2011-2012 University Catalog 
2011-2012 University Catalog



Office of Admissions
4400 University Drive, MS 3A4
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-2400
Fax: 703-993-4622
Web: admissions.gmu.edu

Undergraduate Admission Policies


Admission is competitive because the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of new students who can be accommodated. Each candidate who presents sufficient admission qualifications is reviewed in the context of other qualified applicants. An offer of admission is valid only for the semester for which the student applied. Programs with limited space or special requirements may need a second review process for admission.

Applying for Admission

Application for undergraduate admission should be made to the Office of Admissions. Applications are available at admissions.gmu.edu/applynow A nonrefundable and nontransferable fee must accompany the application.

Application Deadlines for Freshmen and Transfer Students

The application deadline for fall admission is January 15 for freshman applicants and March 1 for transfer applicants. The application deadline for the spring semester is October 1. Mason encourages early applications from prospective freshmen who wish to be considered for academic scholarships. Applications received after published deadlines will be considered on a space-available basis. The university reserves the right to close applications before published deadlines if conditions so warrant. Admission is contingent on satisfactory completion of in-progress course work and graduation from high school or community college, if relevant.

Early Admission

High school juniors who have completed high school graduation requirements except for senior English and government courses may, with the approval of their high school guidance counselor or principal, apply for admission and thereby enter the university as degree-seeking students one year early. Applicants should present exceptional grades, Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT) scores, and a high school course of study demonstrating rigorous academic preparation for university-level work. Candidates for this program must arrange an interview with the dean or director of admissions.

Freshman Requirements

The following factors are considered when reviewing freshman applications for admission:

  • Cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) for course work completed in grades 9 through 12
  • Level of difficulty of course work elected throughout the high school years, particularly in English, mathematics, laboratory science, social science, and foreign language
  • Scores from SAT I or ACT (see exceptions under Score Optional Consideration below)
  • For all non-native English speakers, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.
  • Essay(s)
  • List of extracurricular activities
  • Teacher and guidance counselor recommendations

Fall semester applicants whose applications are complete by the application deadline are notified of decisions by April 1. All other applicants are notified on a space-available basis.

The following table specifies the minimum units of college preparatory work required for admission, as well as the minimum units recommended. The recommended units reflect the typical high school program of students who have succeeded in competing for admission in recent years.

In the following chart, column (1) refers to students applying for a bachelor of arts, excluding those in column (3), bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of music program, or with an undeclared major. Column (2) refers to students applying to a bachelor of science degree program, excluding those in column (3). Column (3) refers to applicants who intend to major in prebusiness, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics, or physics. Note that one unit equals one academic year of study.

  Required Minimum   Recommended Minimum
  (1) (2) (3)   (1) (2) (3)
English 4 4 4   4 4 4
Social Studies 3 3 3   4 4 4
Mathematics* 3 3 4   4 4 5
Laboratory Science** 2 2 3   3 3 4
Foreign Language 2 2 0   3 3 3
Other Academic Electives 3 3 3   5 4 3
Total 17 17 17   23 22 23

*Selected from algebra I, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, functions, math analysis, pre-calculus or calculus

**Selected from biology, chemistry, physics, or other advanced lab science

Freshman Score Optional Consideration

Score optional review provides an opportunity for applicants to be considered for admission without submitting or in disregard of standardized test scores. Admission to Mason remains a highly competitive process, and score optional candidates are considered on their own merits. Qualifying for score optional review does not guarantee admission to Mason. Qualifications for score optional consideration can be found at admissions.gmu.edu/scoreoptional

Acceptance of Freshman Admission Offer

Mason complies with the national freshman candidate reply date of May 1. Students confirm by completing the enrollment confirmation online or on the form in the admission packet and submitting it to the university with an enrollment deposit. The deposit is nonrefundable after May 1.

Transfer Requirements

Application for admission as a transfer student is competitive. Transfer applicants who have completed 30 or more credits are strongly encouraged to declare a specific major to benefit from academic advising within their intended department. Transfer applicants must submit official transcripts from each collegiate institution attended. Transfer applicants with fewer than 30 transferable credits must also submit a copy of their secondary school record and test scores. All non-native English speakers are required to submit official results of the TOEFL with a minimum score of 88 or the IELTS with a minimum academic score of 6.5. Completion of at least two English composition or literature classes with grades of C or better in each course may be submitted in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS exams. The English courses must be completed at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

Students on active academic or social probation, suspension, or dismissal are not eligible for transfer admission.

Transfer applicants who have been out of school for a semester or longer, excluding summers and school-designated breaks, must provide the Admissions Office with a statement describing activities during this period. A résumé may be submitted in lieu of a statement.

