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Graduate Admissions FAQ

  1. I’d like to speak or meet with someone in Admissions; how do I set up a meeting?
  2. When and where are classes held?
  3. How much does tuition cost per credit hour?
  4. Do I have to submit an application if I want to take a class, but am not interested in pursuing a degree?
  5. What can I do to strengthen my application?
  6. Who should write my recommendation letters?
  7. When are the admissions deadlines?
  8. Where do I send my application materials?
  9. Where do I send my transcripts if I studied at an U.S. institution? Where do I send my transcripts if I studied outside of the U.S.? 
  10. How do I apply?
  11. If I am not sure what my undergraduate GPA is, what should I enter on the Previous College screen of the online application?
  12. I applied online; how should I submit my resume and goals statement?
  13. My recommenders deleted or never received their email giving them access to upload their recommendation letter into my online application. How do I send the email prompt to them again?
  14. How do I check my application status?
  15. When and how will I find out my final admissions decision?
  16. My domicile status is incorrect or has changed; how do I change my status?
  17. If I am an out-of-state student my first year at Mason, is it possible for me to qualify for in-state tuition my second year?
  18. I am an international student and have questions regarding my visa; whom should I contact?
  19. Is it possible to defer my offer of admission?
  20. I was awarded a scholarship from the Schar School; where do I see the scholarship posted on my account?
  21. Where do I see my enrollment deposit credited?
  22. How long is the program?
  23. I am currently enrolled in a Masters program at another institution and would like to transfer to the Schar School. How many courses can I transfer?
  24. What type of career opportunities are available with a Schar School degree?

1. I’d like to speak or meet with someone in Admissions; how do I set up a meeting?
If you would like to set up an appointment, please email the Schar School Graduate Admissions at schar@gmu.edu. Make sure to include your name and what program you’re interested in, and someone will get back to you shortly. Please note that meetings are informational only. We do not conduct interviews. Additionally, you may want to consider attending one of our Open Houses or Information Sessions. At these events, you will have the opportunity to meet with Admissions staff, program faculty, and current students.

2. When and where are classes held?
Most master’s classes are held Mondays–Thursdays in the late afternoon and evening on either the Arlington Campus or Fairfax Campus, depending on the program. The Organization Development and Knowledge Management degree is an executive format program and meets selected weekends throughout the year. The core curriculum for the Public Policy PhD is offered solely at the Arlington campus. The core curriculum courses for the Political Science and Biodefense PhD programs are offered at the Fairfax campus.

3. How much does tuition cost per credit hour?
Tuition for each program can be found on the individual Master’s program pages: http://schar.gmu.edu/programs/graduate-degrees/. To find out more about in- and out-of-state tuition, please visit the Domicile Office website.

4. Do I have to submit an application if I want to take a class, but am not interested in pursuing a degree?
Yes, the Schar School of Policy and Government requires that all students wishing to take classes apply to the Schar School. If you are not interested in seeking a degree through the Schar School, you can apply to take classes through our school as a non-degree student.

5. What can I do to strengthen my application?
Many courses at our school assume a solid foundation in subjects such as economics, statistics, and political science. If you have not taken courses in these subjects, did not perform as well in them as you would have liked, or just need a refresher, we suggest taking them at the undergraduate or community college level before applying to our graduate programs. Please be sure to send us your transcript from this coursework.

6. Who should write my recommendation letters?
Your recommendation letters should come from people who can attest to your academic potential for graduate study. Ideally, at least one recommendation would be from an individual who is familiar with your academic work – a faculty member with whom you took classes, collaborated with on research, participated in a study abroad or experiential learning immersion, etc. We recognize, however, that many of our applicants are somewhat removed from an academic setting and that relationships with previous professors are not always sustainable over time. Therefore, we request that letters of recommendation come from recommenders who can attest to both academic capability within the capacity they have supervised/observed/worked with you, elaborating on quantifiable characteristics including (but not limited to) intelligence, motivation, diligence, work ethic, academic interest, writing competence and analytical capability.

7. When are the admissions deadlines?
The PhD application deadline is December 1 for fall admission.  For master’s programs, the deadlines are listed below. Master’s applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and students are strongly encouraged to submit applications  in advance of these deadlines.

Master’s Program**Fall Application Deadline – Domestic ApplicantsSpring Application Deadline – Domestic ApplicantsInternational Student Deadline*
Political ScienceFebruary 1November 1For Spring 2016: International Students must submit applications one month prior to domestic applicant deadline
BiodefenseMay 1December 1
MPAMay 1December 1
MPPMay 1December 1
International Commerce and PolicyMay 1December 1
Peace OperationsMay 1December 1
Transportation Policy and LogisticsMay 1December 1
International SecurityMay 1December 1
Org. Development & Knowledge Mgmt.May 1N/A

*Please adhere to the international student deadlines if your undergraduate or graduate study is from outside of the United States regardless of your citizenship or visa status.

**For Master’s Scholarship or Assistantship Consideration: Fall Deadline–February 1; Spring Deadline—November 1

8. Where do I send my application materials?
With the exception of official transcripts (and writing sample for PhD applicants), all supporting documents will be accepted only if uploaded to your online application. Letters of recommendation should be submitted through the online option as well. If recommenders are unable to submit their letters online, please have them sent via email to masongrad@gmu.edu.

9a. Where do I send my transcripts from U.S. institutions?
Most application documents should be submitted via the online application. For application review purposes, you must upload an unofficial copy of your transcript from all universities attended in the U.S.

If admitted, you will be required to supply official transcripts. Official transcripts should be mailed to our office directly from the institution(s) attended. If transcripts arrive not sealed in the original envelopes, they are not considered official and will affect your enrollment status as a student for future terms.

