Located in the Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg, Virginia, James Madison University was established in 1908 and offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as post-professional certificates in over one hundred majors. The university has a liberal arts core curriculum and believes that success is measured not only in the classroom, but in how people interact with the world around them.
Originally opened as a women’s college, James Madison became a coeducational facility in 1946 and consistently ranks in the top ten colleges with well-known publications. The university offers campus housing and has numerous social and academic clubs for students to participate in. Downtown Harrisonburg is also within a short distance and has many different restaurants, clubs and various activities. Students considering the school should be aware that acceptance into the university is extremely competitive and it is a good idea to apply early.
The university’s motto of “changing the world one person at a time” is more than just a catchphrase. It’s what the students and professors live by. The school accomplishes this by providing society with innovative thinkers who use cutting edge research and an attitude of fellowship to find solutions to the problems of an ever-changing global society. Students that receive an education at JMU will have access to state-of-the-art equipment and knowledgeable professors whose first love is teaching. Whether students are studying on-campus, online, or abroad, the school provides numerous support systems that provide students with the tools necessary to succeed.
The core academic program is called The Human Community. In this program, students will learn how to become better thinkers and appreciate the world around them. They develop the ability to reason and to appreciate the value of history. In short, students experience a diverse range of courses that prepare them to be productive members of the society in which they live.
There are six different colleges of study and over one hundred programs to choose from when deciding on an undergraduate degree. Each college focuses not only on individual areas of study but also on teaching students to think logically and find solutions to the problems that exist within their world.
College of Arts and Letters
The College of Arts and Letters offers several specialized programs and a diverse array of courses developed to encourage lifelong learning by teaching analytical and communication skills that lead to a better understanding of human nature. Some of the schools within the college include English, political science, foreign languages, communication and history. Students may also pursue a pre-law course of study in the The College of Arts and Letters.
College of Business
Students who choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the College of Business may choose from programs that offer training in areas such as accounting, business administration, business law, marketing, finance or hospitality and tourism management. Students matriculating from this college not only learn technical skills required to be successful in their profession but also time management and personal interaction skills that are sure to make them leaders.
College of Education
JMU offers a teaching curriculum that offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from one of six different departments. Three of these departments are targeted at youth education. These include early elementary and reading, exceptional education and middle, secondary and mathematics. Students may also pursue a career in adult education by choosing to become professionals in the field of learning, technology and leadership education which specializes in adult education sectors. Finally, the Military Science program is an ROTC program designed to train tomorrow’s military leaders.
College of Integrated Science and Technology
Students wishing to pursue a career in human service, science or technology fields are sure to find a program of interest from the more than twenty choices offered by the College of Integrated Science and Technology. This college offers undergraduate majors in such fields as psychology, social work, nursing, computer science and dietetics. Students learn both in the classroom and by completing hands-on projects that work to solve real problems facing our society today.
College of Science and Mathematics
The College of Science and Mathematics is led by an award winning faculty and offers state-of-the-art learning facilities that provide students with the opportunity to learn by doing. The faculty firmly believes that giving students the chance to learn in real situations prepares them to be outstanding leaders in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, geology and mathematics.
College of Visual and Performing Arts
The College of Visual and Performing Arts features three different schools in which students may hone their artistic skills and become the artists, dancers and actors of tomorrow. Students may choose to enrich their artistic education by studying in either the School of Art and Art History, the School of Music, or the School of Theatre and Dance. Students get the opportunity throughout the year to exhibit their work and their art via several performances and art shows.
The University offers over fifty graduate programs that gives students the chance to earn a master’s, doctorate or educational specialist degree. Students may choose to pursue their post-baccalaureate studies in such areas as psychology, accounting, art, business administration, computer science or education. Students may participate in these programs either in a traditional classroom setting, in hybrid classes that are a combination of classroom and online studies, or online. Students interested in learning about online learning opportunities should visit the school’s website for a current list of courses and programs available.
