George Mason University

Frequently Asked Questions

We have written this helpful Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section to answer many of your questions if you are applying for Fall 2016 and onward. After you review this and our How to Apply Guide, if you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Before You Apply

What are the deadlines? What are the requirements?

Please visit our Application Deadlines and Requirements section to review the specific program you are interested in.

What are the minimum requirements to apply? What should I do before I consider applying?

What are the minimum requirements to apply? What should I do before I consider applying?

Please visit our How to Apply guide for GPA requirements and suggested actions may consider before you begin an application.

Will GMU accept my degree from an unaccredited United States institution?

No, we will only accept degrees and transfer credits accredited by one of the six regional accreditation bodies Mason recognizes, which are:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (Middle States Commission on Higher Education)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (both Commission on Institutions of Higher Education & Commission on Technical and Career Institutions)
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The Higher Learning Commission
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and for Senior Colleges and Universities)

For more information on accreditation, please visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Do I have to apply and be admitted if I just want to take a course?

Yes, in order to take any graduate course at George Mason you must apply and be admitted. If you are not interested in earning a degree or graduate certificate, you may apply to our university as a Non-Degree seeking graduate applicant.

Do you offer Spring admission?

Some programs offer Spring admission, while others don’t. Please review the terms of admission for the specific program you are interested in under the Application Deadlines and Requirements section.

What documents should I have ready for upload before I start my application?

Be prepared to upload many of your supplementary materials, such as your goals statement, at the point of application submission. While there may be some program specific items you won’t be able to upload until we review your application (see Online Application Support, Question #2) , having them ready ensures you can immediately upload them once your online Self-Service Center opens after our initial review. To be prepared, first visit our Application Deadlines and Requirements section to determine the requirements for the program you are interested in. If your program requires letters of recommendation, we suggest you gather the emails and contact information for your recommenders as well. For questions regarding transcripts, please make sure you visit our transcript FAQ’s.

I am going to apply to multiple programs. May I use the same username and password?

In order to apply to more than one program, you must create a new username and password using different email addresses. Make sure you are keeping track of all your applications by checking all the emails you used to create your accounts. However, if you are applying for programs that use different applications, you may use the same account. You can tell the types of application forms that are available by looking at the links available on this page: https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/apply-now

Example A. If you are applying for a Master’s program and a PhD program for the same term, the same application form is used for both so multiple accounts are needed.
Example B. If you are applying for a Master’s program and a non-degree program, since these are two different applications, you can use just one account.

I am going to apply to multiple programs. Do I need to submit multiple applications?

Yes, will need to submit separate applications, complete uploads and pay application fees for all applications submitted.

I am a veteran, active-duty service member, or family member of one. How can I use my benefits at Mason?

If you have questions about veterans benefits or resources, or would like to schedule an individual consultation, contact the Office of Military Services at 703-993-1316 or email military@gmu.edu.

How much are your tuition and fees?

Our tuition and fees may be reviewed through our Student Accounts site at http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/tuition-fees/.

Where do I mail my documents to?

Please visit our How to Apply Guide first to see what you can upload with your application.

We strongly discourage applicants from mailing in ANY items that can be uploaded to avoid delays in your application review and we ask that you not send duplicate copies of previously uploaded documents.

If you still need to mail documents to our office, please send them to:

George Mason University
4400 University Drive
MSN 4C8-Office of Graduate Admissions
Fairfax, VA 22030

Tip to ensure delivery: Please type or write our name on your package exactly as it appears above. The MSN is our Mail Stop Number and this is particularly important as that is what gets your items directly to our office versus the many, many others on our campus.

Can I talk to someone about my credentials and potential admissibility?

Certainly! While we hope that our online information is helpful we know you may have questions beyond what we’ve covered here. Here are few options:

For questions related to the application process, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at masongrad@gmu.edu or 703-993-9700. Examples here would be about the process of applying, official transcripts, or minimum GPA. While we will do our best to accommodate all walk-in questions, we strongly encourage appointments so that we can ensure your program-specific Graduate Admissions specialist is available.

For program or major-specific questions, you may either reach out to the Office of Graduate Admissions and we’ll connect you with the Graduate Admissions liaison office in the college/school where your specific program of interest resides or you may contact them directly. Examples here would be about specific courses, required exams, or career goals. Additionally, you may want to consider attending an Information Session for the college/school or program you are interested in.

Please know that without submitting a complete application for admission, these meetings or conversations will be informational only. We do not review your credentials to determine if you will be admitted, as that requires a review by our faculty after submission of all required materials.

