George Mason University
#200 Overall Influence#548 Desirability Rank

George Mason University

Public liberal arts and research university in Fairfax, Virginia

George Mason University Rankings

By James Barham, PhD

George Mason University (GMU) was founded in 1949 as the Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia. The school was originally located in Arlington, Virginia, a suburban town just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.

In 1956, the Northern Virginia University Center was upgraded to University College of the University of Virginia; at the same time, the school moved to the nearby town of Bailey’s Crossroads. In 1959, University College changed its name to George Mason College of the University of Virginia.

George Mason (1725–1792) was a Virginia delegate to the US Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was one of only three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution in its original version, without the Bill of Rights. As one of the authors of the “Fairfax Resolves” of 1774 and the “Virginia Declaration of Rights” of 1776, which formed the basis for the first ten amendments that were added to the Constitution in 1789, Mason is sometimes referred to as the “father of the Bill of Rights.”

In 1964, George Mason College moved again, to its present location in Fairfax, Virginia—the birthplace of George Mason—and in 1977, the school severed its ties to the University of Virginia, becoming fully autonomous under the name of George Mason University.

Today, GMU comprises 11 colleges, schools, and institutes, including, notably, the Antonin Scalia Law School, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study.

Also associated with GMU is the Mercatus Center, a free market-oriented, economic-policy think tank. Overall, the student body numbers more than 38,000 individuals.

Among many distinguished GMU faculty and alumni, we may note the following:

  • Mathematician, Duminda Wijesekera
  • Computer scientists, Jonathan Katz, Kenneth A. De Jong, Robert Axtell, Qing Tian, Jana Košecká & M. Brian Blake
  • Poet, Eric Pankey
  • Novelist, Alan Cheuse
  • Children’s author, Sharon Creech
  • Documentary filmmaker, Carma Hinton
  • Actors, Rhea Seehorn, Paige Moss & Archie Kao
  • Artist, Deborah Willis
  • Astrophysicist, Arthur I. Poland
  • Physicist, Robert Ehrlich
  • Chemists, Gerald Weatherspoon & Rebecca M. Jones
  • Biochemist, Harold J. Morowitz
  • Neuroscientists, Rob Cressman & Avrama Kim Blackwell
  • Psychologists, Stephen Zaccaro, June Tangney, Lois Tetrick & Todd B. Kashdan
  • Sociologist, Joshua Greenberg
  • Anthropologists, Susan Hirsch & Mary Catherine Bateson
  • Political scientists, Jack Goldstone, Mark Rozell, Mark N. Katz & Richard E. Rubenstein
  • Criminologist, David Weisburd
  • Legal scholar, Todd Zywicki
  • Economists, James M. Buchanan (Nobel laureate), Vernon L. Smith (Nobel laureate), Gordon Tullock, Walter E. Williams, Lawrence H. White, Peter Boettke, Steven Horwitz, Bryan Caplan, Tyler Cowan, Christopher Coyne & Donald J. Boudreaux
  • Historians Martin Sherwin, Richard Norton Smith, Rex A. Wade & Roy Rosenzweig
  • Civil rights activist and African-American studies scholar, Roger Wilkins
  • Investigative journalist, Brian Krebs
  • TV journalists, Angie Goff & Hala Gorani
  • Economics journalists, Stephen Moore & Jeffrey Tucker
  • Business journalist and columnist, Steven Pearlstein
  • US Republican Party political consultant and presidential policy advisor, Karl Rove
  • Current Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


4400 University Dr, Fairfax VA 22030-4444

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

5 per 100k

Violent Crime

0 per 100k

What is George Mason University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#32 World Rank #19 USA Rank
#45 World Rank #38 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#138 World Rank #48 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#77 World Rank #54 USA Rank
Political Science
#66 World Rank #56 USA Rank
#119 World Rank #60 USA Rank
#125 World Rank #65 USA Rank
#198 World Rank #76 USA Rank
#173 World Rank #94 USA Rank
Computer Science
#220 World Rank #105 USA Rank
#233 World Rank #110 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#274 World Rank #125 USA Rank
#372 World Rank #126 USA Rank
#178 World Rank #127 USA Rank
#302 World Rank #130 USA Rank
#168 World Rank #132 USA Rank
#238 World Rank #132 USA Rank
#266 World Rank #149 USA Rank
#290 World Rank #153 USA Rank
#260 World Rank #158 USA Rank
Social Work
#560 World Rank #193 USA Rank
#578 World Rank #228 USA Rank
#652 World Rank #278 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are George Mason University's Most influential alumni?

George Mason University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Economics, Criminal Justice, and Business. George Mason University’s most academically influential people include Tyler Cowen, Stephen Blair Hedges, and Peter Boettke.

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen


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Stephen Blair Hedges
Stephen Blair Hedges

Professor of evolutionary biology

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Peter Boettke

American economist

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Anousheh Ansari
Anousheh Ansari

Iranian-American engineer and entrepreneur

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Peter Leeson
Peter Leeson

American economist

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Brian Krebs

American journalist specializing in cybersecurity

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Alex Tabarrok
Alex Tabarrok

Canadian economist

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Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore

American economic analyst and Wall Street Journal editor

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Jon Gettman

American activist

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Mark Winegardner

American writer

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Alex Nowrasteh
Alex Nowrasteh

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Steven Horwitz
Steven Horwitz

American economist

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