Non-Degree: Explore Graduate Studies

If you are thinking about returning to school for a graduate degree, Mason can help you get started. If you hold an undergraduate degree, you may be eligible to take graduate classes that may later be transferred to a degree program.

Requirements for Applying to Explore Graduate Study:

  1. Review the restricted programs section, and be sure that you are submitting the correct application. Due to the highly competitive admission to several of our programs, please apply only to those programs which are not restricted.
  2. Non-degree applicants not seeking admission to a restricted program must complete the non-degree online application for admission, including a non-refundable application fee.
  3. Request all official transcripts be sent to the Office of Admissions.
  4. Students with a degree from a non-US institution are required to submit the following additional materials: TOEFL Exam - minimum score of 88 (internet-based exam).

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree who wish to take graduate-level courses must meet graduate admission standards. These students will be considered and charged at the graduate level, even if taking undergraduate courses. Individual academic units and majors may have additional requirements for non-degree graduate status. A student cannot graduate or receive a degree in non-degree status. If you only wish to take undergraduate courses, you may apply as an undergraduate and be charged at that rate.

All master’s programs require at least 18 credits be completed at Mason to be considered for graduation, while some graduate programs allow a maximum of 6 credits to be transferred from non-degree status. It is strongly recommended that students who plan to seek a degree from Mason apply for degree status admission well before published deadlines. Nondegree students are expected to meet the same academic standards as degree-seeking students. See Academic Termination in the Graduate Policies section of the Academic Policies chapter (Graduate Academic Standards section) in the University catalog.

Can I take more than one subject type at the non-degree graduate level?

No, admission to non-degree study only allows you to enroll in courses found within the academic unit to which you are admitted. Should you wish to take courses from another Unit, you must request special permission from the Unit to which you are admitted.

Academic Units:

  • College of Education and Human Development
  • Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • School of Law
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • School of Management
  • College of Science
  • School of Public Policy
  • College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Volgenau School of Engineering
  • Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study

College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)

Non-degree status is available for professionals who are interested in taking a limited number of courses without committing to a certificate (with or without licensure) or degree program. Please note that graduate CEHD programs allow a maximum of 12 credits to be transferred from non-degree status.

Prospective students interested in enrolling in a graduate certificate (with or without licensure) or degree program, must apply for graduate, degree-seeking admission. Do not apply to non-degree status. Contact the CEHD graduate admissions office before submitting an application if you are unsure of which application to pursue. Please note that admission application fees are non-refundable.

The Volgenau School of Engineering

Admission for nondegree graduate study is suitable for those who do not want to pursue a degree but are interested in taking graduate level School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E) courses. The following application materials should be submitted for consideration:

Approval for non-degree status does not guarantee admission for a degree program at a later date. Up to 12 credit hours taken in nondegree status may be transferred to an IT&E degree or certificate program, subject to the general rules for transfer of graduate credit. Students who do not register for the term for which they are accepted may have their enrollment postponed for one semester upon written request to the IT&E Graduate Admissions Office, itegadm@gmu.edu.

College of Science (COS)

Non-degree status is available for professionals who are interested in taking a limited number of courses without committing to a degree or certificate program. Up to 12 credit hours taken in non-degree status may be transferred to one of the College of Science (COS) academic programs at a later date. Approval for non-degree status does not guarantee admission into an academic program. For admission into non-degree status, the student should have a 3.00 GPA and a BS degree in mathematics, computer science, engineering, natural science, or a related field. Exceptions are reviewed on an individual basis.

The following materials should be submitted for consideration:

  • COS non-degree application
  • Official transcripts indicating confirmation of a bachelor’s degree
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Resume

The COS nondegree application can be downloaded from the College Of Science website.

School of Public Policy (SPP)

The School of Public Policy (SPP) considers non-degree graduate applications for the Fall and Spring terms only. Please contact the School of Public Policy Graduate Admissions Office at 703-993-8099 if you have any questions.


Applicants to an academic unit that does not list specific application guidelines, should follow the general Requirements for “Applying to Explore Graduate Study” above.