George Mason University

Amazon and Mason

Even before Amazon’s announcement, Mason—Virginia’s largest public research university—led the way in preparing graduates for high-paying careers in the information technology industry.

At the Forefront of Data Delivery

Mason is a leader in data science programs, and our faculty, researchers, and graduates have the depth of knowledge and expertise needed to excel in all aspects of this field.

New investments in the context of the Amazon decision will help establish Mason among the nation’s leading research universities and as an example of access to excellence,” former Mason President Ángel Cabrera said.

The university is the source of a deep talent pool, currently enrolling more than 6,500 students in computing programs. These multidisciplinary programs produce graduates who know how to mine broad streams of data for actionable intelligence.

Mason will invest $250 million at the Arlington Campus in the next five years, adding 1,000 faculty members and enlarging the campus to 1.2 million square feet. Our expansion will include more computing programs and advanced research in high-tech fields. The number of students enrolled in computing majors will more than double to 15,000.


Dr. Scott Ralls, president of NOVA, at Mason event

Former NOVA President Scott Ralls attends an event marking the ADVANCE partnership between George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College.

A Steady Stream of Skilled Workers

Mason’s ADVANCE partnership with Northern Virginia Community College will also play a role in developing the talent pipeline. The partnership streamlines NOVA students’ journey toward a four-year degree, including in such fields as:

The program also works in collaboration with Northern Virginia employers to adapt and create high-demand programs to fulfill critical workforce needs, a strategy that is on point with Mason's partnership with Amazon.

“Our power to grow together to support the region is fundamental to the growth of the Northern Virginia economy," NOVA President Scott Ralls said. "It’s also an essential component of our mission of inclusive excellence, which ensures that all students who want a degree can earn one.”


Mason students with instructor in a computer lab

Mason currently has 6,500 students enrolled in computing programs. We'll increase that to 15,000.

Partners for the Future

Mason’s strategy will begin with:

  • Development of the Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), a multidisciplinary facility designed to drive innovation in the digital economy by incubating new digital products and services. Entrepreneurs, researchers, technologists, and business leaders will join Mason students and researchers in creating and collaborating on new business opportunities. IDIA will be located in a new 400,000-square-foot facility at the Arlington Campus.
  • Virginia’s first dedicated School of Computing, a multidisciplinary academic unit encompassing a variety of sectors. This collaborative program will advance the application of computing technology and data sciences in such fields as government, business, education, and health care.

Amazon said it would start hiring in Virginia in 2019. The company expects to create a minimum of 25,000 jobs by 2030 and potentially a total of 37,850 by 2034, The Washington Post reported.

The Amazon project is a “transformational opportunity to diversify the economy” of Northern Virginia, Stephen Moret, president and chief executive of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, told The New York Times. “The majority of our entire package is a historic investment in doubling the tech talent pipeline in Virginia.”

Mason Provost and Executive Vice President S. David Wu backed that assertion. “Mason’s role has always been to create a pipeline for talent and innovation that serves the region,” he said. “The School of Computing will help attract some of our most promising students and prepare them for success in the innovation economy.”