What's it like at GMU?

A Spectacularly Diverse Student Body

Situated on the western edge of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, George Mason University is the largest (and fastest growing) of Virginia's public research universities. Our 37,000 students are predominantly from Virginia or the mid-Atlantic region, but the student body is one of the most diverse in the world, with 130 countries of origin represented and some 80 languages spoken on campus. Mason has a high proportion of first-generation college and graduate students, as well as a sizable population of veterans returning to school on the GI Bill. Mason graduate students range in age from their 20s to their 80s.

There is no "typical" Mason graduate student, so applicants of all ages, backgrounds, and identities will feel at home here. 

A Vibrant Campus Culture

While Mason has a reputation as a "commuter school," it is now a primarily residential college campus, with thousands of undergraduates living in dormitories and Living Learning Communities on campus. The 24/7 presence of so many undergraduate students means excellent retail, dining, and recreational facilities for all Mason students. Mason also offers housing for graduate students on the Fairfax and Science & Technology campuses. 

Mason students can get involved in over 350 student-led organizations, which provide opportunities to manage projects and demonstrate leadership. Many of these organizations are geared specifically to graduate students. Mason's Graduate and Professional Student Association provides further opportunity to get organized and get involved.

Proximity to DC

Nearby Washington, DC, offers students access to some of the world's great institutions. Students may participate in seminars and internships and use archives and collections available at research institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. DC's numerous non-profits, think tanks, and government contractors also provide excellent opportunities for those seeking internships or other experiential learning. In addition, George Mason University participates in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, cooperating in graduate course offerings and library facilities with American University, Catholic University, Georgetown University, Howard University, Marymount University, Trinity College, and the University of Maryland. Students may take up to 6 graduate credits at these other institutions while earning Mason credit and paying Mason tuition.

Flexible Class Schedules

Most Mason graduate courses meet once per week for 2 hours 40 minutes, either in the late afternoon (4:30-7:10 PM) or evening (7:20-10 PM) in order to accommodate students with work or teaching commitments during the day. The two Interdisciplinary Studies core courses always meet on Wednesday nights. Most Mason graduate courses are held on the Fairfax campus, but some (particularly those offered by the Schar School) will meet on the Mason Square campus

How Can I Apply?

Applications are made online via a centralized portal managed by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Applicants must apply to each Interdisciplinary Studies concentration separately, and application requirements for each may differ slightly. Consult the Applying tab for the concentration you are interested in, and scroll all the way down for specifics. 

What does the application entail?

Application requirements differ slightly by concentration, but in general, every applicant will provide:

  • A CV or resumé.
  • A goals statement that articulates your academic and/or professional aspirations and demonstrates why you are a good fit for this program.
  • A writing sample that demonstrates your ability to support claims with evidence and citation, engage the work of other scholars, and research and write at the graduate level. 
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your ability to be successful in a graduate classroom.
  • All college and graduate transcripts.
  • Proof of language proficiency (for international students only).

The GRE is not required for application to any Interdisciplinary Studies concentrations.

What is the application deadline?

Interdisciplinary Studies accepts applications to all concentrations in both the fall and spring semesters. 

The application review period for fall applications runs March 15 - July 1. The application review period for spring applications runs October 15 - December 1. Students have 2 weeks after the close of the application review period to submit their materials (letters & transcripts). Students who seek priority admission should apply by the earliest date in the application review period. 

I've Got Questions. Who Should I Ask?

We are here to help you! Our program email is mais@gmu.edu. You may also email the head of the concentration you're applying to for questions related to academic concerns and subject matter.