Mason has eight graduate programs listed among top 25 nationally, led by part-time law that is best in nation among publics

Students sit outside at a table at the Fairfax Campus
Mason has 18 programs ranked in the top 50 nationally and 33 ranked in the top 50 among public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2022 graduate program rankings. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

George Mason University has eight graduate programs listed among the top 25 nationally according to latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, reflecting the university’s impact as one of the best institutions for advanced degrees.

The list was led by Mason’s part-time law program at the Antonin Scalia Law School, which was No. 1 in the nation among publics, and also included two programs at the Schar School of Policy and Government that were among the top 10 nationally for public universities. Rounding out the list were programs in criminology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as elementary education and special education in the College of Education and Human Development.

Overall, Mason has 18 programs ranked in the top 50 nationally and 33 ranked in the top 50 among public universities.

“These rankings highlight the quality of our programs, expertise of our faculty, the impact of our research, and the achievements of our students,” Mason President Gregory Washington said. “Mason is a destination for the nation’s best students and we are very pleased that U.S. News has recognized our graduate programs that provide access to excellence.”

Mason is the largest public research university in Virginia, with campuses in Fairfax, Arlington and Manassas. Each of the top 25 ranked programs is based at Mason’s Arlington Campus, less than five miles from Washington, D.C. The campus is undergoing a $250 million transformation as part of the Rosslyn-Ballston Innovation Corridor, an innovation district that will be the first of its kind in Virginia, and will house the Institute for Digital InnovAtion where the School of Computing will be located.

U.S. News ranks different programs at different times of the year including rankings for online master’s programs, which were released in January, and  the annual Best Colleges rankings released each fall.

“The recognition of Mason’s outstanding academic programs as among the highest ranked in the nation affirms the experiences of our students that they are well prepared for success,” said Provost Mark Ginsberg.

The part-time law program at the Scalia Law School is ranked No. 4 among public and private institutions, ahead of such distinguished universities as Temple, Loyola Marymount, University of Maryland, University of Denver and Rutgers.

Our part-time JD program enables busy professionals to pursue a law degree in a flexible way without sacrificing on quality,” said law school Dean Ken Randall.

Starting this fall, through the increased use of technology, the part-time law program will offer students even more flexibility so students in the first two years of the four-year program can come to campus as few as two nights a week, instead of the traditional five days, Randall said.

“Our advantageous pricing point also makes a part-time legal education possible,” Randall added. “We are delighted that U.S. News has recognized Mason’s programs that connect students to distinguished faculty and unparalleled opportunities in the nation’s capital.”

Five of the Schar School’s specialties (homeland security, international policy, local government management, public management and nonprofit management) are ranked as the top program in Virginia and two (homeland security and international policy) ranked in the top five in the country among public institutions.  

The Schar School’s prime location in the heart of U.S. policy provides students with one-of-a-kind professional opportunities that supplement learning from professors with real-world experience in everything from NGOs and nonprofits to lead government agencies like the CIA, National Security Agency and many more.

“In its first five years, the Schar School's rankings have climbed impressively,” said Dean Mark J. Rozell. “These rankings are a testament to the quality of a unique multidisciplinary faculty of leading scholars and policy practitioners who are dedicated to training the next generation of policy thinkers and leaders."

Mason’s criminology program ranked No. 10 nationally and best in Virginia among public institutions. Internationally renowned for its applied research, the program prepares students to pursue competitive positions in law enforcement, courts, corrections, and other government agencies, as well as advocacy and nonprofit organizations.

In partnership with faculty, practitioners, and lead organizations in the criminal justice system, students learn about how to conduct original scholarship that can make the justice system fairer and more effective.

“Criminology, Law and Society’s [CLS] graduate programs are relatively young, so it’s especially gratifying to watch their meteoric rise in the national rankings,” said Dean Ann Ardis, noting that other top tier programs have much far longer histories.

The recognition is a testament to the research and hard work of faculty and graduate students, Department Chair James Willis said, “and to the department’s steadfast commitment to using science and reason to inform policies and practices that best meet what justice requires.”

