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Admission to Graduate Programs

Admission Requirements

All applicants to individual graduate programs at JMU must first satisfy the general application requirements of The Graduate School. These are:

Students may not substitute experiential learning for required academic credit.

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, unofficial transcripts for each institution listed and supplemental materials online. Applications that are not completed within 90 days of initial receipt will not be processed.

In accordance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges guidelines, graduate programs must have 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 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. Standardized test admission criteria for each graduate program are established by the faculty responsible for instruction in that program. Contact the program directly or see The Graduate School website for specific requirements.

Acceptable Regional Accrediting Agencies for Colleges and Universities

General Application Procedures

Prospective students must submit their applications online through The Graduate School website. For details, refer to http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective. As an applicant, a student will have access to JMU's MyMadison interactive applicant center which allows users to view their application status, read JMU news and announcements, and utilize tutorials and frequently asked questions for applicants. Upon successful submission of an application, the applicant will receive an electronic response confirming receipt of the online application, as well as instructions on activating their JMU electronic identification (eID) as an applicant. Applicants can access the Applicant Center on MyMadison, JMU's student information system, to track the status of applications. Once the application has been reviewed by the program to which the prospective student applied, the program will submit a recommendation to The Graduate School. Applicants will be able to view their admission decision in the Applicant Center. 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.

JMU does not allow students to apply to more than one graduate program per application form. Information regarding financial aid may be accessed online at http://www.jmu.edu/finaid. Class schedules are available online at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar.

Submission of Materials for Application

The following information must be submitted online:

  • Official graduate application
  • $55 nonrefundable fee1
  • 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. 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. The JMU graduate institution code is 5392 (1043 for CSDCAS applicants).
  • Letters of Recommendation (if applicable)
  • Program specific requirements (if applicable)

1 Paper applications require a $65 fee. 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. 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.

Veterans

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.

Need-Based

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 the 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 at http://www.jmu.edu/grad/programs/index.shtml.

International Student Applications

http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective/international/index.shtml

JMU encourages applications for graduate study from qualified international students. To assure that the university qualifies with the U.S. government as an educational institution serving international students, certain criteria must be met.

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.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English sufficient to carry a full program of graduate study through submission of a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). JMU's graduate institutional code is 5392. Examples of acceptable TOEFL scores include 570 on the paper-based version, 88 on the internet-based version and 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  • Have all funds necessary for expenses during the entire period of the student's stay without resorting to employment while in the United States, and complete the Financial Declaration form. International students are permitted to apply for graduate assistantships.
  • Submit a credential evaluation of the academic record to ensure that it is at least comparable to a U.S. baccalaureate degree. External evaluation services are listed online at http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective/international/credential-evaluations.shtml and listed under Credential Evaluation Services.
  • Complete an International Student Adviser's Report form 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.
  • 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. Students who are conditionally admitted to JMU's graduate degree programs must fulfill their English language requirements by completing the highest level of an approved English language training program.

For further information regarding international student applications, contact:

International Graduate Admissions

James Madison University

The Graduate School, MSC 6702

17 West Grace Street

Harrisonburg, VA 22807

(540) 568-5160

grad@jmu.edu

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

Director, Office of International Student and Scholar Services

James Madison University

MSC 5731

Harrisonburg, VA 22807

http://www.jmu.edu/international/isss

Offer of Admission to The Graduate School

Once an applicant’s application has been reviewed by the appropriate program, the program will submit a recommendation to The Graduate School. Applicants will be able to view the admission decision in the Applicant Center of MyMadison. The Graduate School will send official written 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). After being accepted into a graduate program, applicants can then log into the Applicant Center through MyMadison and either accept or decline the offer of admission. Students who want to defer enrollment may do so only with the written approval of the graduate director of their academic program and The Graduate School. Under no circumstances may the deferral be for more than one calendar year.

Some programs specify dates by which notice of accepting or declining an offer of admission is due. These dates will be indicated in the letter of admission. Regardless, all applicants must log into the Applicant Center through MyMadison and either accept or decline the offer of admission at least two weeks prior to the start date of the semester in which they have been admitted, unless another specific deadline is indicated in the letter of admission. This allows the specific program to invite other candidates. 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 has not responded by at least two weeks prior to the start date of the semester 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.

