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George Mason University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Research the degree programs offered at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Learn about its academics, and get admission and financial aid info to decide if this is the right school for you.

About George Mason University

George Mason University (GMU) is the biggest public university in Virginia. The main campus is located in Fairfax, VA, 15 miles from Washington, D.C., with additional campuses in Arlington, Manassas and Sterling, Virginia. U.S. News & World Report ranked GMU as one of the top up-and-coming institutions in the country for 2013; the school was also ranked 139th among the top national universities.


GMU has 13 schools and colleges, including the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Public Policy and the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. The university offers close to 80 undergraduate programs, 123 graduate programs and one professional law program. Distance learning options are available, including standalone courses and full degree programs.

The Fairfax campus houses the Fenwick Library, which is the university's central research library, as well as the Johnson Center Library. GMU has an athletic complex with a 15,000 square-foot fitness area, an arts center with dance studios, theaters and a concert hall.

The university has over 75 study abroad programs with partner universities across the globe, including those in Argentina, Japan, Sweden and Italy. GMU also has a number of research institutes and centers, including the Institute for Humane Studies.


Prospective GMU students can apply online or by mail. Applicants must pay an application fee; they also must submit high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores and a 250-500 word personal statement. Letters of recommendation are optional and AP credits are accepted.

For the Fall semester, the application deadline for early action is November 1. The general admissions deadline is January 15, while the financial aid application deadline is March 1. Decisions are mailed starting on December 15 for early action applicants and April 1 for general admissions applicants. Generally, students are accepted into the university and their chosen program at the same time. However, some programs have separate application requirements, such as a portfolio, an audition or an interview.

Tuition & Financial Aid

For the 2012-2013 school year, full-time undergraduate tuition for in-state students is $9,420 per year, while out-of-state full-time undergraduate students pay $27,564 per year. Graduate tuition varies depending on the program, which can mean a flat rate or per credit hour charges. An education resource fee is charged every semester to both undergraduates and graduates.

As of 2012-2013, the cost of on-campus housing ranges from $4,220-$8,910 per year, depending on whether the student rooms in a traditional hall, suite or apartment. Meal plans for 2012-2013 cost between $1,445 and $1,900 per semester for most students, and special meal plans for upperclassmen cost about $1,800-$2,100 per semester.

There are a variety of scholarships available based on different criteria, such as a student's major or financial need. Students can apply for internal scholarships by filling out an online scholarship application. Graduate students can pursue assistantships and fellowships. Tuition payment plans are available for undergraduates and graduate students as well.

School Type 4-year, public*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral/professional degrees; certificates*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Large suburb*
Student Body 20,782 undergraduate students and 12,538 graduate students in Fall 2011*
Student Housing 6,075 students live on campus (Spring 2012)**
Schools and Programs 13 schools and colleges; about 200 degree programs for undergraduates and graduates**
Student-Faculty Ratio 16 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2011:
Bachelor's: Business Administration and Management (229)
Master's: Curriculum and Instruction (406)
Doctoral/Professional: Law (168)
Certificate: Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism (122)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 39% in four years
64% in six years
67% in eight years (for students who began in Fall 2003)*
Admission Rate 53% in Fall 2011*
Entering Class Size 2,665 full-time freshmen (2011-2012)**
First-Year Retention Rates 87% of full-time undergraduates and 50% of part-time undergraduates in 2011*
Average SAT Scores Middle 50% SAT scores: 520-620 in critical reading, 530-630 in math in 2011*
Undergraduate Application Due Date Regular admissions: January 15
Honors College, University Scholars and early action: November 1**
Decision Notification Date Regular admissions: decisions mailed beginning on April 1
Early action: decisions mailed beginning on December 15**
Tuition $9,420 per year for in-state undergraduates; $27,564 per year for out-of-state undergraduates (2012-2013)**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percentage of Students Receiving it) For first-time beginning undergraduates (2010-2011):
Federal grants (25%)
State and local grants (26%)
Institutional scholarships (17%), Federal loans (52%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 68% of full-time beginning undergraduates in 2010-2011*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **George Mason University.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MSN 3A4, Fairfax, VA 22030
  • Phone: (703) 993-2400
  • Website:

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