George Mason University


How to Apply to INTO Mason

Students gather outside on Fairfax campus

INTO Mason students have access to all the same facilities and services available to all other Mason students.

Getting INTO Mason 

You're just a few easy steps away from becoming a student at INTO Mason. Here's how it works: 

  • Submit a free application, along with required documents.
  • Receive a response from an Enrollment Services Advisor. We'll contact you within 48 hours of completing an application to confirm we have received all required documents, or to let you know if anything further is needed for your application.
  • Evaluation review. After we receive all materials, we'll complete a standard evaluation within 7 business days. Programs requiring a portfolio will require additional evaluation time of up to 30 days. (for example, Music, Graphic Design, and Computer Game Design) 
  • Look for an offer letter in your email.   
  • Confirm your acceptance of the offer. You'll sign and return the letter, and pay a deposit. 
  • Expect an I-20. The Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status will be sent via express mail. 

You must apply at least one month in advance of a program's start date to allow sufficient time to complete the application and visa process.

INTO Mason program start dates:

  • Summer 2020: May 13, 2020 
  • Fall 2020: August 17, 2020
  • Spring 2021: January 12, 2021

​Are you ready to join Mason Nation? Complete your free INTO Mason application today. 

This process is specifically for students applying through INTO Mason. For direct-entry admission requirements and questions, contact us or find more information in our catalog.  

Application Materials

Most students must meet these criteria. Some requirements might vary for sponsored students.

All Programs

  • Copy of passport valid for 6 months beyond program start date (and for spouse/dependents, if applicable, as well as birth or marriage certificates) 
  • Copy of bank statement and affidavit of support or letter of sponsorship. An affidavit of support is a document that confirms a family member, relative or other sponsor will financially support the student throughout their program. 
    • Bank statement must be dated within one year of the program start date and signed or stamped by a banking official 
    • Name on affidavit of support must match bank statement. An affidavit of support is not required if the student submits his or her own bank statement. 
    • An additional $7,500 is required in proof of funding in the bank statement for a spouse and an additional $5,000 is required in proof of funding in the bank statement for each child 

Academic English 

  • Copy of high school or university diploma (English AND native language) 
  • Copy of visa and I-20, if currently in the US. The I-20 is an important document that proves a student's eligibility to study in the United States and will be required throughout the duration of the international student life cycle. 

Learn more about the Academic English program. 

International Year One (IYO), Graduate Pathway (GPW), Graduate Bridge Program and Undergraduate Transfer Program (UTP) 

  • Copy of a high school or university diploma (in English AND in the student's native language) 
  • Copies of transcripts of all relevant qualifications in both English and your native language signed or stamped by the student's former school 
  • Copy of visa and I-20 (if currently in the United States) (INTO Mason will provide the Transfer-In Form, which must be completed by the student's current institution and returned) 
  • Copies of English language test scores, if available. Test scores cannot be over 2 years old.

English language scores are not required to apply for Pathway programs. However, you will be enrolled in three semesters of Academic English until we receive valid English language scores. 

Some programs require additional application materials and may require additional time for evaluation and review of portfolios by academic departments. These include:

  • Music (IYO and GPW)
  • Computer Game Design (GPW)
  • Graphic Design (GPW)

Please allow up to 30 days for portfolio reviews. 


View all INTO Mason academic program entry requirements.

Translation Services 

An American Translators Association (ATA) certified service should complete all diploma/transcript translations. Area translators offer this service.

Official Transcripts 

You must provide copies of your official documents/transcripts. You can submit a digital copy at the time of your application. Official hard copy documents are collected during Orientation week and will not be returned. If only one copy is available, please notify our team when documents are collected during Orientation, and the admissions team will try to return them. 

