Glossary of Mason Terms

Glossary of Mason Terms

Although you will become a pro in no time, here are a few Mason-specific words that might be helpful to know.

Systems, Websites, & Portals

See myMason (below).
Duo Two-Factor Authentication
Duo two-factor authentication - Mason uses Duo Security to deliver Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) when using applications protected by Mason's Central Authentication Service (CAS) and Shibboleth (Blackboard does NOT require 2FA at this time), and the Cisco AnyConnect VPN. This second layer of protection makes your personal information and Mason’s information less vulnerable. At this time, 2FA is optional for students.
Handshake is Mason's source for jobs (on and off-campus as well as work studies), internships, employment advice, and career fair details. *Additional Resource - Activate your Handshake account and complete your profile to find on-campus jobs, workstudies, and internships!
Mason360 allows you to:
  • Browse through 450+ on-campus student organizations
  • Discover university-sponsored events
  • Connect with other Patriots!
  • Create a personalized profile to connect with and find other students who share similar interests through directory suggestions
myMason portal gives you access to commonly-used Mason resources, including the ones below, in one convenient location. Learn more about myMason.
  • Blackboard Courses
  • Corporate Time
  • Patriot Web
  • Mason email
Patriot Web
Patriot Web is a self-service site where students can:
  • Check their registration status
  • Register for, change, and drop classes
  • Display their class schedule
  • Check grades
  • Update your chosen name
  • Update your pronouns
  • Order transcripts
  • View account summaries and tax information
*Additional Resources -
StarRez is the on-campus housing portal that you use to:
  • Sign-up for on-campus housing
  • Apply for Living Learning Communities (LLCs)
  • Enter maintenance requests.
VPN - The Mason VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that allows your computer to act as though it is on campus, even if it is not by creating a virtual connection between you and a trusted network. When connected to the VPN, you can access sensitive information without worrying about the security of the network you are on.

Course Registration Terms

Degree Works
Degree works is the degree evaluation system that helps students identify graduation requirements for their general education, major, and minor. This evaluation will show details such as unmet and completed requirements.
Linked Section
Linked sections are courses that have lectures with a linked lab and/or recitation component where the student must enroll in both.
  • Pre-requisite courses – courses you are required to complete BEFORE signing up for the course that requires it. May have a minimum grade requirement
  • Co-requisite courses – courses you can complete before OR concurrently with the course that requires it
List of Common Registration Error Messages Override / Registration Override
Override / Registration Override indicates that you have been given permission to bypass certain enrollment restrictions that would otherwise prevent a student from registering for a course. You must contact the course department to receive overrides

After receiving an override, students must still register into the course.

The most commonly used overrides are:
  • Capacity override – allows enrolling in a course section that has reached capacity, regardless of a waitlist option or the student’s waitlist status
  • CRTL/RESTR – allows enrolling in a class that is restricted to certain colleges, majors, or student classification
  • PQTEST – overrides the prerequisite and/or test score error
Priority Date
Priority date is the registration time assigned to each class code in order of completed hours from most to least.
*Additional Resource -  Go to Patriot Web to verify your registration time and to make sure you have a record free of holds that prevent registration.
Time Ticket
Time ticket is the time you are assigned to register for classes for the following semester.
  • New Undergraduate students (Freshman and Transfer) will be assigned a time ticket after registering for an orientation
  • Continuing students are assigned a time ticket for their class code (GR, SR, JR, SO, FR, ND) that allows access to registration based upon the number of completed hours from most to least.  This registration time ticket indicates the first available time a student may begin to register for the term.
*Additional Resource - Watch a tutorial on How to Find Your Registration Time Ticket in Patriot Web.

When you Waitlist a class, you are indicating your intent to register for a class that is already full. Once you are on the waitlist, the waitlist shows your position on the “backup” list of students attempting to get into the course. As students drop from the course, students on the waitlist will advance on the list to fill vacated seats.


  • You are NOT automatically registered from a waitlist into the class you are waiting for
  • Waitlist overrides (see definition above) are issued when seats become available and remain on your account for 48 hours
  • The overrides are removed if you do not use them within the 48 hour period

How To Register for a Class That is at Full Capacity

  1. Waitlist the Class
    See the Registration Process PDF (pages 1-7) for instructions on how to waitlist a class.
  2. *Notes
    • Not all courses offer a waitlist
    • The system will recognize you as “registered” for that specific time and day even if you are only on the waitlist. You cannot register for another section of the same class, or an alternate class occupying the same day and time as a waitlisted course.
  1. Check your position on the waitlist in PatriotWeb. If/when a spot opens up and it is your turn, you will receive a Waitlist Override Notice via email and in Patriot Web.
  2. When you receive an Override Notice, move yourself from the waitlist to the class roster.
    See the Registration Process PDF (pages 8-11) for instructions on how to use your Waitlist Override to signup for the class.
    • You are NOT automatically registered from a waitlist
    • Waitlist overrides are issued when seats become available and remain on your account for 48 hours
    • The overrides are removed if you do not use them within the 48 hour period

