George Mason offers an academic environment well tailored toward jobs. Quite a few departments offer the option of internships & co-op opportunities for academic credit. This allows students to gain work experience and complete their degrees simultaneously. Also, this school offers the Conflict Resolution major so far is the only school to offer it. The most popular majors at George Mason are Communications, Business, psychology, and government. The academic opportunities here truly succeeds at preparing students for life after Mason. Still, the school offers plenty of intellectual opportunities. There are several Islamic studies, Vision series, humanities and other kinds of lectures offered throughout the year. I attended 8 to 10 lectures during freshman year, and I attended 2 of them during sophomore year Fall 2011. Then the Fall for the Book festivals run every year. I especially enjoyed the 2011 one, because I got to speak with a famous scholar and meet Stephen King for free. It never costs anything for students to attend events, except for the concerts. I enjoy these events, as I get to see what scholars in academic fields are studying. I'm a Communications and History double major. I have the advantage of a large department, which allows me the flexibility of completing major requirements. Also, I like how the Communications department now offers several online classes a semester. This allows students to test out those classes and see how they enjoy it. Also, the synthesis classes and internship sections are offered during the summer as well. The history department offers a fairly lenient class load, so the 300-400 level classes aren't too different from each other except the synthesis classes. Overall, the academics aren't overtly intellectual, though these opportunities remain available. Students engage in political discussions involving presidential candidates, government, and elections. Most the academic learning happens at career events, internship and campus job opportunities, and political events. Certainly, this school proves most the learning occurs outside the classroom.
I'm now at the end of my first semester of my sophomore year at GMU, and overall can say that I've been very impressed with my professors. I recently declared as a Communication major with a minor in Electronic Journalism. A couple of my general education classes were large classrooms with upwards of 100 students, but most of my classes are more in the range of 20-50. Even in the large classrooms, I've never had trouble contacting a professor or TA with questions or help. This semester, every single one of my professors knows my name, and those in my major have encouraged me to stay in touch so they can advise me throughout the rest of my time at school. The intensity of the workload and difficulty of classes at Mason doesn't seem too strenuous, though everyone works at their own pace and work varies from major to major. In my major, and as far as I know, across the school, a huge emphasis is placed on finding a career after graduating. I'm enrolled in a new class next semester that grants class credit for working an internship over the course of the semester. Professors often bring in guest speakers and encourage students to network and start getting our foot in the door now, to ensure a job as soon as we have a degree, or even before.
I am a part of a major that includes roughly only 100 students per class, there for I know each of my professors. My favorite class is probalyl my community health nursing class because the instructor is so entertaining and engaging you never want to miss a class. My least favorite would probalyl be a leadership class because it is unusually challenging. The concepts seem so easy to grasp, but when it comes to the examinations, I never seem to get the results I want. The students in my program are very competitive and I feel I always have to be on my game and study as much as I can. (My competitive side is released because of swimming) The most unique class I have taken is probally my clinical rotations because I am hands on learning 12 hours every week and getting exposed to some very random things. The nursing corse load is demanding, and requires a lot of time, however will be worth it becuase nursing is a very marketable career and health care is a place where jobs will always be needed.
Depending on the class size, some professors will know your name. My western civilization professor knew all of our names in a class of about 40 students which I thought was incredible. I don't think I could do that! And obviously the professors of your larger classes won't know everyone's name. But if you take initiative and speak with a professor during office hours occassionally, they'll get to know your name. My favorite class so far has been my English 101 class. We got to write a lot and the topics were our choice. We were able to argue for a topic that we stood for and it was definitely easier to write about then a lot of topics I have been given in the past. George Mason definitely challenges it's students and gets them ready for the "real world". It's great that they have a career center, with people who are always more than willing to help you find your path.
I have largely had a great experience with my classes at George Mason. My class sizes are small which makes my professors very accessible. Because of this, my GPA is very high and I feel that it has allowed for a much greater educational experience. You will experience larger classes when completing general requirements, but once you begin classes in your major the student-teacher ratio is much better. I can honestly say that I have had a very positive relationship with all of my professors, several of whom I know I can count on for recommendations in the future. I wasn't simply a number, but a student that my teachers knew and talked to regularly. My academic experience here has probably been the high point of my experience at this school. I definitely feel prepared to go out into the workforce following graduation because of my preparation here.
I think the academics here are pretty good once you get into the upper level classes. A lot of professors are really good, but when they terach 100 level classes they kind of B.S. it because its not what they're really interested in. In my upper level classes I've had a lot of great teachers, all who know my name and work with me on an individual basis if I need it. Most of them are always more than willing to help you out if you need. We also have a lot of really interesting classes, like Cyber punk, Queer Studies and Female Genital Cutting, for example. Some stuff is geared toward getting a job and managing in your field, but alot of it is learning just to know more. I'm an art major and everyone is really close in the art department, we all call our professors by their first name and they all will discuss work with you and joke around.
The great majority of my professors are knowledgeable in their subject area, and they do their best to help us suceed. The students are competitive because classes are challenging, and you need to spend time doing homework and preparing for the exams. Class participation is common in most classes because it helps students to better understand the material. My major is Accounting, which is a part of the School of Management. The curriculum before you declare a major is rigorous, but the classes help you build a foundation that will help you advance in your major. The education this school provides equips you with knowledge, which in turn helps you get a job.
My favorite class might have been English 334 with professor Lathbury. It was a ton of work, but I don't think I've ever learned so much in the semester I took that class. Most of the classes require some amount of studying, it is college. Select Mason students can have really amazing conversations, it's all about who you know. The Communication's Department is growing and could be better. The more staff that joins, the more unique classes become available making it a more enjoyable experience. The PR department is geared towards getting a job. The English department is geared towards bettering yourself as a person. Both are useful.
My favorite class was my abnormal psych class. That class was very informative and was made a lot of fun by the professor. GMU students, like many others I'm sure, do have intellectual conversations outside of class. There is almost always something going on on Mason's campus that is mind boggling/stimulating. Some of the gen eds I feel students should not have to take because they do not pertain to the major. However, I agree with the gen eds in the sense that they help students 'know a little about a lot'. Once you get more into your core courses, I feel that the learning becomes more geared toward a job.
Yes, they know my name. My religion teacher makes learning fun. Im sure students study often. Yes, there is a lot of discussion and also lecture in class for participation. I don't spend time with professors. I think the requirements are fair. Whether getting a job directly or just learning i think that depends on the students intention because it may be easier in getting a job in some fields of study than others and the student must figure out how to apply their major to a job field that may not necessarily immediately resemble the major, such as an english major trying to go into science.