Office of Global Strategies

Global Register

Academic Life at Mason Fairfax

Student Responsibilities

Student responsibility and intellectual integrity are fundamental aspects of US higher education.

Personal Responsibility

The University considers all matriculated students as adults, regardless of age. As such, we work directly with you (not your parents) in all official university business and activities. Mason must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We must have your written permission to release any information from your education record to a third party, even to your parents. More information about FERPA is here:

Academic Integrity and Honor Code:

The Office of Academic Integrity website outlines academic expectations, describes how violations of these expectations are handled, and explains consequences when students are found responsible. To promote a stronger sense of mutual responsibility, trust, and fairness among all members of the Mason community, and with the desire for greater academic and personal achievement, the student members of the university community have set forth this honor code:

“Student members of the George Mason University community pledge not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, or lie in matters related to academic work.”

The Office of Academic Integrity (OAI) works with members of the faculty to inform members of the Mason community about the Honor Code and to oversee the hearing process when students are charged with Honor Code violations. Information about the Honor Code, hearing process, and consequences for students found responsible for violations can be found on the OAI website:

Personal Independence

US college students are given autonomy in their day-to-day activities. You are responsible for attending classes, meeting deadlines, completing assignments, and seeking help when you need it. There is no curfew in the residence halls. You are expected to manage your time to ensure that you get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise.


Seek assistance and ask questions. There are many resources available to you, but you need to take the initiative to find them. If you are confused about where to find help, a good place to start is with your residence hall advisor (RA) or in the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS).

Student Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is not the same as the Honor Code. While the Honor Code governs academic matters, the Code of Conduct governs all conduct and behavior. You are responsible for knowing your rights and responsibilities as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. Please review this document.

Student Academic Standing

Academic expectations and policies. The university’s minimum standard for satisfactory academic achievement is 2.00 on a 4.00 scale. Students with at least 7 attempted credits and a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 fall into one of three categories: warning, probation, and suspension. All notations of academic standing are included in a student’s permanent record.

Full-time status. If you enter the US on a student visa (F-1) you must be full-time (take 12 credits) every fall and spring semester. You may not enroll in more than one online course in a semester; a course is defined as online if more than 50% of the classes are online. Always meet with an OIPS advisor before you drop a class.

Academic Difficulty/Academic Probation/Failure

If you experience academic difficulty, for example if you cannot understand the professor’s lectures, or if you receive a poor grade on an assignment or an exam, seek help right away, and continue to ask for help until the problem is resolved. Do not wait until the situation becomes increasingly difficult. You should consult with faculty members, with your academic advisor, and with the staff in Learning Services, who can assist you in making the changes you need to overcome your problems.

Any undergraduate student may be reviewed for possible termination by the dean of his or her school or college. Termination from a major—or from all majors in a college—may be imposed if a student has not been able to pass a class after several attempts or if there is other evidence that the student is not able to make adequate progress toward completion of the major.

For more information about termination from the major, academic suspension, and academic dismissal, visit

Maintaining Your F-1 Status in the US

The Office of International Programs and Services manages the University’s compliance with immigration regulations, including SEVIS. You are responsible for maintaining your own legal status in the US, including learning about and understanding the regulations. Here are the important parts of maintaining F-1 status:

  • Keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future. If you lose your passport or if it will expire, consult with your embassy to renew it.
  • Make sure that your I-20 is accurate, and that it does not expire. If any information on your I-20 form is incorrect, consult with an OIPS advisor. This includes the personal information about you, your major, your degree level, your expected date of completion, and the financial information on the form. The I-20 expires on the expected date of completion in section 5, so if that is incorrect, see an OIPS advisor right away.
  • Register for a full course load (12 credits) each fall and spring semester.
  • Attend class, and keep up with your academic work. If your professor grades you “SA,” meaning “Stopped Attending,” you could be in violation of your F-1 status.
  • If you decide to accept employment (work), make sure you do so legally. For on-campus employment, this means no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, and only after receiving an “On-Campus Employment Certification” from an OIPS advisor. Off-campus employment is rare, and it always requires authorization in writing.

Student Progress Tools

  • The University catalog ( includes information about policies, graduation requirements, and course descriptions. The catalog is updated annually. You must complete the degree requirements in effect during the catalog year that you matriculate.
  • Patriot Web account ( Patriot Web is a portal to your academic record and personal profile information. You use Patriot Web to register for classes, view and request transcripts, view grades, view your student account, and monitor degree progress via DegreeWorks.
  • The university will use your email address for all official correspondence. Please check this email account regularly.

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