College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Application Requirements

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

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

  • Completed Application for Graduate Study (online).

  • Nonrefundable application fee.

  • Application for Virginia In-State Tuition Rates if claiming entitlement to these rates.

  • One official transcript from all previous institutions attended. Transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Admissions Office or, if an official electronic transcript, to Mason’s official email address for transcript receipt. Official Transcripts.

  • Goals Statement.  This 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.

  • Individualized Studies Degree Plan Form. Applicants will use the Individualized Studies Degree Plan departmental form to plan a curriculum for their proposed degree. The proposed program of study must have a title, and the proposed curriculum must be consistent with that title. Applicants will also use the form to indicate the faculty member with whom they plan to work. The statement of goals may be used to provide additional explanation about the proposed program of study.   Individualized Studies Degree Plan Form

  • Faculty Support.  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. 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.

  • Three 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 and is prepared to advise the student.

  • Writing Sample. This document 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.

Applicants with international academic credentials should apply 30 days before the program deadline and must also provide:

  • Proof of English proficiency: either TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English. Please refer to the university’s English Proficiency Standards.

  • Degree certificates, diplomas, or additional transcript documentation as outlined in the university’s International Transcript Submission Guidelines

  • Applicants may supply an official international transcript evaluation from an independent evaluation agency approved by NACES or AACRAO. The WES-ICAP evaluation service includes verified academic credentials as part of the evaluation package.


Application Deadlines

All applicants are strongly advised to submit applications and all supporting documents by the programs' posted deadline dates.

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