A-to-Z Index

About The Graduate School

Brief History


It is the mission of The Graduate School to support, facilitate and promote excellence in lifelong education through graduate programs of distinction, innovative outreach programs, and a diverse student body.

The Graduate School is committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who will lead productive and meaningful lives. The mission addresses the first three defining characteristics of the university in that, as a unit, it will:

  • strategically select innovative and new academic programs for development and implementation,
  • serve primarily full-time students but will increase programs that fulfill non-degree and competency certification requirements as a complement to the traditional academic programs and bachelor's degrees, and
  • offer graduate programs of distinction. Further, the college holds an integral place in three of JMU President Dr. Linwood Rose's six strategic initiatives to be accomplished by 2008: to offer a richer educational experience for our students by establishing a critical mass of underrepresented populations among the faculty, staff and students; to attain base adequacy and diversify the university's revenue profile; and establish six to eight graduate programs that are recognized as nationally prominent.


    Founded in 1908 and located in the center of Virginia's famous Shenandoah Valley, James Madison University is a public, comprehensive university. The university offers programs at the bachelor's, master's, educational specialist and doctoral levels. Student enrollment includes approximately 15,000 undergraduates, 1,000 graduate students, and 700 non-degree seeking students, most of whom are enrolled in graduate level courses. The name of the institution has changed several times over the years from the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1908 to: State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg (1914), State Teachers College at Harrisonburg (1924), Madison College (1938), and then to James Madison University in 1977. The JMU Graduate School was established in 1954 when the State Board of Education authorized the university to offer programs leading to the Master of Science in Education degree. In October 2001, the Graduate School and the Office of Continuing Education joined to form the College of Graduate and Professional Programs. In April 2006, the college was renamed the College of Graduate and Outreach Programs to reflect the university's increased focus on innovative outreach efforts. In November 2007, the College's division of Outreach Programs moved under Research and Public Service, and The Graduate School of James Madison University resumed as its own entity.



    Founded: JMU was established in 1908. The Graduate School was established in 1954
    Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Size: 56 Academic/Administrative buildings, 14 Support Facilities, 32 Student Housing Facilities on 655 acres
    Accreditation: James Madison University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's, master's, educational specialist and doctoral degrees. In addition, a number of the individual university departments, degree programs and service functions are accredited by appropriate professional organizations.


    Graduate Enrollment
    Graduate Degree-Seeking Students (Fall 2007): 1266
    Graduate Non-Degree-Seeking Students (Fall 2007): 238
    Total Graduate Enrollment (Fall 2007): 1504
    Full-Time: 57%
    Part-Time: 43%
    In-State: 77%
    Out-of-State: 23%
    Female: 65%
    Male: 35%

    Graduate Enrollment by Ethnicity
    Caucasian: 88%
    African American: 3%
    Asian American: 3%
    Hispanic: 1%
    Non-resident Aliens: 3%

    Graduate Applicant Details
    Applications (2007-08): 1684
    Accepted (2007-08): 979 or 58%
    Enrolled (2007-08): 70% of accepted students

    Number of students assisted through assistantship funding (2007-08): 433

    Degree/Certificate Programs Offered
    Master's: 34
    Educational Specialist: 3
    Doctoral: 5
    Graduate Certificates: 8

    Degrees Awarded (2007-08)
    Master's: 601
    EDS: 25
    Doctoral: 13

    Over 11,187 graduates since 1954