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George Mason University

Profile of George Mason University

George Mason University is a dynamic, forward-looking institution that provides a diverse and interactive curriculum to educate students for life in a rapidly changing, highly technical world.

More than 21,000 students study in more than 100 degree programs at the undergraduate, master's, doctoral, and professional levels. By emphasizing high technology, public policy, and the fine and performing arts, the university has formed links with the community by meeting its needs while taking advantage of the best it has to offer in people and resources. Its innovative programs and visionary outlook have attracted a faculty of world-renowned scholars and teachers.

Both George Mason and surrounding Fairfax County have experienced phenomenal development over the past several years. From its beginning in 1957 as a two-year branch of the University of Virginia, George Mason has grown into a comprehensive institution offering degrees through the doctoral level. From a rural suburb of Washington, DC, Fairfax County has developed into a center of high-technology enterprise, promising to rival the West Coast's Silicon Valley and the Boston area's Route 128 corridor.

The university's growing stature and reputation are exemplified by the presence of Virginia's first Nobel laureate, economist James Buchanan. The George Mason professor won the 1986 Nobel Prize in economics for his public choice theory of political decision making. Buchanan is executive director of the university's Center for Study of Public Choice, which applies scientific economic methods to the "public choice behavior" of voters, party leaders, and other politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats. This center and more than 60 other GMU centers and institutes enhance university scholarship and contribute, both directly and indirectly, to the intellectual growth of the George Mason student.


Location

Located in Northern Virginia, George Mason is convenient to all the resources of the nation's capital and the Washington metropolitan area. Situated on 583 wooded acres near the City of Fairfax, the university's Fairfax Campus combines the quiet of a suburban setting with accessibility to Washington's libraries, galleries, and museums; Virginia's historic sites; and Fairfax County's high-technology firms. Metrorail, the Washington area's subway system, enables GMU riders to reach the U.S. Capitol in 35 minutes. It also provides a quick ride to GMU's 5.2-acre Arlington Campus, which houses the law school, a professional center and a conference center. Its campus in Prince William County, called the Prince William Institute, offers academic, community and business support programs.


Programs

The university's main academic divisions are the College of Arts and Sciences, Institute of the Arts, Graduate School of Education, School of Business Administration, School of Information Technology and Engineering, College of Nursing and Health Science, School of Law, New Century College, and Institute for Graduate and Business Professional Studies. GMU offers more than 100 degree programs, including 53 undergraduate, 39 master's, 11 doctoral, and a juris doctor degree.

Many innovative and distinctive programs are available. For example, the university's Plan for Alternative General Education (PAGE), an interdisciplinary program, received the 1986 G. Theodore Mitau Award for Innovation and Change in Higher Education from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The George Mason English Department, with several noted writers on its faculty, has a national reputation. Its seminars and workshops attract many internationally known authors as workshop leaders and seminar speakers.


Students

The majority of the university's more than 21,000 students are from Virginia, with the other 49 states and 108 foreign countries well represented in the student body. While full-time undergraduates, 18 to 24 years in age, make up the largest student group, part-time graduate and undergraduate students, 25 and up, are growing in numbers. George Mason welcomes qualified students with a wide range of interests and backgrounds.


Faculty

The university's 742 full-time instructional faculty members are experts in a broad range of fields, who have published widely, contributed to major research findings, and consulted with government and business. The faculty includes a Nobel laureate, winners of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, and winners of Fulbright Awards and Mellon Fellowships.

Of particular interest to undergraduates are the Robinson Professors, outstanding scholars in the liberal arts and sciences who have come to George Mason from prestigious positions elsewhere. They are concerned with broad and fundamental intellectual issues and are dedicated to undergraduate teaching. The Schedule of Classes printed every semester gives details about courses being taught by Robinson Professors.

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