How does the Admissions Committee evaluate an application?
The Admissions Committee carefully considers all parts of the application. They pay particular attention to your past academic performance, rigor of the course selection, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, professional goals statement, writing sample, and professional experience.
Do I have to take the GRE, and if so, what score is required for admission?
All applicants must take the GRE. It provides us with a standard measurement for all applicants.
How do I send my letters of recommendation
In the online application there is a section where you input your recommenders’ names and email addresses. They will receive an invitation to write a letter on your behalf, which will be attached to your application once they submit it.
After you complete the top segment of each of the three recommendation forms, please give them to the individuals writing letters of recommendation for you. As a part of the self-managed application process, please ask them to place their recommendations in envelopes addressed to you, and you will forward them to the Office of Graduate Admission, unopened, with the rest of your supporting application documents. If letters are sent without the recommendation form, be certain that your recommendation writers identify you and the program for which you are applying clearly in the letter.
What is the Admissions Committee looking for in a professional goals statement?
The goals statement should be 750 to 1,000 words. Please print your name and birth date on the goals statement if it is sent in separately from the application so that we will be able to link this to your on-line application.
For master’s and doctoral students: Please include in the goals statement a description of your personal qualities and development and how they have influenced your career choice; discuss your reasons for considering this particular degree program in relation to your academic background, professional work experience, and career goals; and tell us your reasons for selecting this program at George Mason University.
Doctoral applicants only: In the goals statement above, tell us the fields in which you expect to do doctoral study and research, describe how these interests have been influenced by your prior education, research, or work experience, let us know why you are considering a career in an academic, or research setting, and include any other information that will be relevant for evaluating your motivation to study and conduct research at the doctoral level.
What about the writing sample?
Applicants to the master’s program are strongly encouraged to submit a writing sample in addition to the professional goals statement. PhD applicants are required to submit a writing sample in addition to the professional goals statement.
The writing samples may be in the form of a sole-authored academic paper, published article, professional proposal, evaluation, or report. The ideal writing sample would demonstrate both your writing and analytical abilities. It should have a clearly articulated thesis statement and make an argument that analyzes the topic, rather than just describing it. The required length of the writing sample is 10-25 pages.
How do I apply and where do I send my application materials?
You must apply electronically by using the online application form.
Follow the steps in How to Apply.
How can I check to be sure all of my application materials have been received?
The How to Apply web page explains how to check your application status.
May I attend as a part-time student? May I change my status from full-time to part-time or from part-time to full time?
Yes, you may attend as a part-time student. You may also change your status as a part-time or full-time status at any time, and no paperwork is required for change of status.
How many classes/credits are considered full-time?
A full-time course load is three classes (nine credits). We recommend that a student not take more than 4 classes (12 credits) per semester.
If a student holds a full-time assistantship (20 hours a week), two classes (six credits) is considered full-time.
How long does it take to complete the masters program?
How fast a student completes the program depends on how many classes a student takes per semester. However, master’s degree students have six years to complete their degree from the time of first enrollment as a degree-seeking student. Failure to complete the degree within the time limit, or to secure approval of an extension, may result in termination from the program.
If a student fails to enroll in at least 1 credit of course work for two or more consecutive semesters at Mason, the student will have to obtain permission to re-enroll in the program.
How long does it take to complete the PhD program?
How fast a student completes the PhD program depends on how many courses are taken per semester, if the student has received a course reduction based on an earned master’s degree, and how long it takes to write the dissertation. Doctoral students have six years from the time of first enrollment as a degree-seeking student to advance to candidacy. Students have five years from the time of advancement to candidacy to meet graduation requirements. Failure to meet the time limits, or to secure approval of an extension, may result in termination from the program.
What kind of financial aid is available?
The department offers a few, very competitive teaching and research assistantships. When applying for admission, students should indicate their interest in being considered for assistantships.
Other opportunities for financial aid may be found through on the webpage Funding for Graduate Study (below) or through the George Mason University Office of Financial Aid at http://financialaid.gmu.edu.
Do you offer political science courses in the summer?
There are a limited number of political science courses offered in the summer. You also have the opportunity to take courses outside the department for your electives during the summer months or to do an independent study. Please contact your academic advisor with any questions about course selection.
GRE Graduate Record Exam