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James Madison University


While James Madison University is coeducational today, it originally opened as a college for women. Founded as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1908, it offered female students the chance to take a wide range of courses that would better help them in the future. Among its more popular programs was one designed for future teachers. That program grew so large that the school eventually became a normal school that offered teaching certificates. Following the end of World War II, the school opened its doors to the male soldiers returning from overseas. Though men were only allowed in certain programs, this didn’t last long. As its total population grew, the university went fully coeducational and added its own graduate school. There are now more than 20,000 students taking classes at James Madison University.

Of all the departments on campus, few have the reputation that the business department has. BusinessWeek named it one of the top business programs in the state and in the nation. U.S. News & World Report picked its graduate school as one of the top in the south for more than 15 years. The university also gets recognition for its low cost. The Princeton Review named it a good value, and Money Magazine said it offered one of the best tuition rates for residents in the country.

James Madison University Accreditation Details

James Madison University has both specialized and regional accreditation. Regional accreditation typically comes from the regional branch of a national organization and is the type of accreditation necessary for obtaining financial aid. The regional accreditation that JMU has comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Specialized accreditation, which some call program accreditation, applies to specific programs offered by the university. For example, the Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation accredits the social work program offered by JMU. James Madison University also has accreditation from the following groups:

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.
  • Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • American Psychological Association
  • National Association of Schools of Dance
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

James Madison University Application Requirements

James Madison University looks for students who took higher level courses in high school, including those enrolled in honors programs and those who took advanced placement classes. Students will also need to take a series of classes designed for those entering high school. This includes four years of English, social sciences and math. They should also take three years of a life or laboratory science and a foreign language. JMU recommends that students have a higher grade point average of a 3.0 or higher. All students must submit transcripts that verify their grades and courses. Those applying will also need to take the SAT or ACT and request that the testing board mail a digital or electronic copy of their scores to the university.

The online application used by James Madison University includes a section for extracurricular activities. As the university looks for well rounded students, it’s important that students include all positions they held, sports they played, clubs they joined and any internships or volunteer work they did. JMU suggests that those who have some flaws on their transcripts complete some optional steps too. They can send in a secondary school report signed by a guidance counselor, mail a letter of recommendation and/or write a 500 word personal statement.

Tuition and Fees

Virginia residents and those from outside of Virginia pay different tuition rates. Residents of the state pay a little over $5,000 per semester for a full course load of 12 credit hours or more. Students from outside of the state pay $12,600 for the same number of courses. JMU estimates the cost of room and board at around $4,500 a semester, but students must also pay a small fee for using the Internet on campus. Other miscellaneous fees and expenses add to this figure. JMU requires that all students pay a small deposit after gaining acceptance, which ensures that the school has a spot for them in the fall.

When students complete the FAFSA, they may qualify for one of four different types of government loans. Undergraduate direct loans go directly to the university, which applies the loan to the amount the student owes. PLUS direct loans are loans designed for the parents of college students. Graduate students can borrow money in the form of a direct loan or an unsubsidized student loan. James Madison University also offers grants to qualified students and has some scholarships available. Students can also apply for jobs working on the JMU campus during the regular school year or the summer session.

Student Experience

James Madison University offers more than 40 majors for undergraduate students and a number of minors too. Its Independent Scholars program is fairly unique because it allows students to choose their own majors and take courses built around that major. Instead of majoring in the same subject that hundreds of others do, they can pick a more unique topic. They work with advisers to ensure that they meet all the general education requirements, but they also spend some time working in the field of their choosing and doing fieldwork or independent research. The university also offers a degree in recreation and sport management that is perfect for those who want to work with athletes. Students in this program can do internships working for the Baltimore Oriels, Professional Golf Association and other professional organizations.

The Athletic Training program is popular with those who want to work hands on with athletes. Students enrolled in this program learn how to help the body heal from injuries, the importance of fitness and how physical therapy techniques can help players. Athletic training students spend a few hours every week working with real patients in their later years. James Madison University believes highly in the importance of independent learning and fieldwork across all majors and programs.