2023 Dean's Challenge Award - Seeking Applications

The Dean's Challenge was established in 2007 to acknowledge exceptional undergraduate and graduate students who have excelled while making academically challenging choices. 

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences seeks applications for the Dean’s Challenge Scholarships for 2023. The recipients of this award receive a stipend, funded by generous donations from friends of the college, to help with their educational expenses.

Graduate Students

The 2023 Graduate Dean's Challenge Award will recognize exceptional students not only in their superior academic achievement but also in their inspirational civic and community engagement.  Applicants must have demonstrated academic excellence, a commitment to education as a powerful tool for social change, and recognized commitment to leadership and community engagement. 

One $3,000 award for master's students (MA/MS/MFA/MPS) and one $6,000 award for doctoral students will be granted.  

Previous award winners can be found at CHSS | Dean's Challenge Scholarship.

Award recipients will be announced in early May 2023 and profiled on the CHSS website. The complete application must be submitted before 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2023, via this link: 2023 Graduate Dean's Challenge Application Form

In order to access the application, students will need to click on the link and then sign in with their Mason email/PatriotWeb credentials to access the form. This allows each student to only submit once and ensures that their name is attached to each part of their application. Also, for your convenience, please find the eligibility and application requirements below. 


  • Master’s applicants: must have at least 18 earned credit hours of coursework at George Mason by the date of application; May 2023 graduates are eligible. 
  • Doctoral applicants: must have advanced to candidacy and be enrolled in the current graduate degree program at George Mason during the fall 2023 semester (May 2023 doctoral graduates are not eligible)
  • All applicants must be actively enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in Spring 2023. 
  • Applicants must have a minimum cumulative 3.7 GPA.  
  • Applicants should have an exceptional record of intellectual engagement in the discipline and a record of leadership within the campus, community, and the profession.   

The application should consist of: 

  1. A cover sheet with identifying information, including anticipated graduation date, degree program, and faculty mentor/reference.
  2. A single essay (no more than 3 single-spaced pages in total), addressing the following question: How have you used your graduate education to positively affect the community around you—to respond to complex challenges that face society and to engage, sustain, and transform others? 
  3. A letter of reference from a faculty member.
  4. A résumé or c.v., including descriptions and dates of employment, extracurricular activities, volunteer activities, and any other academically relevant experiences.
  5. A current copy of the student’s unofficial George Mason transcript 

Questions? Please contact Cris Berry (cberry27@gmu.edu).

Undergraduate Students

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences seeks nominations for the Deans Challenge Scholarships for 2023. The Dean's Challenge Scholarship is awarded to recognize consistently superior achievement and to encourage the continued pursuit of excellence. Undergraduate nominees must have demonstrated academic excellence while making challenging academic choices at Mason.

Please apply here: https://www.gmu.edu/financial-aid/types-aid/scholarships/mason-scholarships

Questions? Please contact Nikki Jerome Ouellette (njerome@gmu.edu).