University Offices

Academic Affairs
(Student) Academic Affairs serves as the central source of information for current academic policies and procedures. This office provides the following tools and guidance to help students achieve their academic and personal goals:
  • Coaching
  • Advising
  • Transition courses
Accessibility @ Mason
Accessibility @ Mason provides information regarding:
  • Physical access of all campuses
  • Online accessibility of programs and services
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is made up of the Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment (CCEE). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ Resources Center, and the First Gen+ Center, and provides programs and services focused on:
  • Student advocacy
  • Direct student support
  • Strengthening equity and inclusion at George Mason University
These units, which focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, advise and foster opportunities for affirming the indivisible aspects of all our identities including:
  • Identity development
  • Cross-cultural engagement
  • Inclusive learning communities
OSCAR stands for Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, & Research and:
  • Is home of undergraduate research and creative activities at Mason
  • Connects students who want to pursue a research or creative project with faculty mentors
  • Promotes George Mason University’s research and creative mission
  • Is located in the Johnson Center room 228
OSCAR supports student by:
  • Funding student research and creative projects
  • Supporting student travel to present their projects
  • Helping students find research and creative opportunities
OSCAR programs (listed below) are open to all Mason undergraduate student, regardless of major, year, or financial status:
  • Undergraduate Research Scholars program
  • Summer Team Impact Projects
  • Undergraduate Student Travel fund
  • Mini-Grants
  • All research-based courses
*The Research Assistant Program is only open to work study students
PAC (Patriot Activities Council) is the student programming board of student leaders and volunteers who work to bring fun events to the campus community. PAC ignites school spirit by hosting DIY activities, concerts, carnivals, and off-campus excursions.
Registrar's Office
Registrar's Office is responsible for maintaining student records. Mason’s Office of the University Registrar serves as stewards of academic information by creating, maintaining, certifying, and protecting student courses, degrees, and student records.
Student Fiscal Services (SFS)
Student Fiscal Services (SFS) is the office at Mason that manages :
  • Accounts and Loan Management (Collection)
  • the Cashier’s Office
  • Refunds
  • Student account information
  • Student billing
  • Student tax reporting
  • Third-party billing
University Life
University Life is made up of offices and organizations that support students throughout their academic careers. UL offices include:
  • Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment (CCEE)
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Disability Services
  • First-Gen+ Center
  • Housing and Residence Life
  • International Programs and Services (OIPS)
  • Learning Services
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Resources Center (LGBTQ+ Resources Center)
  • Mason Recreation & Sports
  • New Student and Family Programs
  • Student Health Services
  • Student Involvement
  • Student Success Coaching
  • the Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC)
See the full list of University Life Offices.

Financial Aid Terms

The COVID-19 CARES Act is part of federal government COVID-19 emergency grants provided to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. CARES Act Eligibility: Incoming students are not eligible for CARES Act because they were not enrolled at George Mason University at the time of the COVID-19 outbreak (Spring 2020). *Additional Resources
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – Filling out the FAFSA will help determine a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. Undergraduate students must apply for FAFSA to receive:
  • Federal government aid (grants, work studies, and loans)
  • State grand funds
  • Institutional grant funds
*Additional Resource - See How to Apply for Financial Aid for more details.
Grants are financial awards that are based on demonstration of financial need and do not have to be paid back. Students must submit a FAFSA for the appropriate aid year to be considered for any of these grants. The Federal Pell Grant:
  • Is awarded to undergraduates earning their first bachelor’s degree
  • Eligibility is determined by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your enrollment status
  • Maximum award is set annually by the US Department of Education. A minimum of 12 credits each semester is required to receive full eligibility, with pro-rated amounts for less than full time enrollment
Loans are money that you or your parents borrow and repay with interest. Some loans require a demonstration of need, others do not. Types of Federal Direct Loans:  
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan: based on financial need. The federal government pays the interest during in-school, grace and deferment periods, for a maximum of six years if you borrowed your first loan in 2013 or later. Once you have exhausted your 6 years of interest subsidy on your Federal Subsidized Loan, interest will be begin accruing on this loan.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: not based on financial need. The federal government does not pay the interest for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The accrued interest is automatically capitalized into the loan principal.
Scholarships are awards that do not have to be paid back and are based on student performance and talent. Some scholarships consider financial need when determining eligibility.
(Federal) Work-Study is a financial aid program that allows eligible students to earn money toward their educational expenses by working a part-time job at one of the George Mason campuses. The work-study program is administered by Campus Work-Study Coordinators and the College Financial Aid Office.