Folklore
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Other Concentrations

Individualized Studies Concentration

Become a Mason Graduate Student

All applicants for graduate study at George Mason University must meet the admission standards specified in the Admission chapter of the University Catalog.

CHSS Graduate Admissions is self-managed. You are responsible for submitting all required application materials by the posted deadline. Review your program's Admissions Requirements and Deadlines before you begin your application. You can also visit our Grad Admissions FAQs page for helpful hints on how best to prepare your transcripts and other Admissions materials.

Step 1: Complete and submit the online Graduate Admissions application:

Step 2: Upon submission and payment of the online application, you will receive an email confirming application submission and instructions for uploading any supplementary materials required to complete the admission process. You will also be assigned a Mason identification number—called a G number—that will be key to all University communications. You can find this number through your self-service center.

Step 3: Check your application status. You can use your application log-in and password to access your information throughout the application process. Graduate Admissions may send updates or notify you of issues with your application through your self-service center, so it is best to log in periodically to stay on top of your application.

Additional Requirements for

International Applicants

Students applying for graduate study must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, which is verified from official transcripts, by the time they enroll at Mason. They should also have earned a GPA equivalent to a 3.0 on a 4-point scale.

Unofficial documents may be considered for admissions purposes only. Applicants may upload copies of their transcript with their application. Transcript must include a version in the original language as well as in English, and should contain a copy of the graduation certificate/diploma to verify the conferral date. Transcript evaluations can be made from unofficial documents.

For student who prefer to submit official transcripts instead, they can be mailed directly to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MS 4C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

Please review the guidelines for international transcript submission.

*Note: For admitted students needing an F-1 or J-1 visa, the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Office of International Services and Programs must have an official transcript on file before visa paperwork can be completed. These can be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions after receipt of a decision of admission to the above address.

Transcript Evaluations

A transcript evaluation is also required for all international transcripts. Evaluations must be completed by an accredited agency approved by NACES or AACRAO, or you may submit your transcript for evaluation by George Mason’s International Credential Evaluation office. If you choose to use Mason’s service, please expect 6-8 weeks for processing.

For more information, visit the International Application Hints section of the Admissions Website.

Proof of English Proficiency

Students who were educated outside of the US, Canada (excluding Quebec), UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand must submit qualifying TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English exam results. All examinations require advance registration and it could take several weeks to receive your results. It is important to register for these examinations early.

Minimum scores required for each exam:

  • TOEFL: 88 points, minimum of 20 points in each section
  • IELTS: 6.5 total band score
  • Pearson: minimum score of 59

Visa Information

Please submit the following documents as part of your I-20 application:

If you already hold an F-1 or J-1 visa, please provide a copy of your I-20 form and your passport ID photo as part of your application. For questions regarding the I-20 application, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions or the Office of International Programs and Services.

*Note: For admitted students needing an F-1 or J-1 visa, the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Office of International Services and Programs must have an official transcript on file before visa paperwork can be completed. These can be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions after receipt of an admitted decision to the above address.


Non-Degree Admissions

You have the option to take graduate courses in non-degree status. To apply, you must complete an online application for your intended start term and include transcripts as well as a resume. You will also be required to indicate on the application which courses you plan to take for approval during the application review process. Credits earned in non-degree status may potentially transfer to a degree program at a later date so long as it meets the program requirements and the program director approves the transfer. For information on transfer credit policies, please refer to the University Catalog.

Restricted Courses

The following courses are unavailable to non-degree students:

  • Anthropology: ANTH 535, ANTH 536, ANTH 650.
  • Communication: COMM 600, COMM 650. Permission of the instructor is required for 700-level courses.
  • Cultural Studies: Graduate-level Cultural Studies courses are unavailable to non-degree students.
  • Economics: Graduate-level courses are available to non-degree students only with the approval of the course instructor.
  • English: Graduate-level Creative Writing courses require the permission of either the program director or the instructor of a specific course. Samples of original creative work will be required before such permission is granted.
  • Psychology: Graduate course enrollment in Psychology for non-degree students is welcome, but must be approved by the instructor in advance. This is likely appropriate for numerous 500- and 600-level courses (and only a few at the 700-level or above), as long as the student has the required prerequisites or equivalent. The following (clinical assessment and intervention) courses are unavailable to non-degree students: Psyc 709, 710, 722, 750, 751,790, 810, 811, 816, 822, 823, 831, 832, 851, 860, 862, 881, 883, 885, 888.

Non-degree students are ineligible to take 800-level courses in any CHSS program.

CHSS non-degree enrollment is available for the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. The deadline to apply as a CHSS non-degree student is the last day to add classes for the relevant semester. Please refer to the Office of the University Registrar calendar for dates.

Program Specific Requirements

College Transcripts Goals Statement GRE Portfolio Recommendation Letters Resume Writing Sample
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Additional Information

The Individualized Studies concentration is reserved for students who are highly motivated and capable of working independently. Applicants to this concentration must use the application process not only to establish their qualifications and credentials, but also to design the proposed degree itself. Applicants to the Individualized Studies Concentration must submit:

  • This goals statement essay helps to convey the applicant's writing ability and the background and credentials that qualify the applicant for graduate study at George Mason University. Applicants should also use this essay to express what they hope to achieve professionally by doing an individualized degree and why other, relevant Mason master's programs are insufficient for this task. The goals statement should describe the proposed degree plan.
  • The degree plan should be devised in accordance with the Individualized Studies degree requirements. Applicants should name their proposed Disciplinary Focus and their proposed Complimentary Disciplines. Applicants should also list the exact courses they wish to take to satisfy the Disciplinary Focus (12-18 credits), their Complementary Disciplines (9-18 credits), and their Research Methods requirement (3 credits).
  • Applicants to the individualized studies concentration must acquire the support of a graduate faculty member prior to applying to the program. This relationship may be established by taking undergraduate courses at Mason, by taking graduate courses in non‐degree status, or by contacting the graduate faculty member directly and asking him or her to serve as advisor. Ideally, the faculty member will discuss the merits of the proposed degree plan in the letter of support. If applicants do not submit a letter of recommendation from their proposed Mason graduate faculty advisor, the faculty member will still be contacted about their willingness to work with the student.

    The University defines graduate faculty as follows:  "The graduate faculty consists of all George Mason University tenured and tenure-track faculty. Other Mason faculty members, as well as individuals from outside the university, may be appointed to the graduate faculty by the Provost for a specified duration of time."

    Students should ask the faculty member with whom they plan to work if they are graduate faculty. Students should not assume that non‐graduate faculty will be appointed to the graduate faculty in order to accommodate their preferences. Applicants will be prompted to enter faculty support information while completing the online application

  • The names and email addresses (via the online application) of the three individuals who will be submitting the required letters of recommendation. These letters must establish the applicant's ability to do graduate-level work in the proposed field of study. The strongest applicants will have a letter of recommendation from their proposed graduate faculty advisor, indicating that the faculty member endorses the admission has reviewed the proposed degree plan, and is prepared to advise the student.
  • The writing sample should be a formal piece of writing that demonstrates the applicant's ability to write at the graduate level, use evidence to make an argument, and, if the applicant is applying to a discipline that will require original research, to conduct such research.

Prospective Students

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline: March 01

Spring Deadline: October 15

All applicants are strongly advised to submit applications and all supporting documents by the program's posted deadline date.

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