This program is open ONLY to students studying at our partner institutions. You should consult with the study abroad office at your home university to determine your eligibility and application requirements prior to applying.
Students may enroll at Mason through a bilateral exchange for the fall only, spring only, academic year (fall & spring), or calendar year (spring & fall). No summer exchanges are possible. Students are enrolled as regular full-time students at George Mason University, pay tuition to their home institution, and pay room and board, as well as health insurance, to Mason. The Global Education Office (GEO) receives partner nominations, reviews student applications, and serves as the primary point of contact for students while they are studying at George Mason University.
Mason's academic calendar runs from August to May with our Fall semester running from late-August to mid-December and our Spring semester running from mid-January to mid-May.
See Mason Academic Calendars
About George Mason University
Founded in 1972, and located just outside of Washington, D.C.
, George Mason University is the largest public research university in Virginia with over 34,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Mason is an innovative and entrepreneurial institution with a growing and diverse student body and exceptional faculty of enterprising scholars as recognized by our Tier 1 research status.
The main campus consists of 677 wooded acres and is less than a mile walk from the downtown historic City of Fairfax. Mason’s campus is just 15 miles (24 kilometers) outside of Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Free shuttle buses transport students to the nearby Vienna Metro subway station, allowing you to explore the city on a weekend to see the cherry blossoms and monuments, visit the museums, or go to a restaurant or theatre. At Mason, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a beautiful wooded residential campus and outstanding college experience, as well as numerous opportunities that only a world-class urban setting like D.C. can offer. In addition, in just a short drive, you can be hiking in the Shenandoah Mountains or walking the boardwalk in either Ocean City, Maryland, or Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Mason was ranked 47th in the 2017 Times Higher Education list of 200 universities under 50 years old and 14th in the U.S. News Most Innovative Schools in the U.S. With over 80 majors in a variety of fields, exchange students are able to enroll in nearly every degree program the university has to offer. Subjects available include, but are not limited to: Education, Visual Arts, Business, Information Technology, Engineering, Government, Health and Well-Being, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Social and Human Behavior, and Sports, Recreation and Tourism.
About Fairfax, Virginia
The historical City of Fairfax, Virginia is nestled in the suburban expanse of the Washington, D.C. metro region. Just 20 minutes from the nation’s capital, it combines the charm of a small town with the opportunities of a thriving urban area. With its hallmark landscaped and leafy street medians, Fairfax is an oasis, unique and brimming with vitality and recognized as one of the top places to live in the nation. City buses are free with a Mason ID and take students to a wide variety of nearby shopping and dining locations in Fairfax.
Fairfax is widely known for its outstanding cultural amenities. Every year the city sponsors world-class events such as Fall for the Book, Spotlight on the Arts, a weekend-long Chocolate Lovers Festival, and the Fall Festival, where Old Town Fairfax opens its streets to hundreds of renowned craft merchants and thousands of visitors.
Click through the brochure tabs to learn more about this program.
Academic Entry Requirements
This program is open ONLY to students studying at our partner institutions. You should consult with the study abroad office at your home university to determine your eligibility and application requirements prior to applying. View the below list to see if Mason partners with your university:
Students must have the equivalent of a 2.50 cumulative GPA or higher (on a 4.0 scale). Students should have completed at least one year of study by the time of arrival.
Students must have the equivalent of a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher (on a 4.0 scale). Students should have completed at least one semester of study by the time of arrival.
If you are a graduate student interested in coming on exchange to George Mason University, you should first contact your study abroad office to determine your eligibility before getting in contact with Mason.
English Proficiency Requirements
U.S. citizens and students from English speaking countries are exempt from submitting proof of English documents. You may also be exempt if you meet one of the following qualifications:
- Applicants who have completed four years (grades 9-12) of college preparatory English at a U.S. secondary school or secondary school in Canada (excluding province of Quebec), Commonwealth Caribbean (Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago), United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand with grades of C or better in each English course have demonstrated English proficiency.
- Applicants who hold a conferred bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or recognized university in Canada (excluding Quebec), Commonwealth Caribbean, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand have demonstrated English proficiency.
All other applicants must provide an official score report for TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Test results must not be older than two years. Students must have the following minimum scores on their test results:
Unfortunately, we cannot accept the Institutional Testing Program (ITP) exam.
|TOEFL (Internet Based)
Minimum of 18 points in each section
Minimum of 20 points in each section
|DuoLingo (*Fall 2021,Spring 2022, and Fall 2022 ONLY*)
How to Apply
Required Application Documents
Students are required to submit the following documents through our online application system.
