Application Frequently Asked Questions

What type of degree program is offered? 

The I-O program at George Mason University offers a full-time program leading to a Ph.D, and a full/part-time terminal Master's program. We do not offer a part-time Ph.D. If you are in the Ph.D. program, a Master’s degree is earned in the process. 

How do I apply and what materials are required? 

Application requirements for Ph.D. students can be found here:

Application requirements for Master's students can be found here:

What is your application deadline? 

The deadline for applications is January 1st for Ph.D. students and February 1st for Master's students for the following Fall semester. MA applicants, however, are advised to apply well before the listed deadline; although the class will not be filled prior to March 15th, some decisions will be made earlier. We do not have Spring admissions.

How many students are accepted each year? 

The Ph.D. program receives around approximately 100-125 applications a year and an average of 3-5 students are accepted into the program.

The Master's program receives around approximately 125-150 applications a year and an average of 10-15 students are accepted into the program. 

What qualifications do you consider? 

The main criteria we use are previous research experience (more so for Ph.D. applicants), undergraduate GPA, general GRE scores, letters of recommendations, and the personal statement. The personal statement is used to assess writing skill and how well a student's research interests and goals fit with our program (e.g., if faculty are conducting research in areas that interest the student). If students include a writing sample and/or vita, these materials will also be considered by the admissions committee.

Are some criteria weighted more than others? 

Research experience is heavily considered for Ph.D. applicants as this demonstrates a student's involvement and dedication to psychological research. However, any kind of research (e.g., in other fields of psychology) are considered and viewed favorably. The research experience does not necessarily have to be in the field of I-O. Also, experience with methods and statistics (or measurement) is viewed favorably.

Should I take any specific courses to prepare me for graduate school in I-O? 

Recommended classes are as follows: a psychological testing class, additional statistics classes, and a research seminar class.

How are most students funded?

Ph.D. students are usually provided with either teaching or research assistantships, but may request a part-time internship after a certain number of years in the program.

Master's students are not funded, but are given many opportunities for part-time internships.

Are there fellowships available (especially minority fellowships)? 

GMU's official website regarding fellowships is located at

Can I work with multiple faculty?

Every student is encouraged to work with multiple faculty in order to gain a full understanding of the field of I-O. Faculty at GMU work in a vast range of areas in I-O, so students can get exposure to both the "I" and "O" sides of I-O Psychology.

How long does it take to get through the program? 

It generally takes 5 years to complete the Ph.D. program and 1½ – 2 years to complete the Master's program. 

Do I really need an experimental class to be admitted?    

It is recommended, but if you rank high on other criteria it will not eliminate you from consideration. 

What kind of financial aid am I eligible for? 

Graduate teaching assistantships and research assistantships normally go to doctoral students. If there are positions left open, MA students may be appointed. Graduate students are still eligible for student loans, but all assistantships pay for tuition and offer a competitive stipend. Details regarding financial assistance can be found here.

Where do your students get jobs? 

Our students get jobs in any and every area of I-O, ranging across government agencies, consulting organizations, private sector, business, and academia. 

Can I work part-time at my current job? 

The Doctoral program is a full-time program. Considerations may be made if a student talks with his/her adviser about different approaches, but typically one does not obtain a full-time position while in the Doctoral program. Master's students usually work part-time on internships while attending school.

What are faculty currently working on? 

More information can be found on specific faculty on the faculty page.  You can also read about their research groups here.

Can I visit before I apply? 

Yes, you can visit before you apply. A pre-admission visit will help you learn about our graduate programs, but it will not influence admissions decisions. If you plan to apply to the Ph.D program and would like to schedule a visit, please contact Hannah Markell ( If you plan to apply to the Master's program and would like to schedule a visit, please contact Angelica Garza (, Julia Smith ( or Molly Kilcullen ( For further questions regarding the Ph.D. program, please contact Dr. Seth Kaplan ( For the Master's program, please contact Dr. Louis Buffardi (

What types of internships and/or funding are available? 

Historically, we have done an excellent job of covering virtually all doctoral students who request financial aid. The various positions available to doctoral students are described below. Unfortunately not all our positions are in place on April 15 when students must make their final decisions. Forecasting the level of financial aid we will be able to provide students is difficult in the face of changing state and university budget decisions and the dynamic nature of grant funding.

For a given academic year we receive an allocation of Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistant (RA) positions around March 15. In the subsequent months, as new sections of various undergraduate courses are opened for the fall semester, and new research grants are awarded, our level of funding increases and a domino effect usually takes place. As our more advanced students move into these newly created positions other positions are made available to incoming students. Thus, not all students will receive a financial aid offer between April 1 and April 15. However, students who do not initially receive an offer of funding will probably receive one during the summer. Although historically this has been the case, we cannot guarantee any position to a student until we know with certainty that it is available.

Remission of Tuition. Those receiving stipends of $4,000 or more through their university-related positions are also eligible for partial remission of their tuition bill. The amount of remission is roughly equivalent to what would be charged for in-state tuition ($4,344 per year). When funds are available, we also attempt to cover some portion of student's out-of-state tuition (Out-of-state tuition is approximately $12,600 per year). 

For up-to-date descriptions of different funding sources, please see the College Information on Funding for Graduate Study.

Where do students usually live?
Students at GMU usually live in the city of Fairfax or in the surrounding towns of Burke, Vienna, or Falls Church. In some cases, students will find housing closer to D.C. in Arlington County, Springfield, or Alexandria.

Do students need a car to get around the area?  
Having a car is a great convenience and makes commuting much easier; however, using a car is not necessary to live in Northern Virginia. The Washington Metrorail and Metrobus System allow for easy public transportation throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Your Mason ID card will get you a free ticket onto all buses in Fairfax County. See the above links for more mass transit details.

How do students find housing in the area?
There are several ways to find housing in the D.C. Metro Area. The first and perhaps most effective solution is via word-of-mouth from current students who live in apartments, townhouses, or houses that may have connections to available housing. Additionally, GMU has an off-campus housing website to aid students in finding housing and roommates and offers graduate student housing at Masonvale, which is located on the Fairfax campus. Students also use and the Washington Post apartment listing for Northern Virginia for up-to-date listings of apartments, houses, and rooms for rent in the area.