George Mason University has expanded rapidly in less than 50 years of existence to become the largest public research university in the southeastern US state of Virginia.
Established in 1957 with just 17 students, as a branch of the University of Virginia, the university gained its independence in 1972 and today has tens of thousands of students from around 130 countries.
It offers 76 undergraduate majors and was the first university in the US to introduce doctoral programs in conflict resolution, information technology, bioinformatics and computational social science.
The undergraduate-focussed campus in the city of Fairfax boasts 677 acres of woodland and is located just 15 miles away from Washington DC, with all the internship opportunities that exist there for students with organisations including National Geographic and the US government.
Many graduates go on to work in Washington and Virginia State Council of Higher Education ranks George Mason as the university with the highest average starting salaries of any in Virginia.
The university also has an urban campus in Arlington, mostly for graduate and professional degree programs in Law, Policy, Government and International Affairs, and Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and a campus in Prince William County, which focuses on life sciences.
There are various study abroad options offered of varying lengths at the university’s campus in Songdo, Korea, which opened in 2012 and focuses on economics.
The university is partnered with the Smithsonian Institution in the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, where there are clouded leopards, red pandas, Przewalski horses and other endangered species.
INTO Mason provides international students with a community and support network for those coming to study from abroad, helping them to integrate into American university life and offering help with English Language skills and work.
George Mason University has produced the first Muslim woman in space, a Poet Laureate of Virginia and a treasurer of the United States.