How Mason is Different

Mason's Proof Points Tell the Bigger Truth about the University


George Mason University is the largest, most innovative, most diverse public research university in Virginia, and those are just the broad strokes of who we are. Our faculty, staff, students and their families, alumni, donors, and community supporters tell the full story of what makes us special and caused Times Higher Education to rank Mason as a top-50 public university.

Take a look at the following proof points to see how Mason measures up. Not bad for a university just 50 years young—and this is only the beginning.


Mason Welcomes 
All Together Different 

Since our founding in 1972, we’ve embraced diversity and inclusion as one of our core principles. The decades have proven that our ethos of standing together despite our differences is what sets us apart from other universities. Mason students represent 130 countries and all 50 states. We proudly accept nearly 90 percent of undergraduate applicants, because we believe in inclusivity over exclusivity. Our graduation rate exceeds the national average, and there are no disparities in academic success rates among the differing ethnic groups or socioeconomic statuses of our students. We also have the flexibility to match the lifestyle of anyone looking to re-skill or move forward in a career.

Where we stand

U.S. News & World Report ranks Mason No. 1 in Virginia and No. 7 nationally among public institutions for being the most ethnically diverse.

College Factual ranks Mason as one of the top universities in the United States for military veterans.

We’re ranked No. 17 in the nation No. 14 among public universities by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) for First Amendment observance, which includes accepting the expression of all ideologies.

Campus Pride Index, which is dedicated to creating safer environments for members of the LGBTQ+ community, ranks Mason five out of five stars. Mason is one of only 48 universities nationally to gain that distinction.

Mason enrolls and graduates the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest population of Hispanic and Asian students.

Our more than 460 student organizations are a true indicator of our student body’s diversity of thought, interests, and professional goals, with clubs ranging from Quidditch and Chinese to accounting and anime.


Mason Thinks 
All Together Different 

“Freedom and Learning” isn’t just our motto. We work intentionally to create an atmosphere that encourages taking risks and freely sharing ideas that will spark cutting-edge exploration and research. U.S. News & World Report ranks Mason No. 1 in Virginia and No. 9 nationally among public institutions for innovation. The organization FIRE ranks Mason in the top 20 nationally among public institutions for welcoming and fostering free speech. Mason faculty members are working experts in their fields and include U.S. Congress members, U.S. Supreme Court justices, business leaders, and successful entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

Where we stand

We are ranked No. 9 nationally among public institutions and No. 1 in Virginia for innovation.

Mason’s establishment of Virginia’s first College of Public Health positions us to meet Northern Virginia’s increased demand for a career-ready health care workforce reflecting the diversity of the region.

The Emergent Ventures Fast Grants program has awarded nearly 300 grants that total $50 million to incentivize and fund COVID-19 research.

Mason’s Greg and Camille Baroni Center for Government Contracting is the first university center in the nation to address the business, policy, and regulatory issues of government contracting.

Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication is among the most influential climate change science centers in the nation. The center addresses climate change literacy and educating meteorologists on talking to the public about the effects of climate change.

Mason’s Business for a Better World Center is dedicated to preparing students to thrive in business endeavors that incorporate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution is breaking a 30-year cycle of violence through brokering peace in the southern Congo by putting itself—instead of governments or NGOs—at the center of 15 warring factions as a new kind of peacemaker.

Mason has the highest research growth in the past 10 years among Virginia institutions and is No. 10 in research growth among U.S. public universities, according to the National Science Foundation.


Mason Works 
All Together Different 

Entrepreneurs, researchers, technologists, business leaders, and various federal and national organizations work alongside Mason faculty and innovators in partnerships that expand opportunities for the broader community. These collaborations have resulted in interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and programs that are often completely unique or the first of their kind.

Where we stand

In partnership with the commonwealth’s Tech Talent Initiative, Mason will expand its programs in computer science and related fields by one third at the undergraduate level and threefold at the graduate level.

The Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory is one of just eight “body farms” in the world that teach students firsthand about human decomposition for outdoor crime scene investigations. We partnered with FARO Technologies to establish the world’s first FARO-certified lab, and work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement to train students.

The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, the embodiment of our longstanding partnership with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, provides students with valuable hands-on training from the nation’s conservation leaders.

The College of Health and Human Services Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinics deliver health care services to uninsured and refugee communities where health solutions are not otherwise available.

Mason’s Biomedical Research Laboratory is a partnership between Mason and the U.S. Center for Infectious Disease Research. The lab is one of a national network of 12 regional high-security biocontainment laboratories, where scientists are studying emerging and potential biothreats.

Through partnerships with the City of Manassas and Prince William County, Mason’s Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center and Hylton Performing Arts Center, both on the Science and Technology Campus, provide the local community with world-class performing arts and fitness facilities. The artistry from programs within Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts find expression in the performances at the Hylton. Research from the Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing (SMART) Laboratory put into practice at the Freedom Aquatic Center.

Mason is a founding partner of the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which is a collaboration of elite research universities, national labs, and cybersecurity industry leaders looking to map the future of the cybersecurity industry.

Mason is leading research in infectious diseases, biomedicine, computer science, cybersecurity, climate change, transnational crime, and more.

Mason is ranked No. 9 in the world in cybersecurity and No. 8 nationally. Mason is also No. 1 in Virginia in data science, software engineering, and web design and development, according to EduRank.

Mason is the No. 1 public institution in the country for critical infrastructure protection, according to College Factual.

Mason’s network of 27 Small Business Development Centers provided readily applicable knowledge to nearly 10,500 local entrepreneurs in fiscal year 2021 through no-cost counseling and training services. And by hosting 800 events for more than 17,000 entrepreneurs, Mason has an estimated economic impact in Virginia of more than $1 billion.

Partnerships with entities like Starship Robot and BurnAlong bring the latest technology straight to our students, enhancing their university experience in ways that focus on their well-being as well as convenience and time efficiency.


Mason Delivers 
All Together Different 

The expansion of Mason Square, our campus in Arlington, will create new spaces to host our Institute for Digital Innovation and programs from the School of Computing—the first of its kind in Virginia. The expansion also brings in several other new spaces that all circle around one central goal—creating an interdisciplinary environment that brings together students, faculty, researchers, entrepreneurs, and the latest technology. These initiatives will increase the already broad range of experiential opportunities available to our students, giving them valuable hands-on experiences that ensure their growth and success once they enter the professional realm.

Where we stand

Mason is a Top 50 public university in America, according to the Wall Street Journal (2022).

Recent graduates become successful hires at top industries like business or financial consulting, government or military-related industries, technology, health care, and education. Overall, 88 percent of recent graduates report they are on track for career-related employment, graduate school, or the military.

Mason is the largest producer of tech talent in Virginia, with 40 percent of students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Mason is a globally ranked R1 research university.

Mason’s part-time law program is ranked No. 1 nationally among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report.

Mason is No. 1 among Virginia’s public institutions for homeland security and No. 7 nationally. Our undergraduate cybersecurity program is ranked No. 19 nationally (up from No. 28), and No. 10 among publics (up from No. 15), according to U.S. News & World Report.

86 percent of Mason’s 2021 graduates reported being employed, enrolled in further education, or involved in career-related service projects within six months of graduation.

Mason’s student loan default rate of 2.5 percent is significantly lower than the national average and among the lowest in the nation.

The Schar School for Policy and Government’s Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security has put Mason at the forefront of vital national and international security conversations by involving the former director of the CIA and NSA, former acting director of the CIA, and former senior director of the White House Situation Room.

College Factual ranks Mason’s bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and policing No. 1 in the United States.

College Factual ranks Mason’s writing and rhetoric program No. 1 in Virginia.

Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School is among the top 30 law schools in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report.

In response to the region’s need for a tech talent pipeline, Mason established Virginia’s first School of Computing.