Online Application Support

I selected the program I wanted on the online application, but why won’t it let me select the term/semester I want?

If you are unable to select the term for your desired program this may mean either the program does not offer admission for the term that you have selected or the program’s application deadline has passed and they are not accepting additional applications. Please check the Application Deadlines and Requirements section of our page verify.

If the deadline has not passed and your desired program does offer admission for that term/semester, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at masongrad@gmu.edu for assistance.

I see that there are other supplementary materials required for my program, but it won’t let me upload them to the online application.

We have a shared application across the university. Therefore, you may not see all of the exact items for your program reflected in your REQUIRED UPLOADS tab on the online application. We’ve added the university-wide standard items for all applicants to upload immediately. Then within 24-48 hours of submitting your application, you’ll receive a link to your online application Self-Service Center where you can finish uploading any additional program-specific requirements.

I can’t find my college or university on the online application.

Attempt to search for keywords in the College field instead of the institution’s complete name (for example: just ‘Mason’ instead of ‘George Mason University’). If you are still unable to locate your college, select "College Not Found" and enter the name of your college in the "Comments" box at the bottom of the record.

I am having trouble uploading my items to the online application.

The online application can only accept documents and multimedia files. Documents such as Word, Excel, PDF and Text have a maximum upload capacity 15 MB. Zipping a file, printing the PDF only in black and white, and/or removing graphics may reduce the size of your upload. Please do not mail or email duplicates of documents that were successfully uploaded to the online system.

International or Internationally Educated Applicants

Is the TOEFL required for my application?

If you have not earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an institution in the United States, Canada (excluding province of Quebec), United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand you must provide proof of English proficiency. This is a non-negotiable requirement. You may view the test score minimums under our Standardized Test Information section.

What transcripts or diplomas do I need to submit?

Please visit our International Transcript Guidelines for our full policy.

What is an international transcript evaluation? Do I need one? How do I get one?

A transcript evaluation is a process by which a professional evaluator verifies the authenticity and equivalence of international transcripts. The evaluation equates the education and develops a grade point average according to US standards. George Mason University requires all applicants who have completed degrees outside the United States to submit their transcripts for degree validation before they may be considered for admission to a graduate degree program at Mason.

If you would like to expedite your application, you may send your credentials to an approved evaluation agency or another approved service listed on the how to find a member section of NACES. You should authorize the agency to forward completed evaluations directly to George Mason University. Agencies charge fees for their services and it is each applicant’s responsibility to make sure their evaluation will meet out standards. The only outside company whom George Mason will accept attested transcripts from in tandem with a transcript evaluation is World Evaluation Services (WES). You do not have to send official transcripts if you get the WES ICAP, evaluation sent directly to our office. If it is not WES ICAP, then you would be required to submit unofficial copied of you official transcripts to our online application Self-Service Center for review and evaluation. Please remember that George Mason does also reserve the right to request additional items once these evaluations arrive.

Will Mason complete a transcript evaluation for me? Is it free? How long does it take? Will I get my transcripts back?

Mason does provide transcript evaluation services to applicants free of charge; however, it can take 2-4 weeks for it to be evaluated and returned to the Graduate Admissions Office. Due to this additional timeline, we suggest that you apply at least 60 days in advance of published deadlines if you want to take advantage of this service. Please visit our International Transcript Guidelines for our full policy. Note that while we do accept unofficial copies of transcripts uploaded to the application Self-Service Center for evaluation, transcripts must still be uploaded in both in English and the original language (if other than English). If these documents have been submitted, then no further action is required on your part and you'll see that your transcript has been sent for evaluation on your online status. Please note that all items submitted for your application become the official property of George Mason University and will not be returned, including transcripts.

Does Mason offer conditional admission without the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE or English language exams?

We do not offer conditional admission, but if you are interested in improving your English-language skills in preparation for graduate study, you may want to consider applying for our INTO Mason program. For more information please contact their offices.

How do I apply for a Student Visa?

Please visit our International Student Visa section. If you are applying for Fall 2016 onward, please note that all necessary forms may be uploaded as part of your online application. We strongly encourage you to upload those at the point of application submission to avoid delays in your I-20 process if you are admitted.

College Transcripts and Diplomas

I am a US educated applicant. Do I have to submit official transcripts and diplomas/degree certificates for my application to be reviewed for admission?

