College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Other Concentrations

Individualized Studies Concentration

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.
  • Unofficial copies of transcript(s) from previous institution(s) attended (uploaded via online application).
  • Goals Statement (uploaded via online application). 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. The goals statement should describe the proposed degree plan.
  • Detailed degree plan. This 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).
  • 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. 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

  • Resume or CV (uploaded via 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.

Please Note: Submit your online application after uploading all of the requirements above. After your application is submitted and reviewed, you will receive instructions on how to submit the following required item:

  • Writing Sample (uploaded online). 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:

  • review Mason's International Transcript Guidelines to determine exactly which documents you must submit
  • upload the Acknowledgement of International Graduate Transcript Policies form linked in the online application to fulfill the transcript requirement section of the application

NOTE: 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. If you prefer to have Mason evaluate your international transcripts, you should apply 45 days before the posted deadline date.

  • provide proof of English proficiency: either TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English. Please refer to the university’s English Proficiency Standards
  • submit your official transcripts in a sealed envelope directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions either via postal mail or in-person to:

George Mason University
Office of Graduate Admissions
4400 University Drive, MSN 4C8
245 Johnson Center
Fairfax, VA  22030

For questions regarding the application process, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at or (703) 993-9700.

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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