Transfer Credit

A student transferring to Mason receives a formal evaluation of transfer credit after admission and receipt of enrollment confirmation by the Office of Admissions. The student is responsible for providing the Office of Admissions official final transcripts of all coursework attempted at other colleges/universities. Transfer credit evaluations are considered final after the first semester of enrollment.

In general, credits are accepted from regionally accredited institutions, provided that a grade of C or better has been earned in the course and the course content is equal to that offered at Mason. Note that only credits, not grades, are transferred; grades for transferred courses will not become part of a student’s GPA at Mason. Transfer credit is not granted for study in unaccredited institutions. Course work from institutions not included in the admission application will not be eligible for transfer credit. George Mason University reserves the right to revoke admission, withhold the award of credit or disenroll students who fail to indicate all previous institutions attended on the admission application.

A minimum of 30 credits must be completed in residence at Mason and 45 credits of upper-level course work must be completed to qualify for graduation. While lower-level courses taken at previously attended institutions may meet the content requirement of some upper-level courses, they do not reduce the 45-credit upper-level requirement, and courses from other institutions do not reduce the 30-credit residency requirement.

Students enrolled on a campus of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) may access credit equivalency and articulation information at admissions.gmu.edu/TransferGuide.

Students accepted into a degree program at Mason are usually not expected to pursue simultaneous course work elsewhere. For more information, go to the Permission to Study Elsewhere section in the Registration, Attendance, and Grading  chapter of this catalog.

Application for a Second Bachelor’s Degree

Those holding one or more bachelor’s degrees may earn an additional bachelor’s degree at Mason in another discipline. Application for a second bachelor’s degree after conferral of a first degree from any accredited institution must be conducted through the Office of Admissions. After admission, students work with the appropriate academic program to develop an approved contract or course of study of at least 30 credits beyond the first degree, taken after admission to the second degree, to meet university residency requirements. Some units will have more stringent requirements. While this contract will detail college-level and major requirements to be met, these students do not have to meet Mason’s university General Education requirements.

Acceptance of Transfer Admission Offer

Admitted transfer students are required to confirm their enrollment by submitting an enrollment deposit by July 1 for fall entrance or December 1 for spring entrance. Enrollment deposits are non-refundable after these deadlines. Students unable to enroll may defer their transfer admission to the next semester after their original admission term.

Enrollment after Previous Attendance

Students in good academic standing who have missed two or more consecutive semesters of enrollment (excluding summer term) at Mason and do not meet any of the excluded categories listed below under Readmission after Previous Attendance may re-enter by completing a re-enrollment form available through the Registrar’s Office or at registrar.gmu.edu/forms/index.html. For graduate students and some undergraduate programs, academic department approval is also required.

Readmission after Previous Attendance

Students who have missed two or more consecutive semesters of enrollment (excluding summer term) at Mason must apply for readmission through the Office of Admissions if any of the following conditions are true:

  • The student has not been enrolled at Mason for five years or more.
  • The student is an undergraduate returning after any absence during which he or she studied at another institution without prior written permission of his or her school or college. Such students must reapply as transfer students.
  • The student is international with F-1 or J-1 immigration status.
  • The student was suspended or dismissed from any college or university for nonacademic reasons.
  • The student was academically dismissed from Mason.
  • The student was ever convicted of a felony.

Right to Withdraw Offer

Mason reserves the right to withdraw offers of admission if applicants fail to satisfy all requirements or it is determined that admission was obtained through the use of incomplete, falsified, altered, or embellished information. In the case of withdrawal of admission from a matriculated student, credit earned at Mason may be withheld.

Graduate Admission Policies


Admission to graduate programs is competitive. Selection criteria differ by program and are established by departmental faculty. Applicants are evaluated on the strength of their academic background, results of standardized exams (if required by the program), work experience, and any additional evidence of potential success in the program. Each year, departmental faculty members determine the number of admission offers they may extend by the university resources available for their program.

Admission Standards

To be considered for degree status, the general university graduate admission requirements are as follows:

  • An earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or international equivalent, verified from official transcripts. (For details, see Admission of International Students section.)
  • A 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale or better in baccalaureate study. The GPA requirement is higher for many graduate programs. For students with post baccalaureate credits, a separate GPA is calculated for each institution. Note: The difficulty of the baccalaureate degree and work experience may be considered in assessing the requirements for admission.

Provisional Admission

A degree-seeking graduate applicant with a baccalaureate degree who has not met all admission requirements may, at the discretion of the college or department, be offered provisional admission if sufficient evidence is presented to suggest the applicant has the ability to pursue graduate work. As a first priority when starting the graduate program, a provisionally admitted student must satisfy the conditions of admission. Once the student has satisfied the conditions specified in the offer of admission and submitted all admission credentials, the provisional qualifier will be removed from the student’s record. Written confirmation indicating the removal will be sent to the student from the college, school, or institute dean or director.

