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James Madison University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition

Learn about James Madison University. Read about its admission requirements, financial aid, and degree programs to make an informed education decision.

About James Madison University

Historic Harrisonburg, Virginia, is home to James Madison University (JMU) - a school that, in 2013, was ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report's list of 'Top Regional Public Schools' in the South. This 4-year, public college has grown from a small state school for women to today's coeducational university, offering programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels in arts, business, technology, science, and mathematics. JMU offers an average class size of 29. In 2013, JMU placed #20 nationally in Kiplinger's Personal Finance's list of the top 100 'Best Values in Public Colleges.'


JMU houses a College of Arts and Letters, College of Business, College of Education, College of Health and Behavioral Studies, College of Integrated Science and Engineering, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Visual and Performing Arts, and a graduate school. It offers 71 undergraduate programs, 42 graduate degree programs, and 2 postgraduate certificate programs. In 2012, the speech and communications program was the most popular undergraduate degree program. The general education program graduated the most master's students that year, and the audiology program saw the most doctoral degree completions. JMU also offers study abroad options, including semester programs in London, Beijing, Antwerp, and Florence.


At JMU, prospective students have the option to apply for either early action or regular decision, and application deadlines vary accordingly. The application can be submitted online and requires a high school transcript, ACT or SAT scores, and a $60 application fee. Students also have the option of submitting a personal statement and a letter of recommendation. Some programs, including fine arts and nursing, have their own application requirements. In 2012, nearly 23,000 applications were received, and 63.5% were accepted. That same year, nearly 81% of the student body was Caucasian, 72% were in-state residents, and 60% were female.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Depending on whether a student is an in-state resident or not, total expenses at JMU vary. In 2012-2013, costs ranged from about $22,000-$36,000. This included on-campus housing, tuition, fees, books, and supplies. The school provides several types of financial assistance to help students pay for their education, including work study, federal and state loans, scholarships, and grants. Many options are dependent on academic performance as well as financial need. Some take other factors into consideration, such as military service.

School Type 4-year, public*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; postgraduate certificates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Small city*
Student Body 18,107 undergraduates and 1,820 graduate students in 2012*
Student Housing 34 residence halls**
Schools and Programs 8 schools; 113 undergraduate and graduate programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 16:1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2011-2012: Bachelor's: Speech Communications and Rhetoric (366)
Master's: General Education (265)
Doctorate: Audiology (5)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates (Students Who Began Studies in 2006) 63% in 4 years
80% in 6 years*
Admission Rate 63.5% in 2012**
First-Year Retention Rates 91% for full-time and 100% for part-time students (2011-2012)*
Average SAT Score of Entering Students Average SAT scores: 570 in critical reading, 580 in math in 2012**
Undergraduate Application Due Date November 1 (early action); January 15 (regular decision)**
Decision Notification Date Mid-January (early action); Early April (regular decision)**
Tuition $8,808 for VA residents; $22,796 for non-residents (includes tuition and fees for 2012-2013)*
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Undergraduate Students Receiving It) In 2011-2012: Grant or scholarship aid (30%), Pell grants (14%), federal loans (39%)*
Percent of First-Year Students Receiving Some Sort of Aid 61% in 2011-2012*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **James Madison University website.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Sonner Hall, MSC 0101, 481 Bluestone Drive, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
  • Phone: (540) 568-5681
  • Website:

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