- Online application
- (Click the "Apply" button in the top right of the screen)
- Official university transcript (in English)
- This document should be emailed by the student's exchange coordinator at their home university
- Official English language results, if applicable (see above)
- IELTS scores: Submitted electronically when emailed to our office (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the student's exchange coordinator at their home university
- TOEFL scores: Must be submitted through the testing agency website using our school code:
- 5827 (George Mason University, Undergraduate Organization)
- Duolingo Scores: (Accepted for Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 ONLY): Students can email the website URL for their score report/certificate to our office (email@example.com).
- Passport Copy
- Color copy of valid passport (passport should be valid 6 months beyond the END date of your program)
- Visa documentation (if applicable - see below)
- NOTE: Dual-US Citizens will need to travel on their U.S. passport as they will not be eligible to receive an exchange student visa.
Non-U.S. citizens will be coming to Mason as a J-1 visa student. As part of your application, we will request the necessary documentation from you. These include:
Students will be provided with the amount of funding they must submit at the time of application. The amount varies slightly from year to year (see below).
Financial documents must be in English (See Proof of Funding Requirements
for full list of documentation requirements)
Spring 2022 Financial Requirements
- 1 Semester
- Undergraduates: $10,600
- Graduates: $13,225
- 2 Semesters:
- Undergraduates: $21,000 (If staying for the Summer: $26,900)
- Graduates: $26,000 (If staying for the summer: Amount $33,600)
Once you are accepted into George Mason University, your Mason program administrator will request your visa documentation, the DS-2019, from the Office of International Programs and Services. After the documentation has been created, it will be sent to your home university's exchange coordinator. You are responsible for picking up the documentation from your home institution and following the necessary steps to apply for a J-1 visa
. Mason will provide you with helpful instructional documents in order to facilitate the process. It will be your responsibility to apply for your J-1 visa at the American embassy or consulate near you
Applicants with U.S. citizenship should submit a copy of their U.S. passport through the application system and will need to travel on their U.S. passport.
Quick Facts About the J-1 Visa
- You must check-in with the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) at the beginning of the semester.
- You must have a travel signature from OIPS to leave the country. If you travel without a travel signature, you may not be able to come back to the U.S.
- The travel signatures are valid for one year. Students need to have a valid travel signature on their DS-2019s before leaving the country, so if they already received one and plan to return to US before it expires, they do not need another one.
- Students are allowed to stay in the country for a 30 day grace period after the end date of their program listed on the DS-2019 form. However, they are not allowed to work or to take classes during that 30 day grace period.
- You must be enrolled full-time for the entire duration of your stay in the U.S. That means being enrolled in at least 9 credits for graduate students and at least 12 credits for undergraduate students. If you are registered for less than the required amount of credits even for 1-2 days during your stay in the U.S., you risk immediate visa termination.
- NOTE: Fully online courses are not allowed to count toward the number of credits registered.
What Can I Study?
George Mason University is divided into 10 schools or colleges, each with a number of majors (degree programs) underneath them. Exchange students are eligible to take courses from the following:
The following subjects are not available to exchange students:
- Undergraduate Nursing courses
- Courses offered at the Antonin Scalia Law School
- BMGT courses in the Master of Science in Management Program
The following subjects are open to exchange students but may have limited availability due to the popularity of the program:
- Undergraduate Computer Science courses
- School of Business courses
There are two ways to view courses offered at Mason
- University Course Catalog: View all courses offered at Mason regardless of term offered.
- Schedule of Classes. To see courses offered in a specific semester.
- Fall semester course offering is finalized in March
- Spring semester course offering is finalized in mid-October.
- Classes are generally offered in the same semester (i.e. a course offered in Fall 2018 is likely to be offered again in Fall 2019).
All courses are conducted in English, except for upper-level foreign language courses.
Course Numbering System
Mason uses a numbering system for courses. Each course starts with a number that indicates it's level. For example, MGMT 303 or COMM 200. This lets you know which level it is. Higher course numbers typically indicate more advanced course work.
|100 Level Courses
|200 Level Courses
|300 Level Courses
|400 Level Courses
|500-600 Level Courses
|700+ Level Courses
||Doctoral level - not available to exchange students
Most exchange students take courses at the 200, 300, or 400 levels, but you are advised to consult with your advisor at home prior to selecting courses to ensure that you can transfer your credits upon completion of your study abroad program.
It is not possible
to combine graduate and undergraduate courses due to visa regulations. If you apply as an undergraduate student, you are required to take classes numbered 100-499; if you apply as a graduate student, you are required to take classes numbered 500 and above.