If the student does not meet the conditions within the first 12 credits (or a more restricted time frame specified by the department in the offer of provisional admission), the student will be terminated from the program. All applicants admitted provisionally are in degree-seeking status, and course work taken appears as part of their graduate-level transcript. Students in provisional status may not take courses in the consortium or elsewhere or transfer graduate course work into their program until the provisions of admission have been met.

Students admitted into a graduate preparation bridge program in provisional status can complete up to 30 credits of coursework in preparation for a graduate degree. While the provision is in effect, graduate students whose registration includes undergraduate courses are considered full time if they meet the undergraduate standard by being registered in at least 12 credit hours per semester.

Graduate Application Requirements

For full consideration for graduate admission, applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed online Application for Graduate Study
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • Application for Virginia In-State Tuition Rates, if claiming entitlement to these rates
  • Two official transcripts from all institutions attended for each program applied to unless the programs are in the same college or school
  • Goals statement
  • Letters of recommendation as required by the program
  • Official exam scores, such as GRE or GMAT, reported directly from the appropriate testing service, as required by the program
  • Other materials specified by the program, including departmental forms, portfolio, or interview

International applicants should read the Admission of International Students section for more information on required documentation. Specific departmental admission requirements for degree-seeking students are listed in this catalog under the relevant discipline.

Graduate Applications

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online at admissions.gmu.edu. Applications for the School of Law can be found at www.law.gmu.edu. Applying online saves students time and money. In addition, students should collect all supplementary materials and submit them to the appropriate graduate processing center listed below.

Application Processing Centers

The graduate admissions process is decentralized at Mason. Applicants should send their applications and support documents directly to the Graduate Admissions Application Processing Center assigned to their program. Specific mailing instructions are listed at admissions.gmu.edu/grad, as well as below. Once a graduate application is complete and ready to be evaluated for admission, the graduate application file is sent to the academic department for review by the Faculty Admissions Committee. An applicant is notified by mail of the admission decision.

Below is a list of the Graduate Admissions Application Processing Centers with contact information. Graduate admission questions may be directed to the specific center assigned to an applicant’s program by school, college, or institute.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 2D2
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-3699
Fax: 703-993-8714
E-mail: chssgrad@gmu.edu

College of Health and Human Services (CHHS)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 5A8
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-1736
Fax: 703-993-3606
E-mail: chhsgrad@gmu.edu

College of Science (COS)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 6A3
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-9532
Fax: 703-993-9034
E-mail: cosgrad@gmu.edu

College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 4D1
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-2010
Fax: 703-993-2020
E-mail: cehdgrad@gmu.edu

The Volgenau School of Engineering (VSE)
4400 University Drive, MS 3D5 (use MS 5C8 for PhD programs)
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-1512
Fax: 703-993-1242
E-mail: itegadm@gmu.edu

School of Law

3301 Fairfax Drive, MS 1G3
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-993-8010
Fax: 703-993-8088
E-mail: lawadmit@gmu.edu

School of Management (SOM)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 5A2
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-2136
Fax: 703-993-1778
E-mail: somgrad@gmu.edu

School of Public Policy (SPP)
Graduate Office
3351 Fairfax Drive, MS 3B1
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-993-8099
Fax: 703-993-4876
E-mail: spp@gmu.edu

College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 1C9
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-1158
Fax: 703-993-4622
E-mail: cvpagrad@gmu.edu

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR)
Graduate Office
3351 Fairfax Drive, MS 4D3
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-993-3655
Fax: 703-993-1302
E-mail: icarinfo@gmu.edu

Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study (KR)
Graduate Office
4400 University Drive, MS 6B2
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-9298
Fax: 703-993-9290
E-mail: cssgrad@gmu.edu

Graduate Admission Exams

Most graduate programs use test scores as an additional measurement of an applicant’s qualifications. For departmental admissions test requirements, consult the table at admissions.gmu.edu/grad.

Information and registration bulletins for all national graduate admissions exams are available at the University Admissions Office.

The GRE may be taken in two forms: the general exam and subject exam. Some departments require official scores for both types of exams. Students may schedule the computer-based GRE general exam by calling 800-473-2255. Students may register for the GRE subject exam online at www.gre.org. To have GRE scores sent to Mason, please use school code 5827.

The GMAT is required of all applicants seeking admission to any SOM degree program. Students may schedule the computer-based GMAT online at www.mba.com. The various programs at Mason all have separate GMAT codes. For the appropriate code for your program of interest, go to www.mba.com.

