George Mason University
George Mason University - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||34|
|Avg years at University||2.6|
|Research Quality||C+ (5.4)|
|Research Availability||C (4.7)|
|Research Funding||C- (4.2)|
|Graduate Politics||C (4.3)|
|Not Errand Runners||C (4.7)|
|Degree Completion||C+ (5.4)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||C (4.2)|
|Sufficient Pay||C- (4.1)|
|Education Quality||C+ (5.4)|
|Faculty Accessibility||C+ (5.1)|
|Useful Research||C (4.6)|
|"Individual" treatment||C- (4.1)|
|Campus Beauty||B- (6.2)|
|Campus Maintenance||B (6.8)|
|University Spending||C+ (5.3)|
|Scholastic Success||C (4.9)|
|Surrounding City||B (6.6)|
|Social Life/ Environment||B- (5.8)|
Four years later I have yet to find a position in which to use the knowledge I gained. I feel in retrospect that I was just a meal ticket. A little advising early in the process (which I didn't know I needed at the time) could have greatly improved my chances. All it would have taken is 15-30 minutes and it might have changed the course of my life for the better.
We students actually conjectured that one key professor was slipping mentally... he let the ball drop on many things that he should have been on top of.Students, do your due diligence and find out what's really involved in your field and what job prospects there are (and what education/qualifications are necessary). It might save you some serious heartache (and wallet-ache)
Now to be fair, the graduation rates are respectable; the classes will teach you what they need to; the professors are respectably competent; the area is rich with business opportunities if you're ambitious enough; the school is up-and-coming in terms of national visibility; proximity to DC is great; there's no shortage of enthusiastic students and teachers; the atmosphere is welcoming assuming you accept that a specific political party best represents a multinational and diverse student body. The place is full of resources and opportunities of various types if you know where to look (but you'll be spammed with ones you aren't interested in, so it isn't always easy to find them). If you just take it for granted that everybody has their moments of boneheadedness, you're good to go.As I mentioned earlier, the school is growing quickly. If you're in one of the expanding departments, you'll probably be fine, for the obvious reason that that's where the attention is being diverted. If you're the right kind of person (think tolerant and satisfied with a basic education; or hyper-ambitious TV star), you'll mesh well with the university. If on the other hand you're the kind who's inquisitive and holds high expectations for yourself, you'll quickly find yourself frustrated by a cloying wall of interpersonal politics.
(2) Received fairly prestigious fellowship. Had to use it to fix broken equipment or buy new equipment.
(3) Classes were easy, people cheat, and I didn't learn anything new...at least not in the amount I was paying.
(4) At one point I had a resident advisor position. Department told me they would give me a TA position. I quit the the RA position to become a TA. They changed their minds after I quit. -_-
(5) After that, another opportunity came up where I'd be able to teach 3 classes (same as a TA), but offered less than a third of the compensation.
(6) The person that took over those classes was then compensated for the TA amount...department was trying to pinch pennies and take advantage of my fellowship even though they didn't give me anything my first year.
(7) GRADUATE students here forget how to convert between degrees Celsius and Kelvin. Shoot me.
(8) Classes are fairly easy, but people cheat and that screws up the curve sometimes. Don't worry about getting anything less than a B for most professor though.
(9) Research here is in a really bad state. No funding unless you're maybe in one of the biochem labs. Students here have to buy their own chemicals.
(10) There's more, but I think you get the idea...DO NOT GO HERE. LEARN FROM ME, PLEASE. It is better to find a job as a technician than do go here and have your money sucked away from you.
I have to say wholeheartedly that the Volgeneau School of Engineering at GMU has TRIED to concoct a challenging graduate Statistics program -- and has FAILED MISERABLY! The professors are unhelpful to an extreme. In my honest opinion, I have had only two of six professors there, who should EVER be allowed in a classroom. The vast majority are a detriment to society, much less to a learning environment.
Students in my program, for the most part, agree that we have all spent huge sums of money to be disheartened and made to feel stupid at every opportunity. The vast majority of us are talented and hard-working, with strong mathematical and engineering backgrounds, and should be easy to teach. The fact that the vast majority of us ALSO can spend 15 weeks in a class, and have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what we might have learned -- is a huge red flag.Avoid this MS in Statistics program AT ALL COSTS!
With a few exceptions, the faculty won't listen to the students - many of them have an attitude that they can't be bothered. Some of them don't seem very happy to be there. When there's some sort of problem, students get blamed for it somehow and get put on blast in an email sent to the entire student body. The program teaches students about empowering people to advocate for themselves, but when students try to actually do that, they get shut down. The way the department is run seems to vacillate between treating students like they're children, and treating them like they're on their own and need to find their own way. So the students have low morale.
The field education program is seriously jacked up - heard too many horror stories to count, and know someone who quit the program over it. The position of Field Director seems to be a revolving door. The "part-time" program really is only part-time for two years - you'll be going full-time your last year, and if you take issue with that, they'll suggest you quit your job and go into debt with student loans (in this economy, yeah right - some can't afford to quit their jobs) to go full-time. What kind of faculty person actually encourages a student to go into debt? So make sure you know up front, if you really want to go to school "part-time," it's only part-time the first two years.
Adjuncts seem to teach more classes than on-campus faculty, and in one instance, an adjunct (by her own admission) wasn't even qualified to teach the subject matter she was teaching. The amenities are lacking - cramped up offices for classrooms with no real student lounge. It feels like they converted a hallway broom closet for the student 'lounge.' The only up side is since the classes are held off-campus in an office building, the parking is free. VCU just started an Online MSW program. If you're thinking of an MSW in Northern VA, can't afford the private schools with Howard or Catholic, and don't want to pay the out of state tuition for MD - and can't decide between VCU (which is ranked #11 in US News & World Report) and George Mason, please, PLEASE consider VCU. They have the ranking, the reputation, the faculty and the resources. Mason doesn't. Graduate education is an investment of time and money, and for the effort you put into it, a degree from VCU would carry more weight and respect. Mason is killing their reputation through how they treat their students, and I don't think they care.
The academic program in my field of study is nationally recognized (School Of Information, Technology, and Engineering) and provided ample opportunities for research and application of concepts learned in my professional career.
Because Mason is a relatively young school - the campus has been quickly developing into a comprehensive community with new and technologically advanced facilities, enhanced student housing, and a multitude of activities on Campus and in near-by Old Towne Fairfax. I would definitely recommend GMU to a rising high-school senior.
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