA represents failure of a course due to never attending class. NC represents no credit for a completed course. To find the meaning of other grade notations see the university catalog section on the Grading System.

If I don't attend for a semester, do I have to re-apply?

If you plan to take time off from your degree completion, you will need to complete a Leave of Absence form prior to leaving Mason. Your account will remain active for one academic year. If this form was not completed in advance of leaving Mason, the you will have to either re-enroll or re-apply, depending on your situation. Contact your advisor with any questions.

What is an academic action?

Some examples of academic actions include: asking for permission to take courses at another institution, withdrawing from a course(s) after the drop deadline, a late add, other schedule adjustments, and credit overload approval. In order to initiate an academic action request, contact your advisor.

I want to take a credit overload. How do I get permission?

To obtain permission for a credit overload (over 18 credits) you must contact your advisor and complete the appropriate request form.

I got an incomplete from my professor. What can I do now?

If you received a grade of incomplete (IN) in a class, you need to contact your professor and determine what you need to do to make up the incomplete work. You must complete all the required work by the deadline (found on the academic calendar on the Registrars website), and the instructor must turn in the final grade by the end of the tenth week. Grades of incomplete are changed to a grade of F if the final grade is not submitted by the professor by the deadline unless an explicit written extension is filed by the faculty deadline. The maximum extension of an IN is the end of the same semester in which the grade was originally due. Students who have filed an intent to graduate have only six weeks from the date of degree conferral to resolve any incomplete grade(s) and have the final grade(s) recorded by the Registrar’s Office.

Grades of Incomplete (IN) are treated as unsatisfactory grades (F) in determining warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal. Removal of a grade of incomplete may result in a retroactive elimination of these conditions.

What GPA do I need to be on the Dean's List?

Degree seeking students who take at least six credits in an semester and earn a semester GPA of 3.50 or higher merit placement on the Dean’s List.

I need information about AP, IB, or CLEP credits. How can I find it?

Information about credit by examination is available in the University Catalog, but the most current information can be obtained from Academic Credit by Exam at http://admissions.gmu.edu/exams/

 

Technology and Support for Distance Education

What technology is required?

Please check the course syllabus for specific software requirements.  All students will need regular, reliable, secure access to a computer with these minimum specifications:

You will need a GMU email account (specifically one ending in @gmu.edu or @masonlive.gmu.edu) in order to participate in any courses at GMU.  Please review the GMU orientation presentation for more information about how to activate a GMU e-mail account.

Many courses use Courses/Blackboard. All Courses/Blackboard sites must be accessed at mymason.gmu.edu.   To use this, you will need to enable pop-up windows in your browser.  Some courses use content requiring a Flash Player, a media player, and Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Other hardware or software may be required of your course or program and is available for purchase at Patriot Computers (the University’s computer store). Check the syllabus for your course or contact the instructor prior to the start of the course to find out about specific technical requirements for your class.

What happens if I have a technical problem?

Technical support is available through the ITU Support Center.  You will want to check with the support center prior to asking your faculty how to fix a computing problem.  Our experts can be found at (http://itusupport.gmu.edu/.) or reached by phone at 703-993-8870 during business hours.  After hours outages will be posted on the Mason website, and faculty members may send other updates via e-mail should unexpected technology problems occur.

How do I receive my books?

In order to enroll in a Mason online course, students are required to have the assigned textbook(s).  Books may be ordered after a student registers for a course online via the Mason bookstore. You may also purchase text books from online book vendors.  You will need to be registered for a course in order to use the GMU bookstore link listed.

How do I use the library?

There is a library section in the online classroom which links you to the online library resources.  Online tutorials can be found at (http://library.gmu.edu/education/students/tutorials.html).  Mason subscribes to a number of online databases so students can search and access articles and reference books at no charge. Students are also provided the telephone and emails of librarians in the Mason University system so they can ask for reference and research assistance (http://library.gmu.edu/).

Who teaches distance education courses?

The same faculty who teach in-person courses teach online courses at Mason.

How do I contact my faculty member?

You will be able to contact your faculty member via email and telephone. Each instructor has posted office hours.  However, students may email the instructor at any time.  Faculty may have regular online office hours as well.  Read the syllabus and use the course website to communicate.  Most courses request that you post a bit about yourself on a discussion board during the first few days of a class.  Remember that some information is public and some is private.

 

BlackBoard

What is the myMason Portal?

The myMason portal puts the resources that Mason staff, faculty and students use in one convenient and easy-to-find location.  The myMason Portal consists of several tabs that are located in the upper right hand corner, some tabs also have sub tabs for each area.  Depending on your role(s) at the university you will have access to multiple tabs such as Courses, Organizations, HR, and Help to name a few.  On each tab, information is organized through customizable content modules.

How do I access my Blackboard courses?

All Blackboard courses you are registered to take are available through the Courses Tab in the myMason Portal.

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How do I customize the portal?

The portal can be customized several ways to make it the most effective and efficient learning tool for YOU the user.  Each tab within the portal contains information based on your role at the University.  You can customize the information by adding modules, rearranging the placement of the content modules and/or personalizing the color scheme of the tab.

Important Dates