GMU Certificate Programs

Certificate Tracks in Contracting with the Federal Government through George Mason University Executive and Professional Education

The Contracting with the Federal Government Certificate Program is offered by George Mason University in association with The Public Contracting Institute. This program is designed to help government contracting professionals better perform their jobs, grow in their careers, and succeed in the government contracting environment.

Students may take courses individually, or may qualify for a Certificate of Completion* in their chosen track.

  • Government Contracts Accounting Certificate
  • Contract Formation and Administration
  • Masters Academy in Government Contracting Certificate

*You have up to 18 months to complete a track.

  • Courses are taught by instructors with substantial experience and expertise in government contracting.
  • Courses are highly participatory and focus on the current government contracting environment as well as future trends and proposed changes.
  • All courses qualify for CEUs, CLEs (in most states), CLPs, and CPEs.
  • Courses are scheduled throughout the year at George Mason University’s Training Center in Reston, VA as well as Arlington, VA, and at PCI in DC.
Government Contracts Formation and Administration Certificate

The Contract Formation and Administration Certificate is a ten-day program made up of five courses covering fundamentals of government contracting, practical applications of the FAR, negotiation strategies and techniques, contract changes, and ethics and compliance in government contracting. Whether you are part of the original proposal or have responsibilities for administering government contracts, this will expand your knowledge and skills of contract management.

Core Courses:

CFG 0400 – Government Contracting Fundamentals
CFG 0402 – Navigating the FAR: Practical Applications
CFG 0452 – Contract Changes and Equitable Adjustments
CFG 0428 – Ethics and Compliance in Government Contracting

CFG 0451 – Negotiation Strategies and Techniques
CFG 0450 – Preparing Compliant Proposals

Government Contracts Accounting Certificate

Mason’s Government Contracts Accounting Certificate is a ten-day program made up of five course covering fundamentals of government contracting, practical applications of the FAR, accounting and auditing for government contracts, timekeeping measures and compliance, and cost and price analysis. If you have any financial responsibility for government contracts, this certificate covers all the foundations you need.

Core Courses:

CFG 0400 – Government Contracting Fundamentals
CFG 0402 – Navigating the FAR: Practical Applications
CFG 0425 – Accounting and Auditing for Government Contracts
CFG 0432 – Timekeeping for Government Contractors


CFG 0426 – Cost and Price Analysis
CFG 0427 – Cost Accounting Standards

Masters Academy in Government Contracting Certificate

The Masters Academy in Government Contracting provides an exceptional learning experience on current best practices in key areas of government contracting. Over the course of five days, you will learn the lessons experts have culled during their careers in government contracting. This program is not intended to cover the basis or each topic in its entirety; instead, the Masters Academy is intended as an advanced course focusing on leading practices.

CFG 0400 – Government Contracting Fundamentals

The Government Contracting Fundamentals course is a comprehensive, three-day overview and discussion of the federal government contracting process, including applicable procurement laws, regulations, and practical requirements. For those who are new, relatively inexperienced, or require a supervisory understanding of government contracting, this course provides an overview that will familiarize the attendee with the federal contracting process, provide a strong foundation on which to build greater subject-matter expertise, and dispel common myths and misunderstandings. For those with some experience, the course will heighten knowledge, provide context, sharpen issue awareness, and improve the ability to operate successfully in this highly complex and competitive field. This “fundamentals” course is designed to be of benefit to both government and contractor personnel, including contracting officers, contract and subcontract administrators, program and item managers, finance and accounting personnel, engineers, and attorneys (in-house, outside, government).

This course provides a strong overview of the fundamental government contracting process. Course participants will:

  • Understand the major differences between government and commercial contracting.
  • Understand the principle laws and regulations that affect the federal procurement environment.
  • Become familiar with the major components of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).
  • Understand the government’s legal environment and the players on the government’s contracting team.
  • Understand the different contract types, and their associated opportunities and risks.
  • Understand competition alternatives, including full and open competition, set-asides, and sole-source procurements.
  • Explore various procurement methods and discuss the processes affiliated with each, including competitive negotiations, sealed bidding, simplified acquisition, and federal supply schedules.
  • Identify multiple types of compliance requirements, audits, and reviews, and the associated penalties for non-compliance.
  • Recognize the components of a typical government contract and discuss the use and applicability of specific contract clauses, including inspections, changes, terminations, delays, and disputes
CFG 0402 – Navigating the FAR: Practical Applications

This fast-paced interactive course examines the organization, content, policy, and procedures of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) as it applies to Federal acquisition. Designed for new professionals in both government and industry, as well as more experienced professionals, to build or update their familiarity with the Federal Government’s procurement system. The course includes a review of the topical divisions of the FAR, exercises to help the participant find and analyze FAR contracting issues, and group activities to reinforce the application of FAR principles.

