Why Study Here

A Dynamic Education for an Evolving World

Becoming part of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government means becoming part of a vibrant community of deep thinkers and highly motivated problem-solvers. The Schar School faculty members seek to push the frontiers of conventional wisdom, apply rigorous analysis to complex issues, and make connections with decision makers and leaders in public service. 

Located Where Policy Happens

Schar School students are connected to jobs, internships, networking, and experiences that can only be found in the Washington, D.C., area. Located just a few miles from downtown Washington, D.C., with easy access to archives and museums, policy makers and think tanks, consulting firms, global companies and nonprofits, and national and international events.

Rankings and Accolades

Many rankings programs do not release rankings every year. These represent the most recent rankings.

US News & World Report,
2024 Best Graduate Schools

No. 4  in Homeland Security (Best in Virginia)

No. 13 in Nonprofit Management (Best in Virginia)

No. 24 in Public Finance (Best in Virginia)

No. 34 in Public Policy Analysis

No. 39 Overall Among Public Affairs Institutions

Foreign Policy Magazine

Top Master's Programs for Policy Career in International Relations

ShanghaiRanking, 2022

No. 76 in the world for public administration programs

SpringerLink, 2020

No. 2 public policy school in Washington, D.C. area.


Top 20 of U.S. policy schools

Top-Ranked Degree Programs

The Schar School offers cutting-edge degrees in a range of subjects, including biodefense, government and international politics, global commerce and policy, international security, organization development and knowledge management, political science, public administration, and public policy.

Learn from Leaders

The Schar School's proximity to D.C. and George Mason University's long-standing reputation as a leading institution for public-policy studies brings students face-to-face with news makers and policy leaders covering a wide spectrum of expertise. The ranks of our distinguished faculty include current and former heads of federal agencies; officers of major national and international organizations; advisors to foreign governments; consultants to business; and thought-leaders in the ever-changing fields of governance and policy.

The Schar School's dedicated faculty takes their instruction seriously, because they are not just teaching a class—they are advising future industry peers. 

Build a Path to a Bright Career

Our programs are designed to build in-demand career knowledge and skills to address real-world policy challenges. In a challenging job market, 84% of Schar School graduates from Winter ’20 and Spring ’21 had confirmed post-graduate plans, such as a job or graduate school.

Mosaic tile
Mosaic tile
Where Our Recent Graduates Work

Undergraduate Programs Employment Sectors

Pie chart: Federal government 19%, Local government 4%, Multilateral/International 1%, NGO/Nonprofit 19%, Private Sector (Consulting) 18%, Private Sector (General) 34%, State Government 2%, Academia 3%

Data gathered from recent graduates from 2017-21

Graduate Programs Employment Sectors

Pie Chart: Federal Government 25%, Local Government 10%, Multilateral/International 3%, NGO/Nonprofit 17%, Private Sector (Consulting) 22%, Private Sector (General) 16%, State Government 1%, Academia 6%

Data gathered from recent graduates from 2017-21

Find an Unparalleled Student Experience

As a Schar School student, you'll have the opportunity to learn from faculty who are deeply respected in their careers. Enhance your academic experience through experiential learning in the form of relevant internships, short-term study abroad, and capstone work. You'll gain hands-on experience through research, internships, and job opportunities; and begin building a meaningful career while you study.

The Schar School offers myriad opportunities to connect with students from a wide range of backgrounds.