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Prepare for graduate school by improving your English! Practice your research skills, reading and writing. English-language listening and speaking immersion experiences will ensure your academic success!

James Madison University offers two summer options for international graduate students who need to improve their English-language proficiency. These programs are designed for students who have been admitted to a JMU graduate program who have some English proficiency, and need to boost their skills before they begin. These experiences are designed to raise proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking to levels that are expected to predict graduate-school success (IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 79-93).

Pre-Sessional English is an on-campus program offered on JMU’s campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. This in-person session is highly recommended and will be conducted between May 22 and August 11 2023. Students must have an IELTS score of at least 6.0 or a TOEFL score of 60 to qualify. The experience will include 22 clock hours of classwork covering graduate-level intensive English and research knowledge and skills, as well as an experience specified by your academic program that will allow you to begin your graduate program at JMU. This will be a truly immersive experience because throughout each day you will take advantage of facilities on the JMU campus and all the local community has to offer. Each day you will interact in English with fellow students, faculty and the local community members, becoming familiar with life in the United States. Tuition for this 12-week program will be $5,000 and there are additional fees and living expenses that apply. Additional details.

Online English may be taken from anywhere outside of the US. During 2023 a 10-week program is available through our university partners at Study Group. This program is appropriate for students with IELTS scores of at least 5.5, or a TOEFL of at least 46. The program will include 25 contact hours/week, and 50% of these hours will be synchronous. You must have a reliable computer, internet access, and be available to participate in all synchronous class sessions to enroll in online English. During this program, you will be supported by a Student Success Manager and you will be able to connect to staff at JMU to learn more about the campus and community. The cost for Online English is expected to be £3,500 for the 10-week program, and successful completion of the program will allow you to begin your graduate studies with no additional English proficiency testing. For information or to apply please visit this English Preparation Pre-Masters page.


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How to Apply

Start by applying for admission to any JMU graduate program. If you are admitted, you can enroll in these English programs. These intensive English programs may be recommended or required for students who need some additional work to obtain a level of proficiency in English that is required for success in your graduate program. If your professors recommend or require participation in an Intensive English program, this will be stated in your acceptance letter from the Graduate School. For more information about our Intensive English programs at JMU, contact .


If you have questions about admission to an academic program direct them to the Director of that program or the JMU Graduate School at If you have questions about these Intensive English programs, including which is the best fit for your situation and goals, direct them to You don’t have to wait until you are admitted to inquire about these English language programs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If my English is poor, is this program appropriate for me?
No. These Intensive English programs are designed only for students who have IELTS scores of 5.5 or above, TOEFL scores of 46 or above, or equivalent. Students are expected to achieve a level of proficiency in English sufficient for success in graduate school in 8-12 weeks. You will not be able to achieve this during these short programs unless you already have some English proficiency.

Can I enroll in an Intensive English Program if this has not been recommended by my program?
Yes. All students are invited to participate in these programs if you feel you would benefit from an intensive refresher course in English.

What if I haven’t taken an IELTS or TOEFL? Can I still join?
We are able to administer you an English placement test free of charge. Please inquire about this process by emailing

Can I get a student visa to come to the US to study English?
JMU will sponsor visas for students who enroll in the in-person pre-sessional English and continuing visas to remain in the United States to complete your master’s or doctoral degree. Students completing online programs cannot receive a visa, but upon successful completion of Online English, JMU will sponsor your student visa so you can complete a graduate program conducted in the US.

Are scholarships available for these Intensive English Programs?
Scholarships are currently not available for these Intensive English Programs. If you have been offered a graduate assistantship, that assistantship will start when you begin your academic program.

What happens if I don’t successfully complete this program?
If successful completion of an Intensive English Program is a required condition of admission, then your offer of admission will be suspended until you demonstrate that you are proficient in English.  If you are enrolled in the in-person program and you do not successfully complete the program, you will need to leave the U.S. or transfer to another institution as JMU cannot sponsor your stay in the U.S. unless you can immediately progress to your program of study. 

To discuss your specific circumstances, contact JMU Graduate School at

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