What you need to get started online

Mason Username and Password

You will need your Mason username (NetID) and password to take online courses at Mason. Use Patriot Pass to activate your NetID or reset a password. Your Patriot Pass username and password will be your log-in for Blackboard, University Libraries, MasonLive, myMason, Patriot Web, and more.

MasonLive (Student Email)

Follow these instructions to set up your MasonLive email account. Students are responsible for the content sent to their university email account, so be sure to activate your account and check it regularly. Faculty will only communicate with you through your MasonLive account.


Many units at Mason have their own electronic mailing list or listserv. Your MasonLive email should be automatically entered based on major. Check your account for listserv emails and updates on rules or regulations, class offerings, scholarships, internships, job opportunities, and more.

Technical Requirements

For course-specific technical requirements, check your course syllabus or contact the instructor before the class starts.

Minimum Hardware

  • Windows or Mac computer with at least 2 GB of RAM
  • A fast and reliable broadband internet connection, like cable or DSL
  • A larger screen for better visibility
  • Speakers or headphones for recorded content
  • A microphone for synchronous class meetings
  • Consider storage amount needed for assignments

Planning to buy a new computer? Please view IT Services’ Recommended Computer Systems.

Minimum Software

Most online courses at Mason use the Blackboard learning management system (LMS). See supported browsers and operating systems that are compatible with Blackboard.

Protect your computer from viruses by downloading the latest version of Symantec Endpoint Protection/Anti-Virus software for free at antivirus.gmu.edu.

Your computer should also have these or similar applications:

Some courses may use software that only runs on Windows. You can set up a Mac or Linux computer with virtualization software or configure it to dual boot with Windows.

Using an employer-provided computer? Verify that (1) you will be able to install necessary applications and (2) system or corporate firewalls will not block required sites or media.

Required hardware or software may be available for purchase at Patriot Tech, Mason’s official on-site computer retail store.

Need to learn more?

Have questions about online learning, enrollment, or degree programs?

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