You do not. We require you to upload scanned, unofficial copies of your transcripts for application review. Please make sure your documents are legible. They should include your full name, show your school name, and have your degree conferral date, if earned.If admitted however, all applicants are required to submit official, final transcripts prior to the last day to add/drop courses in their first semester or they are withdrawn by the university.

I am an international or internationally educated applicant. Do I have to submit official transcripts and diplomas/degree certificates for my application to be reviewed for admission?

You do not. We require you to upload scanned, unofficial copies of your transcripts for application review. Please make sure your documents are legible. They should include your full name, show your school name, and have your degree conferral date, if earned. Please review our International Transcript Guidelines to determine exactly what documents you must submit

If admitted however, all applicants are required to submit official, final transcripts prior to the last day to add/drop courses in their first semester or they are withdrawn by the university.

If you are applying for an F1 or J1 Visa, you must submit your official transcripts prior the issuance of your I-20. If you have not yet graduated at the point of admission or have not received your final transcripts, you must submit what you have earned thus far.

I have attended a few different colleges/schools. What transcripts do I have to submit?

If you earned a degree from an institution, you must submit those transcripts for review. This is regardless of your level of study (Ex. Bachelors, Masters, etc.) at that institution or program you are applying to at Mason. Additionally we suggest if you took more than eighteen credits at a college or university that you send those transcripts as well to ensure we are able to review all of your educational credentials, including grades. There are frequently important foundational courses, such as introductory Math, Science or English, which our faculty would like to see grades for on these transcripts. We do reserve the right to ask for these transcripts.

I had many undergraduate transfer credits from another school where I didn’t earn my degree /OR/ I did summer sessions at another school where I didn’t earn my degree /OR/ I did a study abroad program. Do I have to send those transcripts too?

If your grades, not just the credit hours, during that semester or year are reflected on your degree-granting institutions transcript, you do not need to submit those items. If they are not, you will need to order to upload the unofficial transcripts for the other schools. There are frequently important foundational courses, such as introductory Math, Science or English, which our faculty would like to see grades for on these transcripts.

I am an applying to more than one program. Do I have to submit everything, including transcripts and supplementary materials to each application?

Yes. Graduate programs do not share applications with one another and each program may have different supplementary material requirements, such as different requirements for goals statement or letters of recommendation. Therefore in order to complete the requirements for each application, you will be to upload items each time you apply.

Regarding Test Scores: the Graduate School matches GRE/TOEFL scores to each application, provided you have had the scores sent to the institution’s code (5827).

I graduated from George Mason. Do I need to upload those unofficial transcripts?

No, you don’t need to upload transcripts, but you will still need to upload a document for submission because you put that in your education history. We recommend a Microsoft Word document that says “GMU ALMUNI” and when we see that we’ll know to pull your documents for you.

Test Scores

How do I send my scores to Mason?

Please visit our Standardized Test Information section and find your specific exam.

My name appears differently on my test from my application name. Will this cause issues?

If your name appears differently, in any way, on your test than from your online application, this can cause delays and failure in scores being matched to your application. If this is the case, please email masongrad@gmu.edu.

My score won’t arrive until after my programs deadline. Did I still meet the deadline?

While some programs may allow for scores to arrive after the deadline, many specify that applications must be complete, meaning all items including scores, must be received by that date. Please visit our Application Deadlines and Requirements page to verify.

Letters of Recommendation

How many letters of recommendation are required?

While many of our programs require three letters of recommendation, it varies by program. Please visit our Application Deadlines and Requirements section to review the required number for the specific program you are interested in. These must be sent electronically via your online application.

How should I prepare to have my recommenders submit online letters of recommendation?

We suggest you gather the emails and contact information for your recommenders as soon as you decide who will complete this process for you. Notify them of the program you are applying to and let them know when you intend to submit your application so that they will be prepared to respond quickly. You should also warn them that sometimes these emails can end up on spam filters and they’ll need to watch that folder.

How do my recommenders get notified to submit a letter of recommendation?
  • On the online application, you input your recommender’s email.
  • As soon as you save that page of the application, the notice will go out to their email that you have requested their recommendation.
  • They are then notified that you have requested their recommendation via the email you provided for them. (Tip: We strongly encourage you to notify your desired recommenders in advance of this notification so that they can anticipate your request and follow up quickly.)
  • Upon submission of their recommendation, it will automatically be linked to your online application.
Does my letter of recommendation have to come from a faculty member? Could a supervisor at work or friend do this instead?

It is usually preferable that your letters be written by a faculty member who can evaluate you as a student. We recommend you follow up with the specific program you are applying to if this may be a concern for you.