Mason’s Special Education and Elementary Education programs ranked in the top 20 nationally, coming in at No. 16 and No. 20, respectively.

With expert faculty instruction combined with experiential learning opportunities with K-12 students in local school districts, the School of Education provides Mason students with the knowledge and skills to improve lives and make a difference in their communities.

“These rankings are reflective of the productivity and impact of our faculty and students,” said Interim Dean Robert Baker, adding that students from the College of Education and Human Development are highly sought after upon graduation. “We are unique in that we are not only among the top programs in the country, but we also provide access to excellence as one of the larger programs, as well.”

The Best Graduate Schools rankings for business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing are based on expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students, U.S. News reported.

The rankings derive from statistical surveys of more than 2,125 programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 23,000 academics and professionals in fall 2020 and early 2021.

Below is a preview of Mason’s rankings for its graduate programs. It will be updated if additional rankings become available:


Part-time program: 1 among public institutions; 4 overall

Full-time program: 19 among public institutions; 41 overall (up from 42 last year)

Intellectual Property: 10 among public institutions; 26 overall (up from 31 last year)

Corporate Law: 16 among public institutions; 36 overall

Constitutional Law: 20 among public institutions; 41 overall

Contracts: 21 among public institutions; 45 overall

Tax Law: 35 among public institutions; 73 overall

International Law: 36 among public institutions; 78 overall

Trial Advocacy: 33 among public institutions; 90 overall

Dispute Resolution: 42 among public institutions; 100 overall

Criminal Law: 42 among public institutions; 81 overall

Health Care: 108 overall (up from 114 last year)

Legal Writing: 74 among public institutions; 159 overall

Clinical Training: 58 among public institutions; 129 overall

Environmental Law: 70 among public institutions; 136 overall


Among public institutions: 10 (Best in Virginia)

Overall: 10


Among public institutions: 17

Overall: 33 (tied with Georgetown University)


Master’s: 21 among public institutions; 37 overall (up from 51 last year)

DNP: 31 among public institutions; 51 overall


Among public institutions: 34

Overall: 48 (up from 49 last year)

Homeland Security: 4 among public institutions (Best in Virginia); 7 overall

International Policy: 5 among public institutions (Best in Virginia); 14 overall

Local Government Management: 18 among public institutions (Best in Virginia); 22 overall

Public Management: 18 among public institutions (Best in Virginia); 26 overall (up from 28 last year)

Nonprofit Management: 23 among public institutions (Best in Virginia); 32 overall

Public Policy Analysis: 11 among public institutions; 23 overall


Among public institutions: 36 (tied with University of Virginia for best in state)

Overall: 60

BUSINESS (Part-time MBA)

Among public institutions: 40

Overall: 66


Among public institutions: 41

Overall: 73 (tied with Georgetown University)


Among public institutions: 42

Overall: 73



Among public institutions: 42

Overall: 68 (tied with William & Mary)



Among public institutions: 46

Overall: 76


Among public institutions: 48

Overall: 77


Among public institutions: 52

Overall: 70

Elementary Education: 17 among public institutions; 20 overall

Special Education: 15 among public institutions; 16 overall


Among public institutions: 55

Overall: 93 (up from 102 last year)

Industrial Engineering: 24 among public institutions; 37 overall

Bioengineering: 53 among public institutions; 89 overall (up from 93 last year)

Civil Engineering: 68 among public institutions; 95 overall

Computer Engineering: 46 among public institutions; 76 overall

Electrical Engineering: 52 among public institutions; 85 overall (up from 87 last year)


Among public institutions: 55

Overall: 83


Among public institutions: 57

Overall: 84


Among public institutions: 57

Overall: 90


Among public institutions: 63

Overall: 99


Among public institutions: 68

Overall: 96


Among public institutions: 75

Overall: 101 (tied with George Washington and Catholic University)



Among public institutions: 76 (tied with Maryland-Baltimore County)

Overall: 117 (tied with Maryland-Baltimore County)


Among public institutions: 93

Overall: 138


Among public institutions: 127

Overall: 190