Undergraduate Programs

Academic Mission Statement

We provide an exceptional educational experience that meets the changing needs of our students in society, and are dedicated to achieving the highest level of excellence within our academic programs. We strive in our programs to focus on the student as an individual and as a member of the global community. Our faculty members are dedicated mentors who are scholars, innovative teachers and models of responsibility and accountability. Our staff members are creative and talented colleagues who are committed to providing a supportive environment that facilitates learning and development.

Our Goals

The vice president for academic affairs serves as the executive officer in all matters of academic status. All proposed exceptional programs of study and exceptions to degree requirements must be presented to the vice president for academic affairs through the faculty adviser, the school director or department head, and college dean or provost for consideration and approval. The vice president also decides all questions of evaluation of credits which involve university policies.

Baccalaureate Degrees

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Foreign language courses 6-14
(intermediate level required)
Liberal studies courses 1 44
Philosophy course 2 3
(in addition to liberal studies courses)
Major concentration courses and electives 3 67-75

Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.)

Core program -- business courses 42
Liberal studies courses 1 44
Major concentration courses 24
Electives 10

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

Core program -- art courses 24
Liberal studies courses 1 41
Area of emphasis courses 39
Art and art related electives 22
Electives 2

Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.)

Liberal studies courses 35
Major concentration courses 30
Elective program 55

Bachelor of Music (B.M.)

Core music program courses 26
Liberal studies courses 1 41
Major concentration courses and electives 67-71

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Liberal studies courses 1 41
Mathematics course 3
(in addition to liberal studies courses) 4
Social science or natural science course(s) 5 3-4
Major concentration courses and electives 3 72-75

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)

Liberal studies courses 1 41-47
Nursing courses 61
Other supportive courses 14
Electives 0-4

Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Core program -- social work courses 42
Liberal studies courses 1 40
Social work electives 6
Electives 32

1 The liberal studies program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

2 100-, 200-, 300- or 400-level course acceptable.

3 Would include education courses leading to licensure in teacher education.

4 Students are strongly encouraged to complete one of the following sequences: MATH 107-108, MATH 135-235, MATH 155-220, MATH 156-220, MATH 205-206 or MATH 235-236.

5 Social science to be chosen from approved liberal studies courses in economics, geography, political science, sociology or anthropology..

Undergraduate Programs of Study

Selection of a Major

Entering students, in conference with their advisers, may determine a major program of study. If they have not decided on a specific major, they may register as undeclared. Students who have not decided on a major field of study are encouraged to discuss their interests with their adviser, professors, department heads, school directors and fellow students. All students should declare a major by the end of their sophomore year. Failure to do so could extend the time needed to fulfill graduation requirements.

Transfer students who enter JMU with junior status (60 or more credit hours) should declare a major upon acceptance to the university.

Students wanting assistance identifying career options for their major of interest can participate in the Career Decisions Program in the Office of Career Services. The Career Decisions Program helps students decide upon a career direction by assessing students' career interests, skills and abilities and providing information about career options.

Change or Declaration of Major

Students who want to change or declare a major should obtain a Change or Declaration of Major Form from the Office of the Registrar and take it to the head of the department or director of the school they wish to enter. Students are accepted by the department or school on the basis of their academic records and the satisfaction of such other criteria as the department or school may establish. A new adviser is assigned by the department or school for students beyond the freshman level.


Degree-seeking students progress satisfactorily in their academic programs, with expected completion of a degree in eight semesters, if an average of 15 credit hours is taken each semester. Dropping below 15 credit hours per semester can extend the time needed to fulfill graduation requirements and may affect eligibility for financial aid.

Writing Across the Curriculum

A distinguishing feature of an educated person is the ability to write effectively. As part of its mission to prepare graduates for a meaningful role in society, the university is committed to developing writing skills across the curriculum. Academic programs contain writing components in which students study the process of writing as well as the product. Students prepare term papers, essays, special reports, case briefs and other written work in which style, form and content are assessed. This approach helps to make writing an integral part of learning in all disciplines.

Computer Literacy Requirement

James Madison University is committed to providing an educational environment which is consonant with current technology in an information society. The university provides an opportunity for each student, regardless of major, to have some experience with computers. Introductory courses designed to build and/or enhance computer literacy are housed in the Department of Computer Science and in the Department of Information and Decision Sciences; other departments and schools throughout the university also offer courses emphasizing computer applications for individual disciplines. Students are expected to take advantage of these offerings, which are designed to enhance computer awareness and to build specific computer skills.

Student Assessment

A series of student outcomes assessment tests will be required prior to graduation. Information from the test results will be used to measure the contribution of JMU's programs and services for institutional and individual student learning and development. Students are encouraged to review the Student Outcome Assessment Form for further details.

Student Progression and Graduation Rates

Studies of undergraduate student retention and completion rates indicate that more than 90 percent of entering first-time freshmen return for their second year and more than 83 percent return for their third year of study at JMU. Approximately 60 percent of those who enter the university as first-time freshmen complete their degrees in four calendar years or less. About 80 percent of the entering class graduates after five years. Approximately 82 percent of an entering class will eventually complete the requirements for an undergraduate degree at JMU. The remainder either withdraw or transfer, the large majority of these doing so before reaching their junior year. Since a number of entering students enroll in a program which requires that they transfer to another institution (e.g., pre-physical therapy), the completion rate at the university is considered to be very good.

Other Credit Opportunities

The university offers the following options to enable students to earn credit toward their degree outside the traditional classroom setting.

Admission of High School Students as Special Students

See page 67 for information concerning this special program of admission.

Admission of Freshmen With Advanced Placement

Consult page 24 for information concerning the College Board Advanced Placement program.

Independent Study

Every department and school at JMU offers a course designed to give capable students an opportunity to do independent study under faculty guidance. Such courses often carry more than the normal three credit hours for a semester's work. In addition, they allow especially capable students to work at their own, often accelerated pace. Arrangements for independent study should be made through individual instructors.

Honor System

The academic program at JMU is operated under an Honor System which dates back to the 1909-10 academic session.

The present Honor System has been adopted by the students to uphold individual and community integrity. Each student is expected to observe complete honesty in all academic matters and to assume responsibility in cases in which honor is violated. Penalties for violations of the Honor System range from a minimum of one semester suspension and a grade of "F" in the course in which the violation was committed to permanent expulsion from the university.

The Honor System is administered by a student Honor Council. Every student who matriculates at the university, whether graduate or undergraduate, becomes a member of the Honor System. The cooperation of faculty and administrators is expected. Full information is set forth in the Student Handbook and assistance is available from the Honor Council office.

Introduction and General Information Directory

Undergraduate Catalog Contents

1996-97 Undergraduate Catalog
Last reviewed: 30 November 1996
Information Publisher: Division of Academic Affairs
James Madison University