The GMAT is also accepted by some programs in the Volgenau School of Engineering and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Be sure to send your score to Mason by using the correct program code.

The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is a test of 100 analogies and may substitute for the GRE in some graduate programs. To have official MAT scores sent to Mason, use Mason’s MAT code 1768. For information about scheduling the MAT, call 800-622-3231 or go to www.tpcweb.com - Miller Analogies Test.

The Praxis I is required by the College of Education and Human Development for graduate applicants to initial teacher licensure programs. Students may schedule the Praxis I by calling 800-853-6773. Passing scores on both Praxis I and Praxis II exams are required for program completion.

All Mason graduate programs strictly require applicants to meet the English proficiency standard. Applicants who have earned a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited university in the United States, Canada (excluding province of Quebec), United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand are considered to have met that standard. All other applicants are required to take an English proficiency examination and meet minimum scores set by Mason in order to be considered for admission. The TOEFL IETLS – Academic exam, or Pearson Test of English can be used to meet this requirement. Additional information on English language proficiency requirements can be found in the Graduate Policies  section of this catalog.

Further information regarding English language proficiency exams can be found at www.toefl.org, www.ielts.org or www.pearsonpte.com.

Foreign Language Requirements

Certain graduate programs require students to demonstrate foreign language proficiency at a specified level. Students entering programs that require intermediate-level proficiency can demonstrate that proficiency via previous course work that is equivalent to Mason’s foreign language course numbered 210 or, in some programs, by passing an exam. Contact the academic program for information on how to demonstrate language proficiency.

Admission of Graduate Degree Holders

Those holding one or more graduate degrees may earn an additional graduate degree in another discipline. For admission to a second graduate degree program, students should submit an application, transcripts, and other documents as required by the second degree program. Course credits used to satisfy the degree requirements for the first graduate degree may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements for the second graduate degree. In programs with overlapping or similar requirements, students will be advised in the subsequent degree program regarding appropriate course substitutions for subjects already covered.

Offer of Admission

The written offer of admission specifies the effective date of admission, category of admission offered, and name of the faculty advisor assigned to the applicant. This offer is good only for the semester for which the applicant applies. The offer must be accepted by returning an Intent to Enroll form and a deposit, if required by the school or college. Those whose offer of admission has lapsed must submit a new application and fee to be reconsidered for admission at a later date. Students may simultaneously apply to more than one graduate program, but if they are admitted to more than one program, they may accept only one offer and pursue only one degree program at a time.

Right to Withdraw Offer

Mason reserves the right to withdraw offers of admission if applicants fail to satisfy all requirements or it is determined that admission was obtained through the use of incomplete, falsified, altered, or embellished information. In the case of withdrawal of admission from a matriculated student, credit earned at Mason may be withheld.

Reactivation of Deferred Applications

Applicants are notified when action on an application has been deferred pending completion of courses that are prerequisite to graduate study in a chosen field. Applicants are encouraged to notify their program’s Graduate Admissions Processing Center in writing as soon as prerequisites have been met. Applicants are responsible for furnishing official transcripts confirming that prerequisite courses have been satisfactorily completed. An admission decision cannot be made until these grades are received.

Change in Field of Graduate Study

Admission for graduate study is admission to a specific program. Therefore, a student is not free to change graduate programs at will. Students seeking to change from one graduate program to another (at the same level and within the same college) need the approval of their dean and should contact their dean’s office for the appropriate form and instructions. Note that residency requirements must be met after the change to the new program, and no new time limit is given. For students seeking a change between two colleges, resignation from the previous program, a new application, application fee, official transcripts, and proof of degree from prior institutions are required. Previous acceptance into one graduate program does not guarantee acceptance into another.

Graduate Study during Summer Term

Graduate programs do not admit for summer term, however, students accepted for the fall semester are considered admitted students and some graduate programs may allow students to take courses during the preceding summer.

Records Maintenance and Disposal

All admissions documents, including academic records sent from other institutions, become part of the official university file. Admission credentials are retained for only 12 months. They are subsequently destroyed if applicants do not register for courses within the period for which the offer of admission is valid; have been denied admission; do not respond to requests for additional information; or fail to submit complete applications, including all official transcripts and test results.

Admission of International Students


General Requirements

Application for admission by international students holding or seeking F-1 or J-1 visas should be made directly to the Office of Admissions via the online application. Deadlines for the fall semester are before January 1 for undergraduates and February 15 for graduates. For the spring semester, the deadline for all applicants is October 1. These deadlines ensure adequate time to process applications and prepare immigration documents. All international applications must be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee. Items that must be submitted with the application form are official transcripts and degree certificates (in original language and, if applicable, certified English translation); evidence of English proficiency (via official score reports from the TOEFL IELTS or Pearson exam); the Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR); financial support documents; copy of passport identification page; and for those present in the United States, copies of immigration documents verifying current nonimmigrant status. Please visit admissions.gmu.edu for full details on items required and deadlines.

