Global Affairs
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Application FAQs

Applicants to the Global Affairs graduate program submit an online application that is processed by George Mason University's Office of Graduate Admissions. Once an application is complete, the Global Affairs graduate admissions committee reviews and makes a decision, which is provided to the applicant via an email from the Office of Graduate Admissions. The Global Affairs Program is happy to answer applicant questions at any point during this process. We have compiled a few answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Is it possible to receive a waiver for the GRE application requirement?

The Global Affairs Program will waive the GRE requirement for applicants with a previously conferred master's degree. Applicants MUST contact the Global Affairs graduate coordinator ( if they would like to utilize this waiver and must submit transcripts from the master’s degree with the rest of the application. The waiver is not officially applied until transcripts have been received by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

What is the structure of the GRE?

From the ETS website: The GRE revised General Test consists of three parts:

  • Verbal Reasoning — Measures ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.
  • Quantitative Reasoning — Measures problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.
  • Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, specifically ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively.

What are the average GRE scores for admitted students?

On average, admitted students score at or above the 60th percentile on the Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections of the GRE. Applicants should keep in mind that GRE scores are just one component to the application. The admissions committee takes each component into account and does not disqualify applicants strictly on one element of the application.

When should an applicant plan to take the GRE?

It is recommended to take the GRE far enough in advance of the application deadline to allow time for adequate preparation and time for re-take, if necessary. This may be anywhere from six months to one year prior to the application deadline.

How can an applicant prepare for the GRE?

There are multiple ways to study for the exam. These range from practice tests, test booklets, official guides to the GRE, mobile apps, and prep classes. Applicants are advised to prepare in the way that is most like their normal study habits and is most cost-efficient for their needs. For additional information, visit:

What is the fee for the GRE?

Standard test administration of the GRE revised general test costs $205. A complete fee breakdown is available on the GRE website.

Is the GRE administered at George Mason University?

No. Although there are multiple test sites in the Washington DC metro area, Mason is not one of them. Applicants can view the locations online through the ETS website when registering for the exam.

How soon are GRE scores sent to the institution?

For the computer-based test, official scores are mailed approximately 10-15 days after the test date.

Goals Statement

What should an applicant include in the goals statement?

The goals statement should address the following:

  • Purpose for graduate study and why the applicant has selected Global Affairs (and planned area of specialization)  and George Mason University
  • The applicant's career goals and plans for the future
  • The applicant's preparation for the field of Global Affairs, in relation to academic background, extracurricular activities, professional experience, etc.
  • Any other details that are not revealed elsewhere in the application that give the admissions committee an idea of who the applicant is as a person and master's candidate

Note:  Applicants are welcome to include an explanation for any problems or inconsistencies in other application materials (low GRE scores, GPA, etc.) in their Goals Statement

What is the page length for the goals statement?

Goals statement should be two pages in length.

Letters of Recommendation

Whom should an applicant ask to provide a letter of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should be prepared by individuals that can speak to the applicant's academic abilities and overall potential for success in a graduate program.

Do both required letters have to be from academic sources?

No. However, at least one letter should be from an individual with experience evaluating the applicant's academic work. Letters from individuals that know the applicant only in a personal capacity (family and friends) cannot be accepted.

How do recommenders submit their letters?

Applicants provide the names and email addresses of their recommenders within the online application. The recommenders receive an email from George Mason University that includes a link to access the online recommendation form. At the end of the online form, recommenders will be able to upload documents.

May I submit more than the two required letters?

Yes. The online application provides space to enter the name and email address of a third recommender.

Foreign Language Proficiency

Please consult the web page dedicated to the foreign language application requirement for information on this topic.

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