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FP Guide

2021 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government

The Best Applicants Have Their Eyes on the Horizon

The admissions team at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government looks for two key elements in every applicant. The first is academic preparedness: Applicants must have the skills necessary to be successful as a student, whether honed through past coursework, professional work, or other experiences. The second element is program fit: There must be evidence that a specific degree matches the applicant’s goals. Demonstrating both is a formula for success.

The best applicants will spend as much time thinking critically about their long-term goals as polishing their applications, says Travis Major, director of graduate admissions. That allows applicants to make a clear case for how a specific degree aligns with their future plans.

“My advice for candidates is to do your research, start the process early, and be specific. Don’t do your application in a vacuum—attend an open house, get the information you need about the program, and think critically about how it applies to your long-term goals.” –Travis Major, Director of Graduate Admissions, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

The Schar School welcomes students from the academic or professional spheres and recognizes that each application will be unique. Students don’t need to fit into a cookie-cutter mold—they should feel encouraged to share their authentic personal story about why they believe they are ready for graduate school.

Above all else, Major notes, the Schar School has a communal nature and a desire to admit applicants who are willing to play an active role there. “True collaborations and mentorships between students and faculty are ingrained in the culture,” Major says.


Building Careers During a Pandemic
The Schar School team has endeavored to make things easier for applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes acknowledging that applicants will have limited opportunities for internships and international travel in the near future, as well as offering virtual events for prospective students: open houses, sample classes, and the Policy Exchange series, a forum to discuss top policy issues directly with professors.
)))For current students, George Mason University has frequently updated its strict health and safety protocols to keep students, staff, and faculty safe. Also, the Schar School student services and career services teams have been contacting students virtually since the start of the pandemic, to help them reach their academic goals and connect them with virtual internships and interviews.

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
• MS in Biodefense
• MS in Organization Development and Knowledge Management
• PhD in Biodefense
• PhD in Political Science
• PhD in Public Policy

Deadlines for Fall 2022
Application and Financial Aid/Scholarships: Priority February 1, 2022; regular May 1, 2022

Standardized Exam Scores: While only a few programs require GRE scores, they are just one of the many relevant factors for admission and do not drive admissions decisions.

Recommendation Letters: Two are required, from professors or professional colleagues who are knowledgeable about the applicant.

Application Checklist: https://schar.gmu.edu/why-study-here/admissions/how-to-apply