Most Popular Fields of Study
James Madison accepts freshman for entrance to the fall term only and offers two different admission phases. The first phase is the Early Entry Plan and is extremely competitive. Students with exemplary grades in challenging classes, high test scores and outstanding extracurricular involvement may apply in this phase. Students not accepted at this time will be reconsidered for regular admission. The deadline for Early Entry applicants is November 1 of the senior year.
The regular decision phase is not as competitive as the Early Entry Plan and the deadline for all application materials to be submitted is January 15 of the student’s senior year. Early Entry students have no advantage over regular entry students; it simply gives students who choose JMU as their first choice of college the opportunity to apply early.
There are six factors utilized to make acceptance decisions. These include academic achievement, extracurricular activities, the quality of high school academics, standardized test scores, the Secondary School Report and an optional personal statement. The most weight is placed on the quality of high school academics; students who excel in advanced core curriculum classes such as English, math, foreign languages, science and social sciences will have a distinct advantage over students who do not have a consistent record of excellence, or did not take honors or advanced placement classes.
The university will only accept school transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation that are official. Everything must be submitted by the school or testing agency directly to the university in order to be considered during the application process.
There are different admission requirements for transfer students than for newly graduated freshman. Where the student is transferring from also makes a difference in the application process. Admission and transfer of credits may be dependent upon whether a student is transferring from a Virginia community college, a non-Virginia community college, a four-year institution or an international institution. Students seeking transfer to JMU should contact the admissions office directly in order to determine admissions requirements and credit transfer eligibility.
Graduate School Admissions
Students seeking admission to any of the graduate programs must have graduated from a regionally accredited college or university with good GRE or GMAT scores and a good undergraduate grade point average. Though individual programs may have additional requirements, all applicants must submit official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions that were attended and request that official GRE or GMAT scores be sent to JMU directly from the test center. Applications and fees must be submitted online unless a disability renders this impossible. In this case, the student may request a paper application from the office of admissions.
The university will not consider application packets ready for review until all supporting documents are submitted, so students should contact the admissions office of the graduate school that they wish to attend in order to receive current application requirements and deadlines.
The graduate school will make a decision within ninety days and notify students of acceptance status. Their offer of admission is good for one year and the school requests that students who are invited to participate in a graduate program submit a written acceptance or rejection of the invitation as soon as possible.
Students may be accepted to a graduate programs under one of three classifications. Students admitted unconditionally may proceed with graduate studies with no additional requirements. This admission indicates that the student had an acceptable undergraduate academic background concentrated in the area of graduate study. Conditionally accepted students are accepted to the graduate program with the understanding that there are additional conditions that must be met. This may include courses that are relevant to the graduate program that were not completed in undergraduate course work. Finally, students may be provisionally accepted. These students enter the graduate program on a probationary basis and must meet further requirements prior to being unconditionally accepted into the graduate school.
Financial Aid is available to both undergraduate and graduate students wishing to attend in the form of scholarships, grants, federally subsidized student loans and work study programs. The first step to applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Financial Aid available online. This form is available in January and should be completed early in order to be eligible for as many forms of aid as possible. Students completing this application will need to have personal and family financial information readily available, as this is what is used to determine family contribution and financial need.
There are need-based and merit-based scholarships available from both public and private sources that may require separate applications and will have specific deadlines for application. Students should contact the financial aid office for more information regarding these scholarships.
Student Financial Aid Details
The Dukes are an NCAA Division I program that plays in the Colonial Athletic Association. Their colors are purple and gold and they offer several different varsity sports for their students to participate in. The university offers men’s and women’s basketball, golf, soccer and tennis. Men may additionally choose to participate in baseball or football while women also have the options of cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, softball, track and field, volleyball and swimming and diving.
Brooke Bright graduated with her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She currently resides with her family in Northern Illinois. When she is not chasing her two sons around you can find her organizing something or reading a mystery novel.