School Profile: George Mason University

George Mason University holds the distinction of being a young institution with a long list of achievements. Founded in 1957, the school has grown substantially in its nearly 60 years, becoming the largest public research university in Virginia and enrolling about 34,000 students each year. The school offers a total of 206 academic programs, including 81 undergraduate degrees, 85 master’s degrees, 39 doctoral programs and a law degree. George Mason comprises four Virginia campuses and one international campus in Songdo, Korea. The Korean campus opened in 2014 with a focus on economics. Students at the Virginia campuses will learn alongside people from all 50 states and 130 countries.

On campus, students have access to a variety of programs and extracurricular opportunities to enhance their learning experience. Buildings include several recreation and aquatic fitness centers, two performing arts centers, a multimedia complex, and a 10,000-seat sports and entertainment center, all of which are open to the public as well. George Mason is a Division I school that offers 22 men’s and women’s sports teams.

George Mason University boasts several accomplishments. In 2012, the university earned a STARS Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, a distinction held by just one other school in Virginia and 37 nationwide. The school was also the first university in the United States to offer doctoral programs in bioinformatics, computational social science, conflict resolution, and information technology. Students here also benefit from a relatively affordable college education. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Forbes, and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity have all ranked George Mason University as a top school for value and affordability.

George Mason University Accreditation Details

George Mason University holds institutional accreditation from The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Several colleges and programs also maintain accreditation through individual accrediting bodies. The College of Nursing, for example, holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. All nursing programs are accredited through the CCNE. Students can visit the school’s accreditation page to verify specific program accreditation.

George Mason University Application Requirements

Application and admissions requirements vary based on enrollment. All applicants will pay an application fee as follows: U.S. citizens and permanent residents pay $60, international and non-immigrants pay $80, and graduate students pay $75. Freshmen undergraduate students need to submit the following:

  • An official high school transcript
  • GPA scores and standardized test scores
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • An optional, 400-word personal statement
  • A list of extracurricular and community service activities

Certain majors are more competitive and therefore more selective, which means that students need to pay special attention when applying. The bachelor’s program in nursing, for instance, requires admittance to the university and a separate application to the department. Graduate students need to visit the school’s admissions page to learn more about application requirements since each program requires its own set of transcripts and supplementary documentation. Other applicants, such as international or transfer students, should also consult the admissions page for a full breakdown of application requirements.

Tuition and Fees

Full-time, in-state undergraduates at George Mason University are charged $10,752 per academic year while non-resident undergraduates are charged $31,398 per year. In-state graduate students pay $9,934, and out-of-state graduates pay $23,466 per year. These rates reflect tuition and fees for full-time students, which is 12 to 16 hours for undergraduates and nine hours for graduates.

The university notes that individual program charges may apply, particularly for graduate students, so prospective applicants should check the catalog or the program’s website for detailed information regarding specific fees. New students will also be charged a one-time new student fee of $60, and all students pay an education resource fee per semester that varies based on credit hours.

For students who need financial assistance, the school offers scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. Approximately 57 percent of students at George Mason University receive some type of financial aid. The school urges students to apply for financial assistance as soon as possible after Jan. 1 of each year because certain awards are available first-come, first-served. The general deadline for financial aid is March 1, which is when students need to submit the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. For incoming freshmen, George Mason offers several merit-based scholarships, and all students who apply by the Early Action deadline of Nov. 1 will be considered for merit-based awards. Students can estimate the total cost of attendance by using the financial aid department’s net price calculator, available online.

Degree in Focus: Online RN to BSN Pathway

Registered nurses who want to earn their bachelor’s degree can study under George Mason University’s RN to BSN Pathway, which is an accelerated program specifically designed to help working professionals hone their skills and earn a degree. The program is offered entirely online, and students can enroll full time or part time. Full-time students typically complete the degree requirements in one year or two semesters totaling 30 credit hours. In order to apply for the RN to BSN Pathway, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Admission to the university
  • Licensure as a registered nurse
  • An associate’s degree or diploma in nursing
  • Completion of general education requirements and nursing prerequisites

Students may be admitted in either fall or spring, but they must have completed all prerequisites prior to the start of the term in which they’re admitted. This accelerated program is only available to registered nurses, and RNs cannot apply to the traditional BSN program or the second degree program. George Mason University also offers an accelerated BSN to MSN Pathway for students who are seeking graduate-level education.

For the RN to BSN Pathway, students will complete a total of 120 hours, most of which is completed prior to starting the pathway. Credit hours are divided into 57 core credits and general electives, 24 concentration-specific credits, three credits of English 302 or advanced composition, three electives earned at the university, and 33 credits awarded via the “Credits by Exam” designation. Required courses cover topics such as community health and epidemiology, comprehensive health assessment, introduction to nursing informatics, and vulnerable populations, among others.

Since the degree is offered entirely online, students who pursue the RN to BSN Pathway will enjoy all of the benefits of a traditional bachelor’s program with the convenience of being able to work and gain experience outside of the classroom. George Mason University offers a variety of programs that are designed to challenge the next generation of students.

Another excellent resource:

30 Best Affordable RN-BSN Degree Programs