School of Education - George Mason University

Prospective Student FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) Program

Who is this program for?

The ASTL program is designed for practicing educators who have at least one year of classroom experience. You do not need to have a teaching license to apply. ASTL concentrations do not lead to initial licensure. The ASTL program is designed for those who are looking to deepen their knowledge and strengthen their teaching. Course work is grounded in research-based practices and helps teachers become leaders in their fields.

Is there a specific semester start for the ASTL programs?

Not necessarily. Most concentrations allow you to start in any semester, including summer. In fact, we generally recommend that you start in the summer to take your first ASTL core course (EDUC 612). We will help you plan and register for courses once you are admitted.

*Starting the physical education concentration in the summer allows you to complete the program in two years. If you start the physical education concentration in the fall, the program takes three years to complete due to scheduling. We currently do not offer a spring start for the physical education Concentration. The advanced International Baccalaureate research concentration is also only a Summer and Fall start. Please see the table below for information regarding each concentration’s start semester.

Will this degree lead to initial licensure?

No, none of our ASTL concentrations qualify graduates for initial teacher licensure. Please check out our Teacher Track web page for initial teacher licensure options.

Successful completion of ASTL gifted courses can be applied to a VA add-on endorsement in gifted education, and the successful completion of course work in the K–12 reading specialist concentration can be applied to VA reading specialist license.

Can I use graduate credits from other universities to reduce my course load?

Possibly! University policy allows for up to 12 credits (depending on the program) that have not been previously used to complete a degree to be transferred from another accredited graduate program. Consultation with an ASTL advisor is necessary to determine if and which courses may be acceptable to a specific concentration. The literacy: K-12 reading specialist concentration does not allow for substitutions. Substitutions cannot be made for the five core courses of the ASTL program (EDUC 612, EDUC 613, EDUC 614, EDUC 606, EDUC 615). Course work that is older than six years will not be accepted, even if the courses were taken at Mason.

Is course work online or face-to-face?

Both! Some ASTL concentrations can be completed fully online, while others offer a blended* format. Our gifted, physical education, advanced International Baccalaureate research, and some special education concentrations can be completed 100% online. All of our other concentrations vary in their delivery, so check out the table below for more information.

ASTL core courses are typically offered both online and face-to-face (EDUC 612, EDUC 613, EDUC 614, EDUC 606, EDUC 615). Almost all of the core online courses are asynchronous (i.e., you do not need to be logged on at a given time), but some do have occasional flexible synchronous meetings built in.

Concentration 100% Online Option Blended   Notes Semester admissions (Spring, Summer, Fall?)
Advanced International Baccalaureate Research YES YES   Summer and Fall admissions ONLY
Designing Digital Learning in Schools   YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Summer and Fall admissions ONLY
Diversity and Exceptionality in PK-12 Schools YES YES 100% online is dependent on course selection Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Early Childhood Education   YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
French   YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Gifted Education YES YES   Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Gifted Education Certificate YES NO   Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
History/Social Science   YES BBlended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Individualized YES YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Literacy: K-12 Reading Specialist YES YES Fall admission: Literacy courses Blended
Spring admission: Literacy courses ONLINE
Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Literacy PK-12 Classrooms YES YES Fall admission: Literacy courses Blended
Spring admission: Literacy courses ONLINE
Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Mathematics K-8 YES YES   Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Physical Education YES YES   Summer and Fall admissions ONLY
Science K-12 YES YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
STEM YES YES 100% online and blended options are dependent on course selection Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Spanish   YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Special Education YES YES Can be taken 100% online OR blended; Dependent on courses Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions
Teacher Leadership   YES Blended and online options are dependent on course selection. Spring, Summer, and Fall admissions

Almost all of our graduate students work at least parttime (it is very difficult to successfully complete the ASTL program if you are not teaching in a school in some capacity), so all of our face-to-face courses are offered in the evenings, with the earliest beginning at 4:30 p.m.

How long does the master’s take to complete?

Most part-time students complete the master of education in about two years.

What is the cost of classes?

Please see https://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/tuition-fees/ for current tuition prices. Virginia educators may qualify for a 15% tuition discount. Please visit this page for more information about this opportunity.

To determine if you qualify for in-state tuition please visit the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia’s (SCHEV) page.

*Note: tuition prices are subject to change per university policy.

How do I apply?

Applications are accepted online. You can begin the application hereby creating an online account with a username and password. In addition to the completed application, you will also need to provide the following:

  1. Transcripts from all universities attended—if you list the university in your application, you will need to provide a transcript for the application. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application, but official transcripts will be required upon acceptance to the university.
  2. A 750- to 1000-word goal statement explaining why you would like to join ASTL, how the program will help you achieve your professional goals, and what you bring to Mason that will enhance our academic community.
  3. Contact information for two people who can provide recommendations, which can be professional or academic in nature. Mason will reach out directly to these references.
  4. Resume or CV.
  5. A non-refundable $75 application fee (paid electronically at the end of the application).

International students may require additional documentation—please see the next question.

What are the requirements for international students/students who have degrees from institutions outside the US?
  1. If you have a transcript from a university outside of the United States, it must be translated into English. Please refer to this page for information for international applicants. Information about transcript requirements can be found in the section titled, "Admissions Requirements for International Students".
  2. Verification of English proficiency may be required. Please review the English Proficiency Requirements page for university policy.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis as space allows. Deadlines for degree-seeking applicants are listed below.
Fall: August 15th
Spring: January 4th
Summer: June 1st

Why George Mason University?

George Mason University is a high-ranking university with plentiful opportunities for growth and innovation. We are an R1 university, conducting some of the highest levels of research in the nation—and you may be able to join us in that work! We are the most diverse university in the state of Virginia, affording students the opportunity to construct valuable knowledge with a multifaceted group of peers. We have over 350 student organizations to get involved in, and our proximity to Washington, D.C., provides easy access to its wide range of cultural, recreational, and academic offerings. Mason is also ranked as one of the top 100 best values in education. As a Mason student you will have access to all our benefits, including fitness and recreation facilities, health and wellness services, world-renowned exhibits and performances, and academic support.

I still have questions. Who can answer them?

Abbey Jones is our outreach coordinator and program admissions advisor. She can be reached at ajones77@gmu.edu or 703-993-2650.

In order to better assist you, please include the following in your email or phone message:

  • name
  • program of interest
  • need for online or face-to-face course work
  • desired starting semester