International Students

International students must maintain their visa “in status” while they are enrolled in the DFOR program at George Mason University.  The term “in status” means complying with the regulations governing your visa status.  Maintaining status is each student’s  responsibility. Carefully look at immigration documents and know what they represent and when they expire.

If a student moves, he/she must report his/her change of address to the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) and to the Office of the Registrar by accessing the Patriot Web:  Enter the local U.S. mailing address as “local” address. Without a local address, time-sensitive materials from Mason will be mailed to the student’s foreign address, creating inconvenience for everyone. It is also important to update Foreign Permanent Addresses. This can only be changed by OIPS.

F-1 students who plan to change programs or/and schools must complete the transfer process in 15 days.
The web site of the OIPS has lots of useful information about staying in the United States as a student.


The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) provides guidance to international students and scholars studying and working at George Mason University in immigration, employment and taxation, assists with adjustment issues, and fosters cross-cultural understanding through programs highlighting global themes.  OIPS oversees all visa issues for international students.  From admissions to graduation of the DFOR program and beyond (because of OPT and CPT programs), an international student will receive instructions and guidance from OIPS.  Please make sure to be familiar the OIPS process.  It is very important for your stay in the United States.

The University strongly encourages all F-1 and J-1 students to follow pre-COVID enrollment rules described under the OIPS webpage


Because the DFOR program is a graduate program, students are required to take and complete a full-time course load as follows:

  • Graduate students: 9 credits (graduate level) per semester
  • Graduate students with 20-hour per week internships/assistantships: 6 credits (graduate level) per semester

If a student changes his/her program or address, it must be reported to OIPS immediately so your I-20 can be updated. Students who plan to travel outside of the United States must bring their I-20s or DS-2019 form to OIPS for endorsement.  Please read more detailed information on the OIPS website.

Work Information

As a graduate program, DFOR program offers some GTA positions each semester; however, these positions are extremely competitive. First semester students generally will not get these positions. If students are unable to find a GTA or GRA (research) positions, there are many employment opportunities on campus for which you can apply.  Students should apply for these positions before the semester starts. And you may need to seek guidance from OIPS and the Career Services if you are offered such a position to make sure it does not conflict with your visa status.

DFOR office also routinely broadcasts job opportunities via e-mail to all current DFOR students. However, the DFOR program does not involve or endorse any specific announcement.