Applications from international students are reviewed with all other applications. Admission to the university is competitive; therefore, while minimum standards ensure that an application will be considered, they do not guarantee admission. The number of applicants, qualifications of the applicant pool, and the amount of available space determine the number of admission offers that Mason can make. In addition to overall admission requirements, some schools and colleges have individual requirements for acceptance into the major. For more information, see school or college admission requirements.

Applicants who are accepted to a program will receive a written offer of admission. Most students come to the United States on an F-1 visa, but students who are sponsored by the U.S. government, their home government, or another organization may be required to enter the United States on a J-1 Exchange Visitor’s Visa. To be issued an immigration document (Form I-20 for F-1 status or Form DS2019 for J-1 status), students must prove they have sufficient financial support to cover their expenses while at Mason. If the documentation submitted is satisfactory, the university will issue Form I-20 for F-1 status or Form DS2019 for J-1 status and mail it to the address indicated on the International Student Information Form.

International students outside the United States must take the immigration document to the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest their place of residence and apply for an F-1 or J-1 student visa. The basic requirements for obtaining a student visa are a letter of admission, evidence of financial support, an immigration document issued by the school they wish to attend, a valid passport, and proof of strong ties to the home country. For more information about the visa application process, check with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or go to the Department of State’s web site: www.state.gov.

Students in a nonimmigrant visa category other than F-1 or J-1 may submit the CFR and copies of immigration documents indicating their immigration status. They do not need to submit financial support documents unless they plan to change to a student visa. For more information pertaining to immigration status, contact the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) at 703-993-2970. Additional information is available on the OIPS web site: oips.gmu.edu.

Freshman and Transfer Requirements

A transfer student is one who has completed course work at another college or university after graduating from high school. In addition to the requirements defined for all applicants, international students must meet the following standards:

  • Freshman applicants must submit certified official copies of all secondary or high school transcripts in the original language along with an English translation, if applicable. Results of any exit certificates or university entrance exams also must be submitted.
  • All freshman applicants are required to submit satisfactory scores on the SAT I or ACT.
  • Applicants must demonstrate English proficiency. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL, Pearson Test of English, or IELTS exam results. To be considered for admission, applicants must have scored at least 230 on the computer-based TOEFL, 88 on the Internet-based TOEFL, 570 on the paper-based TOEFL and 4.5 on the TOEFL essay, or must have received a score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS exam. Official test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service or IELTS. For more information, visit Test of English as a Foreign Language web site at www.toefl.org, the IELTS web site at www.ielts.org, or the Pearson Test of English web site at www.pearsonpte.com.
  • All transcripts from colleges or universities outside the United States must be translated into English and evaluated by a recognized U.S. evaluation service before an admission decision can be made. Applicants are responsible for the timely translation and evaluation of documents and all costs and fees associated with these services. A list of suggested evaluation agencies is available at www.naces.org/members.htm.
  • International students already in the United States with F-1 status must complete immigration transfer procedures within 15 days of the program start date. For processing of immigration transfers, contact OIPS at 703-993-2970 or oips.gmu.edu.

Graduate Requirements

International students interested in pursuing graduate study must meet the following requirements:

  • In order to be considered for admission, applicants must complete the online Application for U.S. Graduate Study and submit all required materials, including any required by their academic program.

English Proficiency Standards

Mason students participate in rigorous graduate coursework as part of their university educational experience. Therefore, students at Mason must have a full command of academic English at the graduate level in order to be successful throughout their studies. All new graduate students are expected to accurately comprehend written graduate-level English, clearly understand rapidly spoken English in classroom lectures and in professional settings, write with proper grammar and syntax, and be able to respond quickly in English using a vocabulary appropriate for collegiate settings.

For this reason, Mason has a high standard of English proficiency for graduate admission. All Mason graduate programs strictly require applicants to meet that English proficiency standard. Applicants who have earned a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited university in the United States, Canada (excluding province of Quebec), United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand are considered to have met that standard. All other applicants are required to take an English proficiency examination and meet minimum scores set by Mason in order to be considered for admission. The TOEFL, Pearson Test of English, or IELTS exams can be used to meet this requirement.

Decisions regarding English proficiency are the sole discretion of Mason Admissions offices.

