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School of Education - George Mason University

What is a license and what is an endorsement?

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) references a license as the document that gives you the authority to teach and an endorsement as the grade level or subject area that you may teach and is printed on the actual license. However, The College of Education and Human Development sometimes references an endorsement as a prerequisite assessment of content knowledge earned through course work or exams. These prerequisite requirements are also known as content area prerequisites.

How do Content Area Prerequisites/Endorsements fit into the admissions process?

Content Area/Endorsements are an integral component of the Admissions process. When you enter your licensure program—such as your education major, adding the licensure concentration, or applying to a graduate program—you will need to show that you are within nine credits of meeting the prerequisites for your program or provide a preapproved plan of how you will get there.

What documentation do I need to provide for a Content Area review?

Students (including transfer students from Northern Virginia Community College) must provide legible copies of transcripts from ALL institutions of higher education previously attended. These can be unofficial copies, but our office has the right to ask for official transcripts at any time if needed. Documents can be mailed, emailed (if documents do not exceed 4,000 KB), or dropped off at the Teacher Track Office in Thompson Hall, Suite 2300.

What are general* requirements for Endorsement courses?

  • Courses must be 100 level or above
  • Courses must be taken for a grade (no pass/fail)
  • No duplicate content is permitted
  • Courses must be content specific to the domain
  • Grades must be a C or better (3.0 GPA in content is desired by the programs)

* Minimum requirements are not limited to this list

How long will it take for a review?

Students should expect a turn-around time of at least two weeks (longer during peak periods) from the point at which all documents have been received by the Teacher Track Office. Students will be notified by email upon completion of the initial review or update.

Will my courses transfer and/or expire?

The Content Area Review evaluates transcripts based on content to determine if the student has met the prerequisite requirements for the licensure program. This process does not transfer courses or credit to Mason. It does not matter when the courses were taken if they meet the prerequisite requirements.

How do I get approval for a course to count after my initial review?

Both prospective and current students are required to obtain preapproval on all content courses. Students who do not obtain preapproval prior to taking a course or exam are not guaranteed approval upon completion.

Where can I take these courses?

Courses preapproved by a specialist may be taken at any college or university which is recognized by one of the Regional Accreditation Organizations.

Once I begin a Content Area Review, how long is it good for?

Worksheets, once reviewed by a specialist, have an expiration date of two years if left dormant.

How often should I update my worksheet?

Students should update on a semester basis or as often as courses/CLEP exams are completed.

What is a CLEP exam?

The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) offers students the opportunity to receive college credit for what they already know. CLEP exams must be preapproved in advance of registration for the CLEP exam because not all exams are accepted at Mason. CLEP exam scores range on a scale of 20-80 with a 50 or above as passing. Students may visit for more information.

How do I enter courses as "in progress"?

Students may enter courses as "in progress" on their worksheet by adding the end date in the "date" section of the form. During the application process, prospective students must indicate on their worksheet how they plan on being within nine credits by the time they would start their licensure program.

How can I appeal a course that has not been accepted?

Though it is unlikely, students may appeal a course if they feel strongly that the content matches the content area prerequisites. Appeals can be made one time only and are reviewed by the team on a case-by-case basis. Please submit all information for the appeal in one email for review. You will be contacted via email when a decision has been made.

When do my Content Area courses need to be completed?

An initial verification will be made by our office to ensure that students are within nine credits of completing these requirements when students begin a licensure program (first day of admission term). It is the student's responsibility to submit all documents to our office prior to the beginning of their program to ensure they are within nine credits and eligible to start their program. All Content Area courses must be completed prior to application for Internship (second Internship for PK-3). Content Area prerequisites will be reviewed at both checkpoints.