Mason Ranks High for Affordability, Innovative Programs

This past spring, George Mason University garnered high marks in a number of rankings by outside organizations—reflections of the quality of a George Mason education. These latest rankings applaud Mason’s affordability, and its array of diverse programs including computer game design, computer science and information technology, forensics science, and health policy and management.

Mason Ranks as Best Return on Investment

Mason has been ranked among the top 50 most affordable colleges in the nation and a best return on investment by

According to their methodology, the ranking tries “to balance two things: the school’s annual cost of tuition” and students’ “expected income on graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the school.”

The survey estimates that the 15-year return for a Mason education is $1,039,500. The average starting salary for a Mason graduate is almost $50,000 per year. also notes the large community relationships Mason fosters, acknowledging that the university “receives research support from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.”

Mason Is on 100 Under 50 List for Third Year

For the third year, the London-based Times Higher Education magazine has issued its “100 Under 50” list of top universities around the world that are under 50 years old. George Mason University appears for the second time on this list, coming it at 57 this year, up two spots from last year’s 59. Only eight U.S. universities are on the list, and George Mason is the only Virginia university.

According to the Times Higher Education, the list showcases “the rising stars which show great potential.” The list uses the the same methodology the Times employs to create its World University Rankings, “re-calibrated” to give less weight to subjective academic reputation.

Criteria used include research, citations and teaching, each given a 30 percent weighting; international outlook (people and research) weighted at 7.5 percent; and industry income or innovation, 2.5 percent.

Mason’s Computer Game Design Program Ranks High across Nation ranked Mason’s game design program as 11th on the East Coast and 63rd nationally.

During fall 2014, Mason will begin offering a master’s degree in computer game design, Mason’s fastest-growing program. The Serious Games Institute at Mason is the only one in the United States. It provides studio space, a development lab and offices for individuals, entrepreneurs and established companies in the field of computer game design.

The computer game design program also runs the Summer Games Institute, a pre-college program designed to help students learn the fundamentals of game design prior to attending a university.

Mason and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area are host to several major video game companies, including Bethesda Softworks and Game Studios—creators of best-sellers “Skyrim” and the “Fallout” series—and Mythic Entertainment, a source for meaningful internships for students.

Mason currently offers a bachelor of fine arts degree in computer game design through the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Mason Ranks in Top 10 for Peace Corp Volunteers

The Peace Corps’ 2014 rankings acknowledge universities with the most Peace Corps volunteers serving overseas while receiving credit toward a master’s degree. Mason currently ranks seventh nationally, with 16 students serving overseas as of September 30, 2013.

Students completing degrees while serving in the Peace Corps typically finish one year of graduate school before volunteering overseas, and then return to complete any final degree classes or requirements after their term ends.

“Peace Corps’ partnerships with colleges and universities create invaluable opportunities for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life situations,” said Peace Corps acting director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, when announcing the list.

Mason’s Computer Science and Engineering Program Scores High Marks

Mason and the Volgenau School of Engineering ranked sixth in the southern region in Great Value College’s “50 Great Affordable Colleges for Computer Science and Engineering.”

The ranking states that Mason is “particularly strong in computer science and information technology-based engineering.” Mason is noted in the ranking as featuring a range of degrees and certificates, including graduate and doctoral degrees; its five research centers and seven laboratories on campus are described as “focused on everything from cryptography and network security to air transportation systems.”

The ranking features adjusted tuition rates, demonstrating Mason’s affordability for both in-state and out-of-state computer science and engineering students.

Mason Ranks in “10 Graduate Certificate Programs for Forensics and CSI”

Mason has been recognized as a top school featuring an accredited graduate certificate in forensics science and crime scene investigation.

The program is 18 hours, featuring six three-credit classes, and is accredited by the American Academy of Forensics Science. The interdisciplinary program is offered through the College of Science and helps students understand the basic principles of forensics, perform a general crime scene analysis, develop DNA profiles, and apply legal and anthropological concepts. says the program “offers a graduate certificate in forensics to provide students with the laboratory experience helpful to gaining employment.” Mason’s program is one of the few in the country that has clear and focused ties to crime scene analysis.