When registering for courses, there are usually multiple sections of a course. Generally, the only difference between sections is who is teaching the course, what time and day it is offered, and where the course is offered. For example, MGMT 303-001 is the first section. Any course with the letters "DL" in the section means Distance Learning. These courses are taught either partially or fully online (i.e. TOUR 230-DL1). Exchange students may take online classes so long as they have at least 12 credits (for undergraduates) or 9 credits (for graduates) of face-to-face courses. Exchange students are not eligible for course sections that begin with the letter K as these are courses taught at Mason Korea (i.e. BUS 200-K01).
When viewing the Schedule of Classes, you'll notice a number of abbreviations for days of the week and other common terms. Review the chart below to familiarize yourself. Building names
on campus also have abbreviations.
||To Be Announced
||Distance Learning - the course is taught online.
Students will be able to register for courses using PatriotWeb after they have been accepted. Some courses at Mason have prerequisites. This means the course requires knowledge from another Mason course in order for the student to be successful. In order to enroll in a course that has prerequisites, you must satisfy the requirements based on a similar course at your home institution. You will need to obtain departmental approve prior to registering for a course that has prerequisites. The Global Education Office will assist you with this process.
To comply with visa regulations, undergraduate exchange students must take between a minimum of 12 credits per semester (maximum 16) and graduate students must take 9 credits per semester (maximum of 12). Most courses are 3 credits so this will allow for 4-5 courses for undergraduate students and 3 courses for graduate students.
Students are still required to register for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Additionally, through Spring 2022 only 50% of those credits are required to be in-person/hybrid. No more than 50% can be fully-online courses. This requirement may change for future terms.
A credit normally represents one hour per week of lecture or recitation or not fewer than two hours per week of laboratory work throughout a semester. The number of credits is a measure of the quantity of work required. In general, 15 contact hours equals one credit at Mason.
See the check-list for exchange students
provided by the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) for more information on course registration and what to expect once you arrive.
Grades are a measure of the quality of the student’s work. The faculty of record (the professor assigned to teach the course) must assign a grade to all enrolled students at the end of the semester, term, or part of term. The university-wide system for undergraduate and graduate grading is as follows:
||UNDERGRADUATE QUALITY POINTS
||GRADUATE QUALITY POINTS
||4.0 - Passing
||4.0 - Satisfactory/Passing
||4.0 - Passing
||4.0 - Satisfactory/Passing
||3.67 - Passing
||3.67 - Satisfactory/Passing
||3.33 - Passing
||3.33 - Satisfactory/Passing
||3.0 - Passing
||3.0 - Satisfactory/Passing
||2.67 - Passing
||2.67 - Satisfactory/Passing
||2.33 - Passing
||2.0 - Passing
||2.0 - Unsatisfactory/Passing
||1.67 - Passing
||1.0 - Passing
||0.0 - Failing
||0.0 - Unsatisfactory/Failing
No credit toward graduation accrues from a failing grade or a grade that is replaced by a retaken course. While this is the official George Mason University academic policy, your home institution may have different requirements for grades transferred from Mason. Make sure you check the transfer credit grading policy with your home institution's study abroad coordinator and your academic advisor.
More detailed information on George Mason University's academic policies may be found in the University Catalog
Life On Campus
COVID-19 update: All J-1/Exchange Visitor Students are required to live on-campus.
Undergraduate students are guaranteed on-campus housing for the duration of their exchange at Mason so long as students apply by the housing deadlines. However, Mason cannot guarantee that you will get your first preference. Instructions on how to apply for housing will be sent to students via email after they have been accepted. Graduate student housing is not provided; graduate students are responsible to find housing on their own.
Undergraduate Housing Options
Undergraduate exchange students are guaranteed housing in residences on our main Fairfax Campus so long as students meet the required deadlines. Although the Global Education Office (GEO) will facilitate this process, it is your duty to follow all instructions and complete information required during specific dates and times. In addition, please keep in mind that housing on campus is very limited and that we cannot guarantee your first choice. International students will be assigned to housing with Mason domestic or other international students. Students have the option to choose from traditional suite style dorms or from apartment style dorms. Rooms are available in single, double, or triple occupancy. Please note, only about 10% of rooms on campus are single occupancy and these are primarily reserved for students with disabilities.
Graduate Housing Options
Unfortunately, Mason does not have graduate housing options on the Fairfax campus. There is a limited number of rooms available at Beacon Hall on the Science and Technology campus
located in Manassas, Virginia. Most graduate students elect to find off-campus housing. The two campuses are connected by a shuttle bus (link to schedule below).
