- I'd like to speak or meet with someone in Admissions; how do I set up a meeting?
- When and where are classes held?
- How much does tuition cost per credit hour?
- Do I have to submit an application if I want to take a class, but am not interested in pursuing a degree?
- What can I do to strengthen my application?
- Who should write my recommendation letters?
- When are the admissions deadlines?
- Where do I send my application materials?
- 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.?
- How do I apply?
- If I am not sure what my undergraduate GPA is, what should I enter on the Previous College screen of the online application?
- I applied online; how should I submit my resume and goals statement?
- 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?
- How do I check my application status?
- When and how will I find out my final admissions decision?
- My domicile status is incorrect or has changed; how do I change my status?
- 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?
- I am an international student and have questions regarding my visa; whom should I contact?
- Is it possible to defer my offer of admission?
- I was awarded a scholarship from the Schar School; where do I see the scholarship posted on my account?
- How long is the program?
- 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?
- 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 email@example.com. 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. To browse our schedule of open houses and events, click here. 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 Tuition and Financial Assistance page of the Schar School website. 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 or certificate-seeking 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. You may also apply as a non-degree seeking graduate student. 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 Fall 2020 PhD application is now available. Deadlines for all of our programs can be found on our How to Apply admissions page. All program applications, excluding PhD, are reviewed on a rolling basis, and students are strongly encouraged to submit applications in advance of these deadlines.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
9b. Where do I send my transcripts from institutions outside of the U.S.?
Applicants with international credentials may upload unofficial documents to the Self Service Center. Official documents must be sealed and sent via mail to the Office of Graduate Admissions. 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?
To begin your application, visit the Graduate Application page and click sign up. You will be prompted to enter your name and email address. Once you have done so, hit submit, and an email with your username and a link to create a password will be sent to you. Follow the prompts to create and confirm your new password. Your application portal will now be set up with the option to start a new application.
Start your application under Degree-Seeking for a PhD, master's, certificate, or accelerated master's program.
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 email@example.com. If you must email these documents, please be sure to put your full name, birth date or G number (if known), and the program that you are applying to 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 your application portal.
- Click on the application that you need the recommendation letter for.
- Click "send reminder."
- A pop-up dialog box will appear asking if you want to send a recommendation reminder to the recommender. Click "send."
14. How do I check my application status?
To check your application status, you can log into your application portal here. "My Applications" will show the completeness of all of your started applications. If the application has not been submitted, it will be less than 100%. If it has been submitted, then it will be 100%. If you click on an unsubmitted application, you will be able to finish the application. If you click a submitted application, the checklist on the right will show you the status of your requirements.
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 application portal in approximately 2-6 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 their application portal 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.
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?
Scholarship letters from the Schar School will indicate when they will be posted to your 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. 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.
22. 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.
23. What type of career opportunities are available with a Schar School degree?
The Schar School offers an in-house career services team for all current Schar graduate students and alumni. Please view career information and employment profiles list by academic programs here.