Students attending George Mason may pursue full-time or part-time study. Unlike many other law schools, the full-time and part-time programs stand on equal footing. During the first year, students enrolled in the full-time program attend courses during the day (between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.), and students in the part-time program attend courses in the evening (6:00 pm or later). First-year students take the same courses, taught by full-time faculty, with the exception that part-time students take seven less credits than full-time students during the first year. After the first year, students in both the full-time and part-time program have a wealth of different course options available to them.
The School of Law makes the following extra efforts to ensure that both full-time and part-time students have the same access to our resources:
- Faculty members hold both day and evening office hours, depending on when their courses are offered.
- Both full-time and part-time students are eligible for need-based financial aid as well as merit-based fellowships.
- Financial aid officers offer both day and evening hours.
- Informational programs are typically offered at 5:00 p.m. or at Noon to maximize the likelihood that students with outside employment will be able to attend.
- The Office of Career, Academic and Alumni Services holds day, evening, and weekend hours.
- All exams for evening classes are given in the evening or on Saturdays.
- Students can register for classes and get grade reports through the University's online registration system.
- Both full-time and part-time students are eligible for and participate in law review, moot court, and other student-run activities.
In the full-time division, students typically take three years to complete the 89 credit hours required for graduation. Full-time students traditionally take 14 to 15 credits each semester. Daytime classes are held between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, although after the first year, many full-time students elect to take courses offered in the evening (6:00 p.m. and later) as well.
In the part-time division, students typically take four years to complete the 89 credit hours required for graduation. Part-time students will average 10 or 11 credit hours each semester. Evening classes are typically scheduled between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, but after the first year, part-time students are eligible to take daytime classes. Late afternoon classes (beginning at 4:00 p.m.) or early morning classes (beginning at 8:00 a.m.) often appeal to students who work full-time but who have a more flexible work schedule that may allow them to take classes during the day. Part-time students should be prepared to attend class five nights a week for at least the first two years of law school.
Our part-time program is very rigorous. We are extremely proud of this program and the respect it has gained in the legal community. Prospective employers know that graduates of our part-time division are able to balance successfully the demands of employment, school, family, and other obligations. Part-time students often face particular challenges, but they perform on a par with their full-time counterparts.
Timing of Courses
Many of Mason Law’s upper-level electives are taught by adjunct faculty who are top practitioners in their field. Because most adjuncts practice law full-time, they are often available to teach only in the evening. As a result, students who wish to specialize in a particular area may find certain classes are offered only at 6:00 p.m. or later.
The School of Law holds a summer term each year. Generally, summer term begins during the last week of May and ends during the third week of July. Summer courses are typically held in the evening, during the hours of 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, but a handful of courses have been offered at 4:00 p.m. as well. Both full-time and part-time students may take courses during the summer term. Many students take courses during summer to lighten their course loads during the academic semesters.