Mason has eight graduate programs in the top 25 nationally, with several leaping forward in U.S. News rankings

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The George Mason Observatory is seen in the background, and a brick campus building is on the left. Pink flowering trees are seen in the foreground.
Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

George Mason University has eight graduate programs listed among the top 25 nationally, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, reflecting the university’s reputation of being a top institution for advanced degrees.

The list was led by Mason’s part-time law program at the Antonin Scalia Law School, which is No. 1 among public institutions, followed by industrial-organizational psychology at No. 5 nationally. Rounding out the list were Mason’s intellectual property program, three programs at the Schar School of Policy and Government, as well as special education and elementary teacher education at the College of Education and Human Development.

Overall, Mason has 18 programs ranked in the top 50 nationally and 33 ranked in the top 50 among public universities. Several programs rose in the Best Graduate School Rankings, including statistics and biological sciences.

Mason on the Rise

“The continued rise in the national rankings of our respected academic programs is further affirmation about the quality of a Mason education and the esteem in how our programs are viewed nationally,” said Mark R. Ginsberg, Mason provost and executive vice president. “We are very pleased by and proud of the recognition our programs have received and the experience our students have.”

Mason is the fastest growing public university in Virginia and has conferred the highest number of master’s degrees of any four-year public institution in the state for the past five years. According to State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Mason conferred nearly a third of the state’s master’s degrees for the 2020-21 academic year. 

U.S. News ranks different programs at different times of the year, including rankings for online master’s programs, which were released in January, and the annual Best Colleges rankings released each fall.

Several programs that ranked in the top 25 are housed on the Arlington Campus—recently renamed Mason Square—which is less than five miles from Washington, D.C. Mason Square is undergoing a transformation as part of the Rosslyn-Ballston Innovation Corridor, an innovation district that will be the first of its kind in Virginia, and will serve as the home base for the Institute for Digital Innovation. 

Scalia Law Soars to Top 30

Mason’s part-time law program is ranked No. 4 nationally and No. 1 among public universities, ahead of distinguished universities including University of Maryland, Temple University, and University of Houston. The school’s ranking, as a whole, rose 11 spots, to No. 30.

“For the first time, we are ranked nationally as a top 30 law school,” said law school Dean Ken Randall. “The ranking reflects the academic excellence of the Scalia law faculty, student body, and staff.”

“We are grateful for the university’s support of the law school,” he said. “The law school’s evening program—ranked as the fourth best part-time program nationally—has tripled its enrollment by leveraging technology and advancing our commitment to inclusive excellence.”

A Prominent Hub for Public Policy

Five Schar School programs (homeland security, public-policy analysis, nonprofit management, public finance, and local government management) are ranked as the top programs in Virginia, with homeland security leading the list at No. 7 nationally, and No. 6 among public institutions.

Mason’s homeland security program has made the nation’s top 10 list for five years straight.

“The Schar School’s interdisciplinary programs increasingly are being recognized as among the best,” said Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell. “Most notable this year is the big jump in the ranking in nonprofit management studies—the largest one-year move we’ve ever seen.”

The nonprofit management program rose 14 spots, from No. 32 to No. 18 nationally.

“High-impact faculty work and recent exciting hires in that field are being noticed by our peers nationally,” Rozell said.

The Schar School’s location in the heart of the U.S. political scene provides students with extraordinary professional opportunities that supplement learning from professors with experience in everything from NGOs and nonprofits to top government agencies like the CIA, National Security Agency, and more.

Biological Sciences Leaps to Top 10

Many Mason programs significantly advanced in the rankings from last year, including biological sciences, which rose 71 spots to No. 119.

“The graduate programs at the School of Systems Biology (SSB) are constantly striving to enrich student experiences and improve learning outcomes,” said Iosif Vaisman, professor and School of Systems Biology director. “We are very happy that these collective efforts by our administrators, faculty, and staff bear fruit.”

“Our time to degree completion statistics is better than many peer programs, and our graduates are in high demand on the job market,” Vaisman said, noting students come from all walks of life. “All these successes to a great degree depend on the extremely strong research portfolios, publication record, teaching commitments, and reputation of faculty at SSB and its two research centers, the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine and the Center for Infectious Disease Research.”

A Bright Future, Statistically Speaking 

Statistics also jumped 29 spots, coming in at No. 54 nationally and No. 38 among publics.

Jiayang Sun, department chair of Statistics, said she is optimistic for another significant jump in the next ranking cycle.

