Working with a specific branch in Visual Studio 2013 isn’t as intuitive as I expected. Here are the steps I followed to get a specific branch from GitLab (or any Git-based server).
In Visual Studio, open up the Team Explorer tab, and select the Connect icon. Enter the URL of the Git project into the textbox. Select Clone.
The project will pull down into the designated folder. You will notice that the branch you want to work with is missing!
Double click the project that is now listed, which will open up the Home screen for that project. From there click on the Branch dropdown and select New Branch.
The branches for the project are listed in the dropdown. Select the desired branch and click “Create Branch”. As counter-intuitive as this sounds, it simply pulls down the branch to your machine. After it is created you will be able to open the .sln and start developing!