Jun 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Admission to Graduate Programs

Mailing Address:
The Graduate School
James Madison University
MSC 6702
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Physical Address:
Holland Yates Hall, Room 4050
100 E. Grace Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

E-mail: grad@jmu.edu
Phone: 540-568-6131

General Admissions

This policy describes the requirements for general admission to The Graduate School. All applicants to individual graduate certificate or degree programs at JMU must first satisfy the general application requirements of The Graduate School (TGS). These are:

  • Graduation from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Grades that demonstrate preparation and predict graduate-school success
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended.

Note: Students may not substitute experiential learning for required academic credit.

Acceptable Regional Accrediting Agencies for Colleges and Universities

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

The Graduate School also considers candidates with degrees from colleges and universities that have been accredited by other organizations including international accreditation agencies.

An application is not considered complete until all required credentials and supporting documents have been received by The Graduate School. Prospective students must submit their applications and upload transcripts from each institution listed and any supplemental materials required by the program. Unofficial documents may be considered for admission; however, The Graduate School may require matriculated students to submit official documents as a condition of continued enrollment.

In accordance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges guidelines, graduate programs must establish both qualitative and quantitative requirements that result in the admission of students whose educational preparation indicates the potential for a high level of performance. Admission procedures may include the requirement that an applicant submit, as part of the formal application process, evaluations by professionals in the field as to the readiness of an applicant for graduate work, and, if appropriate, credential evaluations and/or tests of English-language proficiency. Standardized tests may be required by the faculty responsible for admission to a graduate program. For specific requirements, contact the program directly or see the application requirements web page that is maintained by The Graduate School for each program.

English Language Proficiency for Graduate School Applicants

Graduate applicants who are non-native speakers of English must demonstrate English language proficiency. English-language proficiency is evaluated by individual graduate programs based on the information provided by the candidate. The level of proficiency required for admission must meet university standards and may vary by program.

Candidates demonstrate English proficiency using one of these options:

1. Provide a transcript of an earned bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or an accredited college or university outside the U.S. at which English is recognized as the official language of instruction.

2. Submit satisfactory English language proficiency test scores. These scores are typically acceptable:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT total score of 80 or above
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall band score of 6.5 or above
  • Duolingo total score 105 or above

3. Successfully complete English language preparation programs for graduate school offered by one of the following:

  • Study Group - an English language preparatory program offered at the undergraduate level.
  • Summer Intensive program
  • Eastern Mennonite University’s Intensive English Program
  • ELS

Candidates who can demonstrate English-language proficiency in an extraordinary way can be considered for exceptions on a case by case basis.

JMU must receive all scores and documents confirming completion of programs directly from the testing service.

Offers of Admission

Graduate Program Directors (supported by their faculty or admission committees) submit admission recommendations to the Graduate School. When making admission recommendations, Program Directors are responsible for assuring that students are qualified for admission to the programs to which they have applied. Students must not be admitted to a program with an expectation that they will be transferred to another program at a later date.

The Graduate School will send official offers of admission to applicants who have been accepted. This letter specifies the effective date of admission (which normally coincides with the semester requested on the application), and the classification of admission being offered (unconditional, conditional, or provisional). Any conditions that must be met for unconditional admission, and any conditions that must be met for continued enrollment will be stated in the offer. The official offer also specifies the initial domicile determination (in-state or out-of-state) that will be used to determine tuition rate. Some programs specify dates by which notice of accepting or declining an offer of admission are due and these dates will be indicated in the offer of admission.

Once admitted, all candidates must log into the Activity Page in CollegeNET and either accept or decline the offer of admissions at least two weeks prior to the start date of the semester in which the candidate has been admitted unless another specific deadline is indicated in the offer of admission. A student who enrolls at another institution is considered to have declined the university’s offer of admission. An applicant who has received an offer of admission but who does not respond is considered to have declined the university’s offer of admission and must submit a new application and fee to be reconsidered for admission at a later date.


For new students enrolling in the Business Administration: all three concentrations (M.B.A.), Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S.), Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.), Political Science: European Union Policy Studies Concentration (M.A.), Education: Spanish Language and Culture for Educators Concentration (M.Ed.), or Integrated Science and Technology: Environmental Management and Sustainability Concentration (M.S.) an enrollment deposit is required to confirm their acceptance of the offer of admission

Admission to Multiple Programs

Students can only be enrolled in one graduate program at a time. Prospective students can apply and be accepted into more than one graduate program but may only accept the offer and enroll in one graduate program at a time.

Deferral of Admission

After being accepted into a graduate program, students can defer enrollment only with the written approval of the graduate program director of their academic program and the Director of Graduate admissions. Under no circumstances may the deferral be for more than one calendar year.

Admissions Classifications

Applicants may be admitted to The Graduate School under three classifications: unconditional, conditional or provisional admission.