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 the graduate program has identified specific conditions that must be met before the applicant attains unconditional admission status.

Individual graduate programs determine the conditions of a conditional acceptance and decide when the conditions can be modified or removed. It is the student's responsibility to notify his or her 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. While applicants are encouraged to attain unconditional acceptance as soon as possible, some graduate programs' conditions often cannot be completed until just before graduation, e.g., teacher licensure or competency in a foreign language(s). Master's and educational specialist students have a maximum of six years and doctoral students have a maximum of eight years to complete their graduate programs. All students must attain unconditional status prior to program completion.

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 granted admission under a provisional status as prospective candidates for a degree. Such students must have the removal of provisional conditions as a primary 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.

The requirements for advancement to unconditional status are specified in each applicant's provisional admission letter. It is the student's responsibility to notify his or her adviser when the conditions of acceptance have been met. The adviser or graduate 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 academic unit head. A student is limited to nine hours of graduate credit in this status. Regulations concerning unsatisfactory progress apply to this classification. See Unsatisfactory Progress for more information.

Appeal of Admission Decision

Although 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.

Change of Program

Admission to The Graduate School and a graduate program does not entitle a student to transfer to a program in another academic unit as defined by The Graduate School.

Any student wishing to change graduate programs must submit a new application for admission, application fee and any updated standardized test scores or transcripts to The Graduate School. The student is responsible for meeting all academic unit requirements for the desired program.

Criminal Background Check

Programs may require a criminal history check as part of the final admissions process. The applicant should consult the program to which he or she is applying for more detailed information. Applicants are responsible for any fees associated with background checks.

Continuous Enrollment

All students enrolled in graduate degree programs must enroll each regular semester for a minimum of one graduate credit hour. This registration must continue with no breaks from enrollment in the first graduate program course to graduation. This policy does not include summer sessions.

Students should enroll in courses relevant to their graduate program to facilitate timely completion. If it is not possible to do so, however, The Graduate School has established a one-credit Continuous Enrollment course, GRAD 597. The tuition for this course is $50.00. No grade will be assigned for this course. For more information, refer to the General Regulations section of the catalog.

Time Limitations

Master's and Educational Specialist Students

Master's and educational specialist students must complete all degree requirements within six years. Academic credit, including transfer credits taken before enrollment in the graduate program, completed more than six years before the date at which the master's or educational specialist degree is awarded may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements. Students may submit a written petition through their adviser, graduate program director and academic unit head to The Graduate School to receive extensions of time in the event of extenuating circumstances. Such requests must be received at least one month prior to the end of the student's original six-year time limit.

A student whose status is deactivated but later is reactivated through reapplication to The Graduate School may not count the six-year time limit as beginning on the date of reactivation.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students must complete all degree requirements within eight years. Academic work, including transfer credits taken before enrollment in the graduate program, that was completed more than eight years before the date at which the doctoral degree is awarded may not be used to satisfy the degree requirements. Students may submit a written petition through their adviser, graduate program director and academic unit head to The Graduate School to receive extensions of time in the event of extenuating circumstances. Such requests must be received at least one month prior to the end of the student's original eight-year time limit.

A student whose status is deactivated but later is reactivated through reapplication to The Graduate School may not count the eight-year time limit as beginning on the date of reactivation.

University Residences

Graduate students must register a local address with The Graduate School office prior to initial registration for classes. All changes in local address must be completed through MyMadison.  Official correspondence from the university will be sent to this address.

Admission of Veterans

The Graduate School encourages veterans to apply for admission as full- or part-time students. For information, contact:

Veterans Coordinator

James Madison University

Office of the Registrar, MSC 3528

Harrisonburg, VA 22807

(540) 568-6569

http://www.jmu.edu/registrar/veterans

Foreign Language

Passing a third year foreign language course, a reading knowledge of a foreign language or successful completion of a foreign language exam is required in those academic units which so specify. Consult the degree requirements of the academic programs for individual requirements.