Students can provide documents on their first day of Orientation at INTO Mason, or official documents can be mailed directly from the prior school or institution to: 

George Mason University

ATTN: INTO Mason Admissions 

Mason Global Center, MS 6D11  

4400 University Drive 

Fairfax, VA 22030 

English Language Scores

INTO Mason accepts the following English language proficiency exams for certain programs: 

  • TOEFL (including MyBest Score) 
  • PTEA 
  • Password (This test is administered by INTO Regional Offices. Contact your education counselor for more information.)
  • Duolingo
    • Please note that students are required to take the IELA upon arrival at INTO Mason in addition to completing the Duolingo exam online. The results of the IELA exam will determine the final study plan placement. 
  • Completion of INTO Mason Academic English  
  • IELA (INTO Language Assessment- see more information below) 

To see specific English language entry requirements for your program, view INTO Mason’s full program list, or see if you qualify for an English Waiver

What is the IELA? 

The INTO English Language Assessment (IELA) was developed by INTO in collaboration with Cambridge Assessment English. The assessment examines the four basic language skills: speaking; listening; reading; and writing. 

Contact us for more information about the IELA or to schedule a time to take the exam.

How can I take this exam? 

You can take this exam in person at the Mason Global Center on Mason's Fairfax Campus. Email us to schedule an IELA exam, which is given Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you are not in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, contact your education counselor or INTO Regional Office to schedule an exam. 

What do I need to take the exam? 

We'll provide you with a laptop and instructions. You'll need to bring a photo ID (passport, license, etc.). The exam, which takes three hours to complete, will be administered by a trained staff member. 

How much does it cost? 

The IELA exam is free for students applying for an INTO Mason Pathway program or directly to the university through INTO. Students applying for direct entry to Mason must have completed a Mason application and submit their G Number to be eligible to take the IELA exam. 

When will I receive my IELA results? 

You'll hear from us via email approximately 48 hours after the exam.  

Can I retake the IELA exam? 

Students can retake the IELA exam for free once per enrollment cycle. (for example, spring 2020, fall 2020, summer 2020). If a student wants to retake the exam twice in an enrollment cycle, they will be charged a $100 fee. 

Contact us for more information about the IELA or to schedule a time to take the exam. 

Confirming your Place

Inquiry Number 

You'll be assigned an Inquiry Number (IN) during the application process. Please use this number in any correspondence with your application advisor so they can update you on the progress of your application. For example: IN: A720XXXXQ

Confirming Your Place at INTO Mason 

After you receive your offer letter, you will need to confirm your place. 

  • Read the terms and conditions carefully
  • Print, sign, and return your offer letter (via email) 
  • Pay your deposit and submit any outstanding financial documents  (There is a link in your offer letter to a portal to submit this payment)

Your deposit is $2,000 for academic programs and $2,000 for housing. The academic deposit is waived for sponsored students. All deposits are non-refundable unless your visa request is denied. Submit the denial letter so we can process a refund.   

I-20 and Visa Information

All students who are not permanent residents, green card holders, or U.S. citizens must have a visa to study in the United States.  

Types of Visas for Study at INTO Mason

This is not a comprehensive list of all valid visas. Contact INTO Mason with any further questions regarding your eligibility. 

  • F-1: This visa is issued to international students attending an academic program or English language program at a U.S. college or university.
  • J-1: This visa is issued to people participating in an approved program to teach, instruct, study, observe, conduct research, consult, demonstrate special skills, or receive training. Please indicate this is the type of visa you need when you apply, because processing takes more time.

An F-2 visa is not acceptable for enrollment. You can apply, but will not be admitted with this visa. You will need to apply for an F-1 visa.

Permanent residents, green card holders, U.S. citizens and A-2 visa holders are eligible for INTO Mason's academic programs.  Tuition and fees for INTO Mason students is the same regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. 

Students who do not require a visa for INTO Mason's academic programs may have additional time to complete the application and confirmation process. 

I-20 Certificate of Eligibility

After you sign your offer letter and pay your deposit, INTO Mason will mail you your initial I-20. 