Send all transcripts to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
4400 University Drive, MS 4C8
Fairfax, VA 22030
E-transcript: ugtrans@gmu.edu

9b. Where do I send my transcripts from institutions outside of the U.S.?

Applicants with international credentials are not allowed to upload transcripts via the online application. In order to be reviewed, you must submit via postal mail original and official transcripts and a copy of your degree certificate/diploma from the institution(s). If applicable, you must provide English translations as well. For more information, please review the International Applicant Requirements page.

Send all transcripts to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
4400 University Drive, MS 4C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

10. How do I apply?
In order to help you get started with the application process, please follow these steps: First, double check to make sure you do not already have an account with George Mason University: Click on the “Forgot your Username or Password?” link on the right side of the application page, fill in your email address in the form that pops up, and click the “search” button. If you have an account already, your user name and password will be emailed to you immediately. Please use this email to login and begin your application. If we were not able to locate your username after you completed the first step (above): Click on the “Create Account” button on the right to begin your application. You can submit an online application by going to the following web address: http://admissions.gmu.edu/grad/applynow/

11. If I am not sure what my undergraduate GPA is, what should I enter on the Previous College screen of the online application?
You can leave the GPA box blank and proceed with the rest of the application. When our office receives your transcripts, we will enter your GPA information into the application.

12. I applied online; how should I submit my resume and goals statement?
Your resume and goals statement should be uploaded directly into the online application. Only if you have technical trouble with uploading your documents should you email them to us at masongrad@gmu.edu. If you must email these documents, please be sure to put your full name, birth date or G number (if known) as a header at the top of each page.

13. My recommenders deleted or never received their email giving them access to upload their recommendation letter into my online application. How do I send the email prompt to them again?
If you would like to send your recommenders a reminder email to upload their letter, please complete the steps below:

  • Log into self service center.
  • Click on “application” on the top left then click “summary” under the Mason Graduate Application.
  • Click on “resend invitation.”

14. How do I check my application status?
To check your application status, you can log into your self service center here: https://masongrad.hobsonsradius.com/ssc/zx671mkk0x6G0x670wA71.ssc and click on “application” on the top left then click “summary” under Mason Graduate Application. The code will be “received” if your application was processed by staff. If your application has not been processed, your status will say ‘admissions reviewing”.

15. When and how will I find out my final admissions decision?
Applicants to our Master’s and Certificate programs will be notified to view their admission decision via their self service center approximately 6 weeks after the application has become complete, meaning that the Schar School has received all application materials.  PhD admission decisions are usually available to view in the self service center in mid-March.

16. My domicile status is incorrect or has changed; how do I change my status?
Please visit the George Mason University Domicile Office website for instructions on how to change your domicile status with the university.

17. If I am an out-of-state student my first year at Mason, is it possible for me to qualify for in-state tuition my second year?
It is extremely difficult to qualify for in-state tuition if you are an out-of-state student at the time of your application and matriculation into graduate school. You may petition for reclassification of your status. Please note, living in Virginia for the purpose of attending graduate school is insufficient to establish domicile. A student seeking reclassification should consult the following website: http://registrar.gmu.edu/students/domicile/.

18. I am an international student and have questions regarding my visa; whom should I contact?
The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) can assist international students with visa information, as well as other issues relevant to international students. This office also provides support for international students once they arrive at GMU.

19. Is it possible to defer my offer of admission?

Students who are accepted to Schar School certificate and masters programs are eligible for a one-time deferral of their admission to the following fall or spring semester. Admitted ODKM students may only defer to the following fall semester.

Please note that those admitted to our PhD programs are not eligible to defer their admission.

20. I was awarded a scholarship from the Schar School; where do I see the scholarship posted on my account?
Scholarships are posted on the bill sent to you from Student Accounts. If paying via Patriot Web, you will need to subtract your scholarship from the amount shown. To view scholarship information on Patriot Web:

  • Once logged in, click on FINANCIAL AID, then AWARD.
  • Click on AWARD AMOUNT BY TERM. Please note that only the current term’s award will be shown, even if an award has been granted for a future term.

21. Where do I see my enrollment deposit credited?
The enrollment deposit has been waived for those admitted to and enrolling in the Fall 2016 term. Applicants to Spring 2017 and beyond, are required to pay a $200 non-refundable deposit (submitted with the Enrollment Confirmation Form) which will be credited towards your first semester tuition costs. You can view this credit on Patriot Web and on the tuition bill sent to you from Student Accounts.

22. How long is the program?
For Ph.D Programs: If you attend as a full-time student, it takes, on average, 4-5 years to complete the program. If you attend as a part-time student, it takes, on average, 6 years to complete the program. Please note that the University imposes a degree time limit. All PhD students are required to complete all degree requirements within 10 years of the date of initial course registration.

For Masters Programs: If you attend as a full-time student, it takes, on average, 2 years to complete the program. If you attend as a part-time student, it takes about 3 years to complete the program. Please note that the University imposes a degree time limit. All master’s students are required to complete all degree requirements within 6 years of the date of initial course registration.

For Certificate Programs: If you attend as a full-time student, it takes 1 year to complete the program. If you attend as a part-time student, it takes 1.5 years to complete the program.

23. I am currently enrolled in a Masters program at another institution and would like to transfer to the Schar School. How many courses can I transfer?
You are allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 credits into our programs if they are deemed relevant to the curriculum. The remainder of credits must be completed through the Schar School.

24. What type of career opportunities are available with a Schar School degree?
The Schar School offers an in-house career services team for students. Please view career information and employment profiles list by academic programs via the following link http://schar.gmu.edu/current-students/career-services/employment-profile/.

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