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-focused 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 organizations including National Geographic and the US government.
Many graduates go on to work in Washington. 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.
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.
U.S. News National University Rankings 2016 placed the university the 143rd nationally. Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 ranked it the 201st worldwide.
The university has very wide program selection with about 146 programs of study. The most popular majors by the number of registered students are psychology, accounting, biological sciences, business/marketing, social sciences, and health professions.
In recent years, George Mason faculty have twice won the Nobel Prize in Economics.