  • Unconditional Admission: Unconditional admission indicates that an applicant has met all the entry criteria of The Graduate School and the specific graduate program.
  • Conditional Admission: Conditional admission indicates that an applicant has met all the entry criteria of The Graduate School, but the graduate program or graduate school has identified specific conditions that must be met before the applicant attains unconditional admission status.  Individual graduate programs determine the provisions of a conditional acceptance and decide when the provisions are satisfied, modified or removed. It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her adviser when the conditions of admission have been met. The adviser or graduate program director then contacts The Graduate School indicating the change of status. Students are encouraged to attain unconditional status as soon as possible. All students must attain unconditional status prior to degree conferral.
  • Provisional Admission: Provisional admission indicates a probationary status; applicants who have not met all of the requirements of the graduate program to which they are applying may be provisionally admitted. Provisionally-admitted students should have the removal of provisional conditions as their initial objective.

An applicant may be admitted to a graduate program under provisional status if:

  • the previous academic record is weak,
  • prerequisite course work is insufficient,
  • the applicant has majored in another field and has not yet clearly demonstrated abilities in the proposed new field, or
  • there are other issues of concern to the program

The requirements for advancement to unconditional status are specified in each applicant’s provisional admission letter. It is the student’s responsibility to notify their adviser when the conditions of acceptance have been met. The adviser or graduate program director then contacts The Graduate School indicating the change of status.

The Graduate School determines if graduate credit earned while enrolled in a provisional status is acceptable based on the recommendation of the program director. A provisionally-admitted student may not complete more than nine credit hours of graduate coursework credit in this status. Regulations concerning unsatisfactory progress apply to this classification.

Appeal of Admission Decision

Although the official letter indicating an applicant’s admission classification or denial of admission into a program emanates from The Graduate School, all admission decisions, including the denial of admission to a program, are made by the reviewing faculty of the program to which the student applies. As such, any appeal of an admission decision, including denial of admission, must be directed to the individual graduate program.

Admission of Veterans

The Graduate School encourages veterans to apply for admission as full- or part-time students.

JMU does not determine eligibility for federal veterans’ education benefits. Apply through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website will guide students through the process, and the VA will notify JMU of veterans’ eligibility. The Registrar’s Office processes the claims and other paperwork required so students receive payments on time.

To receive a fee waiver, honorably discharged members of the U.S. armed forces may submit a completed Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form and submit a copy of their Leave Earning Statement (LES) or DD214.

For information regarding veterans’ education benefits contact:

Veterans Coordinator
Office of the Registrar, MSC 3528
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
(540) 568-4769

Criminal Background Check

Selected graduate programs may require student placements at facilities that require a criminal background check.  Applicants should consult the program to which they are applying for details about required background checks. Students are responsible for any fees associated with background checks.

Change of Program

Admission to TGS and a graduate program does not entitle a student to transfer to another graduate program.

Any student wishing to change graduate programs must submit a new application for admission (indicating “Change of Program”), application fee and any updated standardized test scores or transcripts (if required for admission to the new program). The student is responsible for meeting all academic requirements for admission to the desired program.

The student will be notified by the Graduate School if the change of program request has been accepted or denied. Requests may contain conditions and other requirements ordinarily included in admission offers.

General Application Procedures

Prospective students must submit their application to either a graduate certificate or degree program online through The Graduate School website. For details, refer to http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective. Upon successful submission of an application, the applicant will receive an electronic response confirming receipt of the online application, as well as instructions on how to track the status of their application. Once the application has been reviewed by the program to which the prospective student has applied, the program will submit a recommendation to The Graduate School. Applicants will be able to view their admission decision within their Activity Page. Students who need a paper format due to a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services to determine their eligibility for accommodations in the application process.

Applicants who want to apply for admission to more than one graduate certificate or degree program must submit a separate application for each program.

Information regarding financial aid may be accessed online at http://www.jmu.edu/finaid. Class schedules are available to matriculated students at https://mymadison.jmu.edu.

Submission of Materials for Application

The following information must be submitted online:

  • Official graduate application
  • $60 nonrefundable fee
  • Transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate course work and degree confirmations should be submitted with the electronic application in the space provided, which will be used by the department for consideration for admission. Accurate but unofficial transcripts are acceptable for review purposes. Do not have official transcripts sent to The Graduate School unless notified to do so by The Graduate School.
  • The official standardized tests scores (GRE, GMAT, etc.) sent directly from the testing center (if applicable —see www.jmu.edu/grad/programs/all-programs/index-requirements.shtml for requirements). The JMU graduate institution code is 5392 (1043 for CSDCAS applicants; 7442 for Physician Assistant applicants).
  • Letters of Recommendation (if applicable)
  • Program specific requirements (if applicable)

Graduate applications will not be processed without application fees. Payment must be made online using Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. The application fee may also be paid by electronic check, but it may take seven to ten business days to clear, which will delay the review of application.

Application Fees and Fee Waivers

All applicants to James Madison University are required to pay a non-refundable application fee to be considered for admission.

Eligibility Requirements for Admissions Application Fee Waivers

Certain applicants may qualify for an application fee waiver. Email grad@jmu.edu for the Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form or go to our website at http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective/application-fee-waivers.shtml. Additional documentation is required as shown below.

