Application FAQ’s

Applicants to the Middle East and Islamic Studies graduate program submit an online application that is processed by George Mason University's Office of Graduate Admissions. Once an application is complete, the Middle East and Islamic Studies graduate admissions committee reviews and makes a decision, which is provided to the applicant via an email from the Office of Graduate Admissions. The Middle East and Islamic Studies 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.



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

The Middle East and Islamic Studies Graduate Program will waive the GRE requirement for applicants who:

  • Received a Bachelor’s Degree more than 10 years ago
  • Have previously received another graduate degree
  • A Bachelor’s Degree GPA above 3.2
  • International applicant (Require an F-1 or J-1 Visa)

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.

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

The goals statement should address the following:

  • Purpose for graduate study and why the applicant has selected MEIS and George Mason University
  • The applicant's career goals and plans for the future
  • The applicant's preparation for the field, 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
  • Your level of proficiency in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, or Urdu.

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.

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.

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.