  • Identify the foundations, organization, and principles of the FAR.
  • Learn to “navigate” the FAR in order to understand, interpret and use it in executing business transactions.
  • Analyze the purpose of the policies, processes and procedures set out in the FAR to better understand the constraints on, and the latitude available to, government procurement officials.
  • Increase professional understanding of the acquisition system.
  • Build skills to train, mentor and coach others using the FAR.
  • Improve participant’s ability to add value through their role in the acquisition process.
CFG 0425 – Accounting and Auditing for Government Contracts

Doing business with the U.S. Government can be extremely challenging, but when you layer in the extensive accounting requirements, internal controls, and system expectations that come with U.S. Government contracts, it can become downright frightening. This course is designed to help contractors navigate the details of these requirements so that they can successfully recover all allowable and allocable contract costs incurred in support of their contracts. This course will also prepare contractors for the accounting requirements of government contracts and identify strategies in preparing for audits. Instructors provide real life examples of the challenges associated with the existing accounting and audit environment. Whether your company is new to government contracting or has been in the business for years, this course will be valuable to ensure that you are up to speed with these ever-changing requirements and prepared for the audit requirements to come as a result of these contracts.

  • Identify basic accounting terms and procedures required for government contracts
  • Identify and discuss Federal Acquisition Regulations related to the determination of the allowability, allocability, and reasonableness of costs
  • Identify contract types and different interim financing methods
  • Identify revenue recognition methods unique to government contracts
  • Identify special reporting requirements
  • Distinguish competitive vs. non-competitive procurements
  • Government contractor system expectations– accounting, estimating, timekeeping, and purchasing
  • Determine the current audit environment through an overview of DCAA
  • Examine the incurred cost submission and audit approach including penalties for unallowable costs
CFG 0426 – Cost and Price Analysis

Course participants will learn regulatory requirements and expectations related to cost and price analysis. Additionally, how and when to perform and document price analysis, how and when to perform and document cost analysis, and how and when to request performance of and incorporate results of a technical analysis. Participants will also learn how to document source selection, including justification for single/sole source acquisitions and related negotiations. This course consists of practical techniques for analyzing the reasonableness of proposed pricing and costs, and documenting the results of the analysis.

  • Identify cost and price analysis requirements and techniques for U.S. Government contracts and subcontracts
  • Understand Regulatory requirements and expectations related to price and cost analysis
  • Know when to perform and document price analysis
  • Know when to perform and document cost analysis
  • Know when to perform and incorporate technical analysis
  • Learn to document source selection including justification for single/sole source acquisition
CFG 0427 – Cost Accounting Standards

The Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) was designed to promote uniform and consistent methods of accounting practices for contractors. This course explains to which contracts and contractors the Standards are applicable, and highlights the current and proposed exemptions to the Standards. Discussions include the requirements of all 19 Standards, the differences in accounting as compared to GAAP and IFRS, and methods of structuring your accounting system for compliance. The administrative requirements, including preparation of the Disclosure Statement, and post award contract adjustments due to changes in accounting practices are also covered.

  • Identify when the Cost Accounting Standards are applicable and when a Disclosure Statement is required.
  • Distinguish the differences between “modified” and “full” CAS coverage and to which contracts and subcontracts the Standards apply.
  • Recognize the fundamental requirements and techniques of application for the Standards.
  • Assess accounting system designs for compliance with the Standards.
  • Appraise administrative requirements for changes to accounting practices and fundamentals of the General Dollar Magnitude and Detailed Cost Impact.
  • Prepare the CASB Disclosure Statement.
CFG 0428 – Ethics and Compliance in Government Contracting

Legal and ethical conduct is the way to protect your credibility and earn the respect and trust of your employees, partners, clients, and community. This one-day course provides an in-depth understanding of the ethical and compliance rules that apply in the federal government marketplace. It emphasizes the importance of ethical conduct when contractors do business with the federal government; enable contractor (and government) employees to recognize compliance and ethical issues and traps before they make irreparable mistakes; and advise about support resources.

