George Mason University was first established in 1956 by the General Assembly as University College, the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Named after the politician who prepared the first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the college became an independent public state research institution in 1972. Today, Mason enrolls more than 21,320 undergraduates and 11,800 post-graduates, making it the Commonwealth’s largest university. George Mason University is located on a main 677-acre suburban campus in Fairfax just 20 miles from downtown Washington DC. Extension centers have also been founded in Arlington, Manassas, Front Royal, and abroad in Songdo, South Korea.
According to the U.S. News, George Mason University is the 135th best national university, 68th top public university, 111th best college for veterans, and 18th most innovative college. In fact, GMU is recognized for having America’s 46th best education school, 42nd top law school, and 36th best nursing school. Mason was ranked the 112nd best research university nationwide by Forbes magazine. George Mason University was added to the GI Jobs “Military Friendly” list. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Mason the country’s 50th best public value for in-state and 68th for out-of-state tuition. The Princeton Review also ranked GMU 11th nationally for “Most Politically Active Students.”
George Mason University Accreditation Details
Last reaffirmed in December 2011, George Mason University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Mason holds 22 specialized, discipline-specific accreditations too. For instance, the College of Education is approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The School of Art meets the standards of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). GMU’s Master of Public Administration is aligned with the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The School of Business has elite Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation.
George Mason University Application Requirements
Getting into George Mason University isn’t easy with the selective average acceptance rate of 66.7 percent. Freshmen must be graduating from a licensed secondary school with a state-approved diploma or earning GED equivalency. Curricular guidelines require having at least four years of English, four years of math, three years of lab science, three years of social science, and two years of a language other than English. Admitted students typically rank in the top 20 percent of their graduating class. On average, GMU freshmen have a high school GPA of 3.66. Students also achieve an average ACT score of 26 and SAT score of 1150, excluding writing.
More than 3,000 undergraduate students transfer to Mason each year from other regionally accredited colleges. Incoming transfers should have at least 30 transferable credits with a minimum collegiate GPA of 2.85. Having taken freshman English composition and mathematics is required. Non-native English speakers must score at least 80 on the TOEFL iBT, 6.5 on the IELTS, or 59 on the Pearson Academic Test of English. Graduate applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university. All master’s and PhD programs mandate a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
Before the fall deadline on February 1st or spring deadline on October 1st, interested students should apply to George Mason University by sending:
• Completed online admissions form
• Official transcripts of all academics
• College entrance scores directly from test agency
• At least two letters of recommendation
• Brief, 400-word personal statement
• Current resume of work/service history
• $60 non-refundable application fee
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time undergraduate students from Virginia must pay $5,376 per semester. Non-resident undergrad learners enrolling full-time are charged $15,699 each semester. Part-time students can pay $448 (in-state) or $1,308 (out-of-state) per undergraduate credit. All students are required to pay the $100 education research fee every semester. Online learners must add the $35 distance education fee per credit. Room and board is estimated to cost $10,510 annually. At the graduate level, Virginia residents are billed $546 per credit hour. Non-resident graduate students can expect paying $1,301 per credit. The School of Law charges $12,575 (in-state) or $20,268 (out-of-state) per full-time semester.
70 percent of beginning, full-time GMU students earn financial assistance. By submitting the FAFSA form before March 1st, students could qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Students can borrow federal aid via the Perkins, Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or Grad PLUS loans. In-state residents should apply for the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), Virginia Commonwealth Award, or Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP). Federal Work-Study (FWS) and on-campus student jobs are offered. Veteran benefits are delivered with the Yellow Ribbon Program. Many scholarships are also awarded, including the Mason Merit Scholarship, Athletic Scholarship, and Transfer Scholarship.
Across its 12 academic divisions, George Mason University has an innovative liberal arts curriculum tailored in diverse disciplines. Students can select from 208 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral programs. Some unique undergraduate majors are Global Conservation, Cyber Security Engineering, Music Technology, Computer Game Design, Poetry, and Recreation Management. There’s also a 3+3 Accelerated Program for students to graduate with a Juris Doctor in six years. Students can join the Honors College or Living Learning Communities for extra encouragement. With a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, the average class size is 25 to 35 for accessible professors.
As part of the National Capital region, GMU students can access some of the most sought-after U.S. internships, especially in government. All the cultural, entertainment, and historical resources of Washington DC are a short ride away on the Metro Orange Line. On campus, Mason offers quality student life with the state-of-the-art Patriot Center, aquatic fitness complex, and 2,000-seat concert hall. Fenwick Library was recently expanded for 30 extra group study rooms. Students could also engage in cutting-edge research for the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study or National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease.
There are more than 215 student-run clubs on the GMU campus, including 16 fraternities and 15 sororities. Depending on their interests, students could join the ROTC Patriot Battalion, write for “The Fourth Estate,” host WGMU Radio, or pledge Delta Phi Omega. On the last Friday of every spring semester, Mason Day brings in amusement park rides and carnival foods. Welcome Week, Homecoming Week, and Gold Rush are other fun campus events each year. Students can cheer on the Patriots who complete in 22 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I sports. George Mason University also has competitive club sports like cricket, underwater hockey, and paintball.