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George Mason University is a public university located in Fairfax, VA, in the greater Washington, D.C. area. GMU was established in 1956 by the University of Virginia system. The school later broke from the UVA system in and became its own entity. Today, George Mason boasts over 37,000 students and is the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Overview of George Mason University

Undergraduate students will find a full roster of departments and majors that include areas such as business, healthcare administration, and criminal justice. GMU also supports students in nearly any STEM subject, the arts, primary and secondary education, and social sciences, too.

GMU also provides top programs for graduate students that span the full spectrum of academic and professional interests, including creative writing, STEM, economics, business, healthcare, and more. In fact, GMU's political science program is geographically positioned to allow graduates entry to top positions in federal government, including the upper reaches of the State Department.

When George Mason University students have down time, the campus provides many fun, healthy ways to blow off steam. Students participate in club sports, intramural leagues, and outdoor adventures such as camping or rock climbing. Club sports include lacrosse, rugby, fencing, and tons more. The intramural leagues include a full raft of traditional sports but also e-sports, for those who prefer a controller to sweat socks.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 17:1
Graduation Rate 70%
Year Founded 1949

Student Enrollment

Total Students37,316


Undergraduate Student

Male 13,096
Female 13,096

Graduate Student

Male 5,562
Female 5,562

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Male 8,857
Female 10,700


Male 6,820
Female 8,988

Acceptance Rate81%

Male 77%
Female 84%

Enrollment 3,643

Male 984
Female 729
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Considered But Not Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Considered But Not Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline July 15
Common Application Accepted Yes

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

A George Mason education is a terrific value, but the upfront cost is not cheap. In-state students who live on campus are projected to pay $29,166 for all of their expenses, including room and board. Students who opt for off-campus living pay a bit more at $32,000. Meanwhile, out-of-state students pay over $55,000 for all costs, including off-campus housing.

To offset these costs, student receive an average of $5,000 in general federal grants and more than $4,500 in Pell grants. Scholarships and student loans also help offset the cost of the education. The average institutional grant or scholarship is over $8,500 and the average amount in student loan aid is just north of $8,000.

Thus, while a George Mason degree is not necessarily cheap for even in-state students, there are ample resources available that allow students access to the tremendous resources available on that campus.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $19,064
Average Total Aid $9,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 76%
Room & Board $11,946

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $12,564
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $36,024
  • Books and Supplies - $1,278
  • Room & Board - $11,946
  • Other - $3,378


It's difficult to measure a school's academic merits. However, when we examine the relevant statistics such as the retention and graduation rates in addition to the student/faculty ratio, a picture comes into view. The retention rate shows how many incoming first-year students return for a second year. In the case of George Mason University, the retention rate is a solid 87%. That indicates that not only do incoming students find great value at GMU, but that each student will have continuity in their peer group.

The graduation rate demonstrates that students are completing their degrees as well as cohesion in the student body. Since George Mason University graduates 71% of its students, there's a great chance that the friends one makes in the freshman dorms will be there in a cap and gown to receive an esteemed GMU sheepskin right next to you.

Given that George Mason is the largest public university in Virginia, boasting over 26,000 undergraduate students, their favorable student-to-faculty ratio is rather surprising. At GMU, there are an average of 17 students to each faculty member. Thus, each student has the opportunity to engage with the top minds in their field and find enrichment in even the most dense material.

Student Population Total

Student Population 37,316

Evening Classes : No
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 1,054 Total Graduates / 18%
Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods, Other 256 Graduates
Accounting 244 Graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 217 Graduates
Finance, General 178 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 112 Graduates
All Computer Information Science Majors 585 Total Graduates / 10%
Information Technology 335 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences, General 237 Graduates
Computer Science 13 Graduates
All Social Science Majors 545 Total Graduates / 10%
International Relations and Affairs 184 Graduates
Political Science and Government, Other 15 Graduates
Economics, General 132 Graduates
Sociology 28 Graduates
Anthropology 21 Graduates
Geography 21 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 545 Total Graduates / 10%
Community Health and Preventive Medicine 196 Graduates
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 181 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other 128 Graduates
Athletic Training/Trainer 20 Graduates
Rehabilitation Science 11 Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services 427 Total Graduates / 7%
Criminal Justice/Police Science 352 Graduates
Critical Infrastructure Protection 41 Graduates
Forensic Science and Technology 34 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 45%

Outcome & Salary

George Mason graduates often start out their careers doing quite well. The ten highest earning degrees are in STEM, business, and healthcare fields. These degrees start students off earning somewhere between $49,000 and $69,000 each year. The top earners are typically from the Computer Science Department, which also happens to be one of the most popular bachelor's degrees.

Given the high quality of academic work at George Mason, many students are able to continue their studies in top graduate programs. However, many decide to easily start careers in the DC area, which not only offers great opportunities in federal government, but elsewhere in the booming tech sector, among many others in the region.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $59,200
College Grads Average Salary $72,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $112,900
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $720,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,849,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $76,256
10 Year Projected ROI $643,744
20 Year Projected ROI $1,772,744
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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