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FP Guide

2020 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government

Degrees Designed to Prepare Graduates for Real-World Situations

Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell

George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government provides its students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the constantly changing international environment, now racked by a pandemic and fraught with conflict.

Located in a public policy crucible bounded by the Pentagon, White House, and US Capitol, the Schar School offers students an academic crossroads where science and policy intersect. The Schar School’s graduate programs span the public policy gamut, allowing students to learn from professors with real-world experience and helping them gain the practical knowledge needed to lead government agencies and nonprofit organizations and develop public policies and programs.

For example, the MS in Biodefense, offered both on campus and online, trains students to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the full range of biological threats, from naturally occurring pandemics to deliberate threats from biological weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction.

“We want to see that you’ve mapped out a specific future career path and that the knowledge and skills you gain from the program you’ve applied to will help get you to where you’re trying to go.” –Travis Major, Director of Graduate Admissions, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

“Today’s world is so interconnected that anywhere in the world is basically just a flight away from any outbreak or biological threat. To be prepared locally, we need to be prepared globally,” says Gregory Koblentz, associate professor and director of the graduate programs in biodefense. “We aim to produce graduates who can bridge the gap between science and policy.”

Students seeking admission to the Schar School must come prepared academically, and also have concrete ideas for a career path, so the knowledge they gain at the school will help them attain their career goals, says Travis Major, director of graduate admissions.




Preparing for a COVID World

While the Schar School’s admissions criteria have remained consistent throughout the ongoing crisis, it recognizes the profound public health challenges and economic disruption that its applicants face, Major says. For spring 2021 applicants, the school is waiving tuition deposits for students who are experiencing economic hardship, and it is making more scholarship funding available than ever before.
)))In evaluating applications, the school recognizes that while COVID-19 has been devastating for much of the world, global challenges like the pandemic can be a motivating factor for students who want a degree that can help them be a part of the solution. Therefore, the Schar School would appreciate seeing expressed in an applicant’s personal essay their desire to step up and help.

Graduate Degree Program Options
• MA in International Commerce and Policy
• MA in International Security
• MA in Political Science
• MA in Public Administration
• MA in Public Policy
• MA in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics
• MS in Biodefense
• MS in Organization Development and Knowledge Management
• PhD in Biodefense
• PhD in Political Science
• PhD in Public Policy

Deadlines for Fall 2021
Application:
Priority, February 1, 2021; regular, May 1, 2021
Financial Aid/Scholarships: Priority, February 1, 2021; regular, May 1, 2021

Standardized Exam Scores: Most graduate programs do not require test scores. A limited number of programs require the GRE or GMAT, but scores are one part of the overall application and do not dictate an admissions decision.

Recommendation Letters: Two are required, from either professors who have taught the applicant or professional colleagues who know the applicant and are familiar with their work.

Application Checklist: https://schar.gmu.edu/howtoapply
More Information: https://schar.gmu.edu/info