The I-20 is a document issued by the university that clarifies a student has been admitted to an INTO Mason academic study program and has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the United States. This is the document that allows you to apply for a student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. 

After you submit all necessary documents, our Designated School Official will create your initial I-20.

The enrollment team will ship the I-20 via DHL Express Mail for international packages ($100 fee), or FedEx for packages shipped within the United States ($20 fee). It is important to provide an accurate address to mail the I-20 during on your application.

The I-20 will be mailed within three days of confirming your place. The confirmation packet will also include such items as a copy of the confirmation letter and a letter to the consular official, both on school letterhead. 

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 Fee

At least three business days before you schedule your visa interview, you will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, in addition to the visa application fee. To pay the SEVIS fee, you will need: 

  • Your SEVIS ID number. Find it on the top of your I-20, or on the top right corner of your DS-2019, which is the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. 
  • Mason F-1 School Code: WAS214F00683000
  • Mason J-1 School Code: P-1-04835

Transferring from Another US School 

If you are moving to Mason from another U.S. school and have an F-1 visa, you must complete the F-1 Student Transfer Eligibility form at least 15 days before your program's start date. 

Our team will need a copy of your current I-20 and visa, and you must be in active standing (your I-20 has not been terminated). We will provide you with the transfer form, which your current school must complete. 

Re-enrolling at INTO Mason 

If you've left our program and wish to return, contact the enrollment team or your academic advisor.

We'll tell you which documents to submit to complete the re-enrollment process. This might include: new financial documents; an updated passport; or recent English language test scores. 

Visa Information to Enroll at Mason

Students who have successfully completed their INTO Mason program and are continuing on to earn a Mason degree must update their I-20. The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) can assist you.

Sponsored Students

The sponsoring organization, which pays INTO Mason and the university directly, can include:

  • A government or government agency.
  • An international organization.
  • A non-profit.
  • A foundation.
  • An employer.
  • A third-party group, organization, or institution.

Financial Guarantee

For admissions purposes, INTO Mason will accept an unofficial financial guarantee to process the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.

The official financial guarantee must be submitted no later than the first week after classes start. 

Sponsored students with F-1 and J-1 visas who do not meet this deadline must pay INTO Mason health insurance fees instead of using the health insurance plans provided by sponsors. If no financial guarantee is provided, the student must pay full fees.

Financial guarantees must be on official letterhead and must include:

  • Date of issue.
  • INTO Mason/George Mason University.
  • Student’s academic program.
    • International Year One, Graduate Pathway and Undergraduate Transfer Students: If you are listing a degree level program (for example, bachelor’s program in electrical engineering), the letter must state that it covers the Pathway or Academic English or covers language training.
    • Academic English students: The letter must stipulate English as a Second Language (ESL), language training, or the Academic English program.
  • Effective dates.
  • Sponsoring agency.
  • A list of what specific expenses the sponsor is covering (for example, living expenses, health insurance, tuition and fees, and (if applicable) dependents)

I-20 and Deposit

Sponsored students do not have to submit a sponsor letter to receive an offer letter; however INTO Mason must receive the sponsor letter before you are issued an I-20. Sponsored students are not required to pay the $2,000 tuition deposit.


International Year One Undergraduate Pathway and Undergraduate Transfer students must live on campus while enrolled in an INTO Mason program. If your sponsor group has arranged a waiver, you must complete a housing waiver form. Contact INTO Mason for a waiver request form. Students who choose to live on campus must submit a separate housing deposit of $2,000.

Special Letters

INTO Mason will provide special letters for sponsors upon request. Content may include program information or explanations, matriculation content, etc. The Mason Global Center front desk also has forms to request verification of enrollment letters.

Contact us if you require a letter.

INTO Mason graduate student in Global Center

"My time here at INTO Mason prepared me for university. I had classes which helped me to adjust to U.S. life and to academics. I felt myself much more open to speak and to express myself. It just made me think in another way."

Sabina, Uzbekistan