“We have outstanding faculty who are national leaders in their areas of expertise,” Sun said. “We had remarkable growth and transformation under the new leadership.”

“We are very pleased and excited by the significant jump in the rankings by our Department of Statistics, and congratulate the entire department and its leadership for their success,” said Kenneth Ball, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing.

“The department has a very bright future and is contributing greatly to the success of the college as well as across the university,” he said.

Research funding for statistics has continued to surpass the department’s records since 2020, Sun said.

Ball touted the investment made by Mason's College of Engineering and Computing in the statistics programs, including more than $1.5 million for new faculty start-up funds and graduate research assistants, as well as other resources.

And a new partnership with Inova Health System has provided faculty with expanding collaborative research opportunities.

“We are modernizing our program offerings and looking forward to unique opportunities with the new School of Computing and some expected Virginia initiatives,” Sun said.


The 2023 Best Graduate School rankings for business, education, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing are based on expert opinion about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students, U.S. News reported.

The ranking data comes from statistical surveys of more than 2,150 programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 23,200 academics and professionals, conducted in fall 2021 and early 2022.

Full Rankings

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

Part-time Law: No. 4 nationally, No. 1 among public institutions.

Intellectual Property: No. 19 nationally, No. 6 among public institutions (Best in Virginia). 

Best Law School: No. 30 nationally, No. 11 among public institutions. 

Contracts: No. 37 nationally, No 18 among public institutions

Constitutional Law: No. 40 nationally, No. 19 among public institutions.

Corporate Law: No. 41 nationally, No. 17 among public institutions.  

International Law: No. 67 nationally, 30 among public institutions. 

Tax Law: No. 70 nationally, No. 33 among public institutions. 

Criminal Law: No. 80 nationally, No. 38 among public institutions. 

Trial Advocacy: No. 89 overall, No. 31 among public institutions. 

Dispute Resolution: No. 103 nationally, No. 43 among public institutions. 

Health Care Law: No. 108 nationally, No. 50 among public institutions. 

Environmental Law: No. 122 nationally, No. 62 among public institutions. 

Clinical Training: No. 148 nationally, No. 64 among public institutions. 

Legal Writing: No. 169 nationally, No. 74 among public institutions. 

Public Affairs: No. 39 nationally, No. 26 among public institutions.

Homeland Security: No. 7 nationally, No. 6 among public institutions (Best in Virginia). 

Nonprofit Management: No. 18 overall, No. 14 among public institutions (Best in Virginia). 

Public Policy Analysis: No. 24 nationally, No. 12 among public institutions (Best in Virginia). 

Public Finance: No. 26 nationally, No. 19 among public institutions (Best in Virginia). 

Leadership: No. 27 nationally, No. 19 among public institutions. 

Local Government Management: No. 27 nationally, No. 24 among public institutions (Best in Virginia). 

Part-time MBA: No. 67 nationally, No. 40 among public institutions. 

Education: No. 67 overall, No. 52 among public institutions. 

Special Ed: No. 15 nationally, No. 14 among public institutions. 

Elementary Teacher Ed: No. 20 nationally, No. 16 among public institutions. 

Engineering: No. 92 nationally, No. 56 among public institutions. 

Industrial Engineering: No. 39 nationally, No. 29 among public institutions.

Statistics: No. 54 nationally, No. 38 among public institutions. 

Computer Science: No. 63 nationally, No. 37 among public institutions.

Computer Engineering: No. 75 nationally, No. 44 among public institutions.

Electrical Engineering: No. 82 nationally, No. 49 among public institutions.

Civil Engineering: No. 89 nationally, No. 63 among public institutions.

Bioengineering: No. 103 nationally, No. 65 among public institutions. 

Geology: No. 113 nationally, No. 81 among public institutions. 

Mathematics: No. 115 nationally, No. 72 among public institutions.

Biological Sciences: No. 119 nationally, No. 66 among public institutions. 

Physics: No. 132 nationally, No. 78 among public institutions. 

Chemistry: No. 165 overall, No. 107 among public institutions. 

Nursing Master's: No. 37 nationally, No. 23 among public institutions. 

Nursing-DNP: No. 52 nationally, No. 38 among public institutions. 

Public Health: No. 70 nationally, No. 45 among public institutions.

Social Work: No. 79 nationally, No. 54 among public institutions.

Economics: No. 74 overall, No. 40 among public institutions. 

Psychology: No. 80 nationally, No. 47 among public institutions.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology: No. 5 nationally, No. 4 among public institutions.