U.S. News ranks two Mason online master’s programs best in Virginia


Editor's note: Earlier versions of this story indicated Mason was first in the state for special education, it is second in the state for that program. We regret the error. 

George Mason University has two online graduate programs ranked first in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report, leading the state in curriculum and instruction, and accounting.

Mason’s online graduate programs offer the flexibility that is essential for working professionals who are looking to grow in their careers.

Through the COVID pandemic, enrollment in online education programs of graduate education has surged, as has the perceived value of these programs for students,” said Provost Mark Ginsberg. “These rankings further affirm the esteem in which our programs are held and is another important indication of their quality.”

Mason’s College of Education and Human Development had several programs highly ranked, with the curriculum and instruction program ranked first in Virginia (tied with UVA), 17th among publics, and 19th overall.

The curriculum and instruction program is designed for students who want to pursue careers in teaching, instructional design, and curriculum development. It offers seven different areas of concentration including teaching, instructional design, and curriculum development. The concentration on blended and online learning for K-12 educators focuses on blending online and face-to-face instruction, teaching and designing fully online courses, or evaluating online educational options—a particularly relevant line of study given the pivot to online learning in many parts of the country as a result of the pandemic.

The master’s in special education ranked second in Virginia, 5th in the country, up ten spots from 2020. The special education master’s program is targeted to both classroom educators and those who work in other special education contexts such as private practice, agencies and home environments. The program ensures these education professionals have the skills and knowledge to support the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Mason is also ranked 12th among public universities, and 13th overall, for its education administration and supervision program in CEHD. The master’s in education programs ranked 41 among public universities and rose to 46 this year overall.

“These programs serve the diverse needs of a broad student population preparing to advance as professional educators,” said Robert E. Baker, CEHD interim dean. “Our students are supported by expert faculty who are renowned for their research and instruction, and our graduates are highly employable as a result.”

Mason’s online master’s of science in accounting was ranked first in Virginia, 26th among public universities, and 38thoverall. The accounting program is focused on developing knowledgeable leaders to overcome the challenges of the future and provide solutions. It offers classes in module format, allowing students to enroll in one or two courses every eight weeks.

“We believe we offer an online experience with a carefully crafted curriculum that gives students advanced analytical, technological, and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in today's accounting profession,” said School of Business Dean Maury Peiperl

The online accounting program allows students to earn a certificate in one of three specialized areas of accounting. Accounting for government contracts and government accounting both capitalize on Mason’s unique position in the federal government space.  The forensic accounting program helps prepare students for the growing demand in this field to work in fields, such as law enforcement, financial institutions, insurance companies, risk consulting and more, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Mason’s master’s in industrial/systems engineering ranked 13th among public institutions and 16th overall nationally. The program helps engineers prepare for technical leadership positions.

Mason’s online master’s programs in information technology ranked 26th among public universities and 37th overall. The master’s program in engineering jumped to 46  this year from 65 in 2020.

Mason’s online MBA program, which provides students a diverse skill set and global expertise to apply to a broad range of industries and in-demand leadership opportunities, rose to 111 this year from 123 in 2020.

According to its website, U.S. News ranks programs in five general categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies that allow students greater flexibility to take classes and labs from a distance, student excellence, and a survey of “high-ranking academic officials.”

Here is a preview of Mason’s rankings for its online master’s programs. It will be updated if additional rankings become available:


Overall: 111 (up from 123 in 2020)

Veterans programs: 63rd (unranked last year)


Overall: first in Virginia, 26th among public universities, 38th overall

Information Technology

Overall: 26th among public universities, 37th overall


Overall: 41st among public universities, 46th overall (up from 48th last year);

Special Education: 2nd in Virginia, 5th among public universities and also 5th overall (up from 10 last year); 

Administration and Supervision: 12th among public universities, 13th overall

Curriculum and Instruction: first in Virginia (tied with UVA), 17th among public universities, 19th overall


Overall: 37th among public universities, 46th overall (up from 65th in 2020);

Industrial/systems: 13th among public universities, 16th overall