Listed below are the English proficiency examinations that Mason accepts and the corresponding minimum score requirements and submission procedures. Individual programs reserve the right to set higher minimum scores:


IBT 88 points total AND a minimum of 20 points in each section
CBT 230 points
PBT 570 points

IELTS - Academic
6.5 total band score

Pearson Test of English
59 overall score

All English proficiency scores are valid for two years from the test date. Official test scores must be provided directly from the testing agency. For IELTS and the Pearson Test of English, please make sure you have scores sent to the Mason Office of Graduate Admissions. It is not necessary to use the exact department code as test scores arrive to our institution electronically.

  • All transcripts from colleges or universities outside the United States must be translated into English, if applicable, and submitted for evaluation to the graduate school to which the applicant is applying. Mason will provide evaluation service free of charge for all international transcripts. Because of volume, more time may be needed to process applications requiring a Mason evaluation. For expedited service, students can submit their documents to a recognized U.S. evaluation service at their own expense. A list of recognized evaluation services is available in Mason’s Admissions Office or at www.naces.org.
  • Graduate students’ documents should show the award of either a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, or a graduate degree.

For Students with International Degrees

Mason requires the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from an appropriately accredited international institution of higher education for admission to a graduate degree program. All applicants who were educated outside the United States are required to submit an official credential evaluation, written either by an approved evaluation company or by Mason evaluators. Complete information on this and all international admissions requirements can be found at admissions.gmu.edu/global/intlAdmissionRequirements.asp

Special Conditions for International Applicants

A complete list of application requirements at all levels can be found online at admissions.gmu.edu/global/intlAdmissionRequirements.asp.  It is also important to note the following:

  • Federal regulations prohibit students on visitor visas (B-1 and B-2) from enrolling in school. Students who entered the United States on a visitor visa should not plan to study. For more information, contact OIPS.
  • Federal regulations prohibit F-2 spouses of F-1 students from engaging in full-time study, and F-2 children may engage in full-time study only from kindergarten through 12th grade. F-2 dependents may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature. F-2 dependents seeking to pursue full-time or degree study in the United States must change their status to F-1. For more information, contact OIPS.
  • Students enrolled at the university in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status must maintain full-time enrollment each fall and spring semester. For undergraduate students, this means 12 credit hours each semester. Full-time status for graduate students is defined by the Registrar, and information can be found in the Graduate Policies  section of this catalog. Because of this requirement, F-1 or J-1 international students do not qualify for part-time programs.
  • Admission for international students is offered for fall (August) and spring (January).
  • Prospective students who seek to enter the United States in F-1 or J-1 immigration status, or who seek to attend Mason following attendance at another US school, must complete the Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR), which can be downloaded from admissions.gmu.edu. The form and financial support documents must be submitted to the Admissions Office with the application.
  • Students already in the United States should submit copies of immigration documents verifying current nonimmigrant status. This documentation should be submitted with the application for admission.
  • Prior to issuing an I-20 or DS-2019 form, the University is required to verify that a student has sufficient financial support to pay for both educational and living expenses. If source is a sponsor, confirmed funding must be documented for the first year of study, typically with a sponsor letter and current bank statement or a scholarship award letter or an assistantship offer. The source of funds for subsequent years must be shown, although for sponsored students a bank statement is required only for the first year. Students who are self-funded must show funds on deposit for the full term of their program. The CFR gives an estimate of annual expenses, including tuition, living expenses, and health insurance; and it also explains what type of documentation is accepted.
  • All new students at the university must submit an Immunization Record Form Card signed by a health professional. Detailed information and forms are available at shs.gmu.edu/immunizations
  • Financial sponsors who wish to be billed directly must provide a U.S. billing address. Mason does not bill third parties overseas. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure tuition and fees are paid on time.

International Student Health Insurance

University policy requires all F-1 and J-1 visa students to have health insurance. Federal law requires all students on a J-1 visa to have health insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. Medical evacuation coverage pays for returning a seriously ill student to his or her home country. Repatriation coverage pays for returning a student’s remains to his or her home country.

Mason offers health insurance for students on J-1 and F-1 visas. When international students register for classes, the cost of this coverage is automatically billed to their account by the Office of Student Accounts. This fee is due by the tuition payment due date. Failure to pay this insurance fee or successfully obtain an exemption may result in the cancellation of class registration. Late fees may be assessed if charges are not paid by the deadline established by the Cash Office.

International students are required to purchase insurance for the entire year. If a student graduates or terminates enrollment after the fall semester, has not submitted any claims and will leave the United States, the student may apply for a spring refund. The student must submit a written refund request to the Student Health Insurance Office. The refund request will be sent to the insurance company. Submission of a request does not guarantee that a refund will be issued. Refunds are granted by the insurance company, not George Mason University. For more information, please contact the Mason Student Health Insurance Office.