  • Understand the ethical and compliance rules that apply in the federal government.
  • Identify the importance of ethical and compliant conduct when doing business with the federal government.
  • Recognize compliance rules, ethical issues and traps before irreparable mistakes are made.
  • Identify and be able to use support resources.
CFG 0432 – Timekeeping for Government Contractors

Course participants will learn regulatory requirements and expectations related to timekeeping/labor reporting. Additionally, this overview serves as a guide through specific FAR and CAS regulations as well as best practices for labor compliance. This course guides the participant through writing policies and procedures, an overview on labor laws and acts, timekeeping roles and compensation requirements, labor accounting methods, and how to prepare employees for audits. The seminar is beneficial to company personnel who are new to government contracting and want to assist their workforce into a world of labor compliance. Learn about the government audit programs for timekeeping and what takes place when the government auditors conduct unannounced floor check interviews plus understanding the government internal control audit plan and ways to remediate non-compliance.

  • Understand Regulatory requirements and expectations related to recording labor hours and the related billed cost
  • Outline acceptable company Policy and Procedures for timekeeping
  • What key Business Systems labor entry affects
  • Employee responsibilities and Manager roles and expectations when validating/signing off timecards
  • Know when to perform and document internal labor audits; what happens in a unannounced floor check
  • Develop internal control labor audit plans
  • Understanding the differences between manual versus system automated timecards
  • Know how to identify Non-Compliance factors and issues; dealing with false claims and writing/following a remediation plan for corrective action
CFG 0450 – Preparing Compliant Proposals

This two-day course walks through the proposal preparation process. This includes work done prior to a customer issuing a request for proposal through contract award. It focuses on the importance of ensuring integrity between the technical, management and cost volumes of the proposal and the processes necessary to make that happen.

The estimating process, a significant component of the proposal preparation process, is one of the business systems specifically addressed by the Department of Defense Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation. This course addresses each of the specific components an acceptable estimating process must meet. The existence of a compliant estimating system will help maximize the likelihood an auditor will find the company’s proposal adequate. Even if a company does not do business with the Department of Defense, it is important that cost estimates meet the criteria in DCAA’s adequacy checklist.

The course also presents techniques for gathering data, developing and documenting sound basis of estimates, and cost and price analysis techniques to support cost estimates for direct material and subcontractors– a particularly troublesome area.

The course also covers the importance of time management and writing in the context of proposal preparation.

  • Preliminary work before the customer request for proposal.
  • Reviewing the customer’s request for proposal.
  • Using the work breakdown structure.
  • Selecting subject matter experts for technical inputs.
  • Templates and formats for gathering resource requirements.
  • Writing techniques for clarity and comprehension– avoid the “great solution but no one understands it” dilemma.
  • Proposal review techniques.
  • Identify the importance of the proposal team.
  • Describe how to review the critical sections of the customer’s request for proposal.
  • Identify the key characteristics of a good subject matter expert.
  • Describe effective cost estimating techniques and the data necessary to support resource estimates.
  • Explain the importance of an effective writing plan for clarity and comprehension.
  • Explain the importance of providing adequate time for reviews and corrections.
CFG 0451 – Negotiation Strategies and Techniques

This course is divided into two parts. The first part is designed to provide attendees with a thorough understanding of the qualities of an effective negotiator, with examples rooted in the government contracting process. The second part focuses on the negotiation process itself—the preparation stage, the actual negotiation, and the techniques for ensuring that the deal is closed once and closed correctly. Class discussion and case studies underscore the importance of the principles covered in the lecture.

  • Recognize the traits that make an effective negotiator
  • Apply the principles taught in the program to your own negotiations
  • Determine effective negotiation practices
  • Identify different agenda approaches that can be used to meet your goals
  • Recognize and defeat strategies being used against you
  • Analyze the human element of a negotiation, often the most important element
CFG 0452 – Contract Changes and Equitable Adjustments

This course focuses on the central role the Changes clause plays in the performance of government contracts. It addresses the use of the clause in ensuring the government achieves its goals during contract performance. The use of the clause by contractors to assert requests for equitable adjustment when the conditions of performance change, the myriad of rules governing the negotiation of equitable adjustments, and the process of modifying the contract to accomplish these goals are covered.

  • Identify constructive changes.
  • Identify excusable delays and suspensions of work.
  • Learn the rules governing inspection, acceptance, and warranties.
  • Identify the grounds for default termination.
  • Learn the rules governing terminations for convenience.
  • Determine how to price adjustments.
  • Learn the rules governing payment and discharge.