Summer housing is generally unavailable unless you choose to take (and pay for) summer classes. If you choose to stay in the United States over the summer (and your visa allows it), you will need to make your own housing arrangements from mid-May until the end of August.
If you are an undergraduate student staying for the academic year, you can stay in several dormitories on campus over winter break without an additional fee. However, you will have limited access to Mason dining and public transportation. These dorms are:
Mason Dining caters to the comfort foods of a hugely diverse student population by incorporating culinary traditions from across the world. There are three traditional resident dining halls
on campus in addition to a number of restaurants and cafes
. View the Dining Map
to see all the food options that Mason has to offer.
Mason Dining offers a variety of meal plans to suite your needs and eating habits. Meal Plans can be upgraded or purchased at any point during the semester should you find the plan you selected isn't the best for you. Students living on-campus in suite style residence halls will be required to purchase a meal plan. The purchase of a meal plan is optional for all other students.
In addition to club sports
and intramural teams
, Mason has over 350 student organizations
, all available to exchange students. Mason also has Fraternity and Sororities
, some of which have welcomed exchange students who are on campus for a year. On campus, you will also find dance, music, and theater performances at the Center for the Arts
. EagleBank Arena
hosts a number of concerts, stand up comedians, and live sporting events. You can also watch some of our 22 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s sports
games – all at a free or discounted price. All of these and more contribute to a vibrant university life!
The following are estimated expenses for a semester at Mason:
||$3,465 - $4,780
$3,465 - $5,245
$5,505 - $6,555
|Per semester (triple occupancy)
Per semester (double occupancy)
Per semester (single occupancy)
|Mandatory Health Insurance•
|Health insurance is required for all exchange students on a J-1 visa.
||Free with Mason ID
$4 - $6 / one way
|Campus shuttle and local CUE bus (around Fairfax)
Metro train to Washington, D.C.
Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee♦
Minimum of $160
|Paid to the U.S. government
Paid to the U.S. consulate - amount varies by country
|Books and Supplies
||Per Semester (books can be bought used or rented for less)
*Amounts are estimated based on the Academic Year 2020-2021 rates.
•Health insurance that meets the J-1 requirements is mandatory for J-1 students. More details are available on the Student Health Services Website
♦Fee(s) subject to change. For non-U.S. citizens on a J-1 visa only.
Global Education Office Services
The Global Education Office (GEO) partners with the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) to provide students with an orientation. This orientation is mandatory for all new exchange students.
Exchange students are automatically registered for orientation. Orientation is a great time to meet other new students, receive information about Mason, learn important information about their J-1 visa, and get connected to all of Mason's resources. Exchange students will also have a special orientation meeting just with GEO. Visit the OIPS Orientation website for more information
In addition to regular events on campus and those offered by OIPS
for all international students, GEO hosts a number of events throughout the semester just for exchange students that are free or low cost. Events vary by semester but examples of past events include: pizza and a movie night; guided tour of sites in Washington, D.C.; ice skating; bowling nights; trip to a Washington Nationals baseball game.
To ensure students have multiple opportunities to meet Mason students, GEO offers a mentor program to all new incoming exchange students. Exchange students will be placed in a group of 6-10 exchange students along with two Mason students. Your GEO Mentors will be available to answer any questions you have about life on campus. Special events will be arranged for you and your GEO Mentors.
GEO also strongly encourages students to join the Mason Compatriots
program offered by OIPS.
All exchange student will be provided with one transcript free of cost that will be sent directly to their home university.
||"I enjoyed so much about Mason, but I’d say the experience of meeting so many new friends from all different backgrounds is something I will be grateful for forever."
Kim, University of East Anglia (Fall 2017)
||"The year I spent at Mason was probably my favorite university experience. I learned so much, not only about America but also about myself. I really felt like I fit in and it was the greatest feeling in the world. I met incredible people and some of my best friends. I have loved every minute of my Mason experience."
-Marie, Université Lumière Lyon 2 (Fall 2016-Spring 2017)
||"Being at Mason has been an absolute dream, the diversity and opportunities that present themselves here is amazing. Facilities such as the gyms (yes there is more than one) and dining halls are really top of the line and are an amazing asset to the school. The professors and lecturers that I had have been highly qualified and of the highest standard when it comes to delivering the content of a class. Overall, a really good experience studying at GMU, and for anyone planning on coming, I would greatly encourage them to do so. "
-Shaun, University of Technology Sydney (Fall 2017)