Fee Waiver Types

McNair Scholars

McNair Scholars are eligible for a fee waiver. Email grad@jmu.edu to request the Certification of McNair Program Participation Form and let us know you are a McNair Scholar seeking a fee waiver. You will receive instructions by email.

Senior Citizens Higher Education Act of 1974

Eligible Virginia residents who have been a legal resident of the State of Virginia for one year prior to the term for which enrollment is sought, 60 years or older with a taxable income of less than $23,850 may qualify for an application waiver. Email grad@jmu.edu and request the Senior Citizen Higher Education Act Waiver Form.


Honorably discharged members of the U.S. armed forces: Please submit a completed Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form and submit a copy of your Leave Earning Statement (LES) or DD214.


JMU applicants seeking a need-based application fee waiver should provide a GRE Fee Reduction Certificate. Non-JMU applicants seeking a need-based fee waiver should provide a FAFSA sent from a representative at the institution where the applicant is currently enrolled as a student, which indicates an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 toward tuition for the current academic year.

When applying online and claiming one of these application fee waivers, your application will not be processed unless the Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver Form is completed and submitted with all required documentation prior to the application deadline.

Submission of Materials for After Admission

The following information must be sent to The Graduate School once the student is accepted:

Official transcripts sent directly from all previously attended institutions of all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework and degree confirmations. Official transcripts may be mailed or sent electronically through Parchment or eSCRIP-SAFE® global electronic transcript delivery network. For graduates of James Madison University after 1996, only transcripts for post-baccalaureate course work taken elsewhere need to be sent.

Application Deadlines

Refer to specific academic programs for details.

International Student Applications


JMU encourages applications for graduate study from qualified international students. Applicants should be aware that student visas cannot be issued for programs that are exclusively online. Applicants should check with their program’s requirements page before submitting an application.

To assure that the university qualifies with the U.S. government as an educational institution serving international students, certain criteria must be met. Because academic programs vary among countries, student who complete degree programs outside of the United States must document all courses completed to earn their degree. Applicants are permitted to submit unofficial documentation of their prior course work during the initial admission review. However, applicants should consider that your admission review is based on the materials that you provide to us, and you are more likely to be admitted when you provide us information that allows us to be confident about your prior experiences. So please consider:

  • The best information you can send us is a course-by-course credential evaluation from a NACES member agency.
  • If the curriculum for your degree is similar to programs offered in the United States, then a copy of university document that shows the courses you have taken and your grades will be acceptable if this document is in English.

If your course-by-course record is not in English, we will accept an unofficial English translation. Please send a copy of your course record in the official university language and also an English language translation. List the courses you have taken and the grades you have earned. Keep in mind that while we will accept this form of documentation, this may not be considered strong evidence of prior academic work by some program admission committees. Admission committees have the right to not accept a candidate because they do not have sufficient evident of preparation for graduate school which includes their prior course history.

As described above, transcripts from universities in the United States and official course-by-course credential evaluations for universities outside of the Unites States are considered the best documentation of prior academic work. We advise applicants to submit the best documentation available, given their circumstances.

Admitted students who are accepted based on unofficial documentation, and students who completed credential evaluations prior to the completion of their degree will be required to submit official documentation indicating degree conferred and date of conferral by the end of their first semester of enrollment.

Initial inquiries for international admissions must be directed to The Graduate School. Applicants residing outside the United States are encouraged to allow 12 months between application for admission and the requested enrollment semester.

In addition to the general application requirements of The Graduate School, international applicants applying for admission to a graduate program must:

  • Have the necessary ability and educational background to benefit from experiences in this institution. Graduate programs at JMU invite high levels of student engagement through class discussions, collaborative projects and interpersonal contact with professors and peers. The ability to communicate proficiently in the English language is vital to a student’s participation and success in the graduate program. Graduate applicants who are non-native speakers of English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Candidates usually demonstrate English proficiency with any of the following options:
  • Provide a transcript of an earned bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or an accredited college or university outside the U.S. at which English is recognized as the primary language of instruction.
  • Demonstrate satisfactory English language proficiency. (See above for details.)
  • Have all funds necessary for expenses during the entire period of the student’s stay without resorting to employment while in the United States. If you are admitted into a program and are on an F-1 or J-1 visa you will receive an email from Center for Global Engagement-Office of International Student and Scholar Services (CGE-ISSS) with instructions for submitting a Financial Declaration along with your proof of funds. International students are permitted to apply for graduate assistantships. 
  • If the applicant is currently in the U.S. on a student (F-1 or J-1) visa and wishes to transfer his or her visa to JMU, complete an International Student Adviser’s Report form.
  • Enter the United States on a valid student or other visa.

International students requiring English language preparation should refer to the website for more details.

For further information regarding international student applications, contact:

International Graduate Admissions
James Madison University
The Graduate School, MSC 6702
100 E. Grace Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Requests for information concerning federal regulations, visa and health insurance should be directed to:

Director, Center for Global Engagement Office of International Student and Scholar Services (CGE-ISSS)
James Madison University
MSC 5731
Harrisonburg, VA 22807