Exemption from the International Student Health Insurance

International students are automatically enrolled in the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan. International students with health insurance coverage from the following list may request an exemption from the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan. Submission of a request does not guarantee that a waiver will be granted. The Student Health Insurance Office reserves the right to review a student’s health insurance policy to verify coverage.

Students may apply for an exemption: 

1.      If they have a scholarship or government-sponsored program that provides insurance for them that meets or exceeds the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan.

2.      If they or their spouse or parent have a United States employer who provides health insurance for them that meets or exceeds the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan. 

Each fall, continuing F-1 and J-1 visa students are required to either pay for the Mason Student Health Insurance or successfully obtain an exemption. Exemptions must be obtained no later than one week after the last day to add/drop classes.

For more information and exemption form, please visit shs.gmu.edu/insurance.

Nondegree Enrollment


Nondegree Status

Nondegree status enables students who have no immediate degree objective or may need to satisfy prerequisites for admission to a degree program to enroll in courses for which they are qualified without seeking formal admission to a degree program. Enrollment in specific courses is based on eligibility criteria and availability of space in courses; in high-demand fields, enrollment may be restricted or prohibited.

All nondegree applicants must complete a nondegree online application for admission and supply official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions they have attended. High school guest applicants must submit an official high school transcript.

International students are typically not admitted in non-degree status. The only exception is for those students who attend George Mason University pursuant to the terms of an exchange agreement or memorandum of understanding between Mason and their home university. Those students are required to process their applications and all documentation through the Center for Global Education, and to pay the associated fee.

Nondegree application information and deadlines are available online at admissions.gmu.edu.

Standards for Admission

Admission to Mason as a nondegree student is competitive and based on space availability. Nondegree admission is not automatically granted, and nondegree admission does not guarantee enrollment in any specific course or any future degree programs. Nondegree applicants must meet the standards for admission that would apply to the equivalent degree-seeking status.

Graduate Nondegree

Admission to non-degree graduate study at Mason is highly competitive. Among the factors which may be considered in the admissions process are previous academic performance, professional experience, academic fit, and other standards, at the discretion of each graduate unit. Some graduate units do not accept nondegree applications.

Individual units and majors may have additional requirements for nondegree graduate status (see below and also admissions.gmu.edu/nondegree). Once admitted to graduate non-degree status, students are considered graduate students and tuition charges are calculated as such, regardless of the level of course(s) in which they are enrolled. A student cannot graduate or receive a degree while in nondegree status. Nondegree graduate students may not register for classes numbered 700 or higher. All master’s programs require at least 18 credits to be completed in degree status at Mason to be considered for graduation, and some graduate programs allow a maximum of 6 credits to be transferred from nondegree status. Students who plan to seek a degree from Mason are strongly encouraged to apply for degree status admission and seek departmental advising as soon as possible.

Nondegree students are expected to maintain the same academic standards as degree-seeking students. See Academic Termination in the Graduate Policies  section of this catalog.

Undergraduate Nondegree

Qualified high school students, current college students, and college degree holders may apply to enroll in non-degree undergraduate classes via the online undergraduate application. Transcripts from all colleges attended are required. High school transcripts may be required.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree seeking to take undergraduate courses must meet the standards for admission for a bachelor’s degree. These students will be considered undergraduate students and are not eligible to take graduate courses or receive graduate academic advising. Students who later seek to enroll in graduate courses or wish to receive graduate academic advising must submit a new nondegree graduate application and be reconsidered for admission.

Nondegree studies students are allowed to register for a maximum of 10 credits per semester. A maximum of 18 undergraduate credits may be applied to an undergraduate degree program on approval of the undergraduate program’s dean.

All undergraduate nondegree students are subject to the academic standing regulations and sanctions described in the Requirements for Retention section in the Academic Policies  chapter of this catalog.

High School Guests

Students who are currently enrolled in good standing in high school but have not yet graduated from high school and do not have a GED may be considered for admission as high school guests. These applicants will be evaluated based on their academic performance in high school. Only students who have excelled in high school and demonstrate the preparation and maturity indicative of the potential to succeed in Mason’s competitive course work will be admitted. Mason cannot guarantee that courses will fulfill high school graduation requirements or that courses taken while a high school guest will transfer to other institutions.

Academic Advising

On initial enrollment, nondegree students are assigned to one of the colleges, schools, or institutes at Mason according to their original course selection and level (graduate or undergraduate). Once assigned, the academic unit is responsible for advising and handling requests that require a dean’s permission.

Grades earned through nondegree studies remain a part of the student’s permanent nondegree record and are recorded on the standard university nondegree transcript. They will not appear on the degree transcript unless the student is accepted to a degree program and permission is given by the dean to apply the nondegree credit to the degree program.