What does it mean to WAIVE my right to examine my letters of recommendation?

If you agree to waive: You will not be able to view the letters submitted on your behalf at any time, regardless of enrollment at the University.

If you do not agree to waive: If you are admitted and enroll at George Mason University, your letters will become part of your student record and you will have the right to inspect them. Please note this option is only for enrolled students and programs are not required to maintain letters of recommendation for students upon enrollment so this may not be an option. If you do not enroll, regardless of your selection, you may not review your letters.

Should I waive my rights to my recommendations?

It is completely your decision whether or not you wish to waive your rights to inspect your letters of recommendation. Your recommender will be notified of your decision as part of their online submission and your program will also be able to see this decision. Seeing that you waived your rights may reassure the faculty review committee that all provided support is candid and truthful. If you are still uncertain, you may wish to ask the advice of a trusted advisor, such as a faculty member, current graduate student or supervisor. There are also many websites found through a simple online search that reference the pros and cons of each decision.

May I request more than three letters of recommendation as part of my application?

No. The number of letters requested was determined by the faculty who will review your application and we don’t have an additional method to deliver this service.

One of my recommenders did not receive the notification email. What can I do?

If this happens before you submit your application, on the online application go to the “Recommendations” tab and select “Re-send Invitation” for the appropriate recommender

If this happens after you submit your application, go into your Self-Service Center (SSC) and click on the “Applications” tab at top. Then click the “Summary” button next to application and click “Resend Invitation” next to appropriate recommender.

Can I add or delete recommenders once I have submitted my application?

No, you may not modify recommenders once you have submitted your application. You may only re-send their email invitation.

What if my recommender cannot submit their letter of recommendation online?
  • If it is a technical issue, you may resend the notice to them to ensure it didn’t end up in their spam filter.
  • If it is not a technical issue and you have some extenuating circumstance, such as serving in the Armed Forces overseas or are on political asylum, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for specific instructions. We strongly discourage this option for anyone who does not have a truly extenuating circumstance preventing the recommender’s online submission because it may delay your application review.

Supplementary Materials

What are supplementary materials?

Supplementary materials are any mandatory items you are required to submit in addition to your application and fee.\

  • There are university- wide standard supplementary materials, such as transcripts or the TOEFL exam for internationally-educated applicants. These are minimum required items that all applicants must submit, regardless of program.

  • Then there are program-specific supplementary materials, such as letters of recommendation or the GRE. These were selected by the faculty who review these applications. In some instances, such as our teacher licensure or nursing programs, certain items may be required for program certification by outside organizations or Boards.  

Until you submit all of the required supplementary materials, both university-standard and program-specific, your application will not be reviewed for admission. You may determine what is required for your specific program on our Application Deadlines and Requirements page.

I see that there are other supplementary materials required for my program, but it won’t let me upload them to the online application.

First you must complete the online application form. Then, within 10 minutes or less of submission, you’ll receive a notification that your Self-Service Center has been updated with your program-specific supplemental materials. From there you’ll be able to go back in and upload the missing required materials such as your goals statement or writing sample.

What do I write about in my goals statement?

Each program may have different suggestions for your goals statement. We strongly suggest your visit either the school website for the program you applying to or the programs own website.

Decisions and Enrollment

How will I be notified of the decision on my application?

Once your application decision is ready, you will receive an email notifying you to log back into your online portal, where you may view your application decision letter.

Can you tell me over the phone or in-person what my decision is before I get emailed?

No, until you receive notification that your decision is ready in your online portal, we do not have the necessary information.

What do I need to do now that I have been admitted? How do I enroll in courses?

If you wish to enroll, please follow the directions for submitting your Intent to Enroll. Without this, we cannot create a record/account that allows you into our student registration system.

Non-Degree Admissions

What are Non-Degree Graduate studies?

Non-Degree offers applicants the opportunity to take comprehensive, graduate-level courses without formally pursuing a degree. This option allows individuals who do not currently wish to pursue a degree, but are interested in taking competitive courses, access to skilled faculty, our excellent research facilities and the opportunity to get a jump start on a possible graduate degree in the future. Applicants must present an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or international equivalent, verified from official transcripts with a minimum 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 grade scale.

Will I have to reapply later if I want to be admitted to a degree seeking program?

Yes, you must apply, submit the necessary supplementary materials and receive admission in order to enter a degree-seeking program.

How many credits could I transfer into a Master’s program from Non-Degree Graduate studies?

Twelve credits is the maximum allowable transfer of credits.