Senior Citizens

Under terms of the Senior Citizen Higher Education Act of 1974, eligible Virginia residents 60 years of age or older, with a taxable income not exceeding $15,000, are entitled to enroll in courses offered for academic credit on a space available basis without paying tuition and enrollment fees. In order for this to occur, the applicant must meet all admission requirements. Senior citizens who meet all admission requirements, the income eligibility requirement, and have completed a minimum of 75 percent of degree requirements may enroll in a degree program during normal registration periods without paying tuition and enrollment fees. The admissions application fee cannot be waived, but students who qualify to have all tuition and fees waived will have the application fee reimbursed.

Citizens who wish to take advantage of this act must complete the appropriate online nondegree or degree application found at admissions.gmu.edu and submit all required transcripts and documents. If the application for admission is approved, qualified senior citizens can request a waiver of tuition and enrollment fees by completing the Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver Form, available from the Registrar’s Office or online at registrar.gmu.edu/forms/index.html. To facilitate processing, senior citizens should provide their Mason student identification number on the waiver form.

In addition, the act allows admissible senior citizens to audit courses (no academic credit is received) and enroll in up to three noncredit courses per semester without paying tuition and enrollment fees, regardless of the taxable income level. Students seeking to audit a class must notify the Registrar’s Office when registering for classes. Students seeking to enroll in noncredit courses should call the Office of Continuing Professional Education at 703-993-2109. Fees for course materials may apply to senior citizen enrollees, and tuition may be charged for courses designed exclusively for senior citizen groups. Senior citizens must adhere to all admissions and registration policies and processes and follow normal procedures to add and drop courses within the deadline dates outlined in each semester’s academic calendar.

Summer Term

Phone: 703-993-2300
Fax: 703-993-8871
Web: summer.gmu.edu

Summer enrollment provides an opportunity for eligible undergraduate, graduate, and nondegree students to begin or continue the pursuit of their academic goals. Courses are offered in intensive five- to eight-week sessions, as daytime and evening classes and as distance education courses. Many academic departments take advantage of the unique summer term opportunities to schedule innovative programming focusing on raising community awareness and involvement. 

Summer registration for current Mason students begins in mid-March while registration for nondegree students begins in late March to early April. Students who are new to Mason are required to apply and be evaluated for admission. Prospective students should apply online at admissions.gmu.edu/applynow.

Academic Testing


Advanced Placement and Credit by Exam

The Office of Admissions awards transfer credit for several advanced standing examinations based upon minimum score requirements established by Mason academic departments. A complete list can be found at admissions.gmu.edu/exams. Students are responsible for providing official test score transcripts at time of application. Transfer credit evaluations are considered final after the first semester of enrollment. 

Mason Departmental Exams

Proficiency exams are offered in a number of courses usually taken during the first two years. Students may not earn credit by exam for courses in which they are currently enrolled beyond the time allotted to add courses in that semester, or for courses already audited or failed at the university. Transfer students may not earn by exam any part of the 30 credits that must be completed at Mason to earn a degree.

English 101 and English 302 Proficiency Testing

The English Department offers proficiency testing for the required composition courses English 101 and English 302. Students seeking a waiver for English 101 may take the English 101 Proficiency Exam. Students seeking a waiver for English 302 may submit a writing portfolio to the English Department and complete a timed exam. Students who receive a waiver through these processes do not also receive course credit. Additional information can be found on the exemptions page of the Composition website composition.gmu.edu/students/exemptions/engl302.php.

Foreign Language Placement

The College Board SAT II test in a foreign language is used for placement in many of the languages offered at Mason. Freshman applicants who wish to receive the appropriate foreign language placement should take this exam during their senior year in high school. The SAT II exam is mandatory for anyone who has studied one of these languages for at least two years, has no previous college credit in the language, and seeks to continue study of the same language at Mason. Transfer students receiving credit for college-level foreign language study completed at other colleges usually do not need a placement test, but should consult the Department of Modern and Classical Languages to determine correct placement.

For students who wish to continue the study of a language at Mason, it is the student’s responsibility to take a placement exam and obtain results before enrolling in a foreign language course. The placement exam is given in conjunction with orientation. The schedule can be found on the website of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Specific information on interpreting test scores can be obtained from the department.

Some students whose degree programs require intermediate proficiency in a foreign language may be eligible for a waiver of the requirement based on prior knowledge of foreign language. For information on waiver of the foreign language requirement see the website of the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Math Placement Exam

The Math Placement Exam is a computer-based test to help assess a student’s proficiency. Entering students are required to complete the exam successfully during orientation unless they have received AP credit or transfer credit. The web address for the math placement test schedule is located at math.gmu.edu