How Much Will Graduate School Cost?

The cost of attending graduate school will primarily depend on the cost of tuition and costs associated with living expenses.

James Madison University is a state university, and so the cost of tuition depends on whether you qualify as a Virginia resident. We use information on your online application to determine residency status and it is based on Section 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia and other guidelines.  

Program costs depend on the number of credit hours required for your program as specified in the Graduate Catalog. The current cost per credit hour is available here.

Estimated Tuition

Note that some programs have fees for laboratory expenses, study abroad, etc. Consult your program website and ask your Program Director for information about program-specific fees.

Living expenses will vary depending on the number of semesters required to complete your program of study (full- or part-time) and whether you live individually, share housing with others, or live with family. JMU does not have an on-campus housing option for graduate students, so all students live off-campus.

Please visit our residency page regarding Virginia domicile requirements.

Paying for Graduate School

How will you cover the cost of graduate school?  Consider the following four options, in this order:

  1. Graduate Assistantships
  2. Concurrent Employment
  3. Scholarships
  4. Loans
Please review the full list of funding opportunites.
1. Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships provide both tuition support and a stipend for work in a university department. Tuition support varies by position, but generally covers 9 credit hours per semester. Stipends also vary depending on the nature of the assistantship. All roles have a work expectation of 20 hrs/week.

Many graduate assistantships are assigned through academic departments that have graduate programs. Consult with your program director regarding availability and application procedures. Many graduate assistantships are available through other offices across campus including Student Affairs, Athletics, or Grants. Students apply for these positions as they would jobs by submitting an application, letter of interest, resume and professional references. Many of these assistantships are listed on JMU Jobs.

More information about graduate assistantships

2. Concurrent Employment

It is not unusual for students to be employed while attending graduate school, in fact, many of our programs are offered in an evening or online format to facilitate concurrent employment. Because graduate students already have college degrees they are highly qualified to work in our community. Many graduate students who do not have a graduate assistantship continue their prior position or work full or part-time during graduate school.

Graduate students are eligible to apply for Student positions and Wage/Part-Time positions that are advertised on JMU Jobs. JMU’s Office of Student Employment maintains listings of off-campus positions that may be of interest. Of course, students may search for jobs using other databases and local publications as well.

3. Scholarships/Fellowships

Students are encouraged to apply for national, regional, foundation and organization, and scholarship programs. These programs can substantially reduce or cover the cost of graduate experiences. Please visit our Graduate Student Scholarship page for opportunities for funding. Current students can find information on scholarships awarded by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships here.

Military benefits are available for graduate students! Graduate students who are, or have been, a part of our military, reserve and National Guard, along with their spouses and dependents can receive financial benefits and ongoing support at JMU. Learn more.

4. Loans

JMU’s Office of Financial Aid manages scholarships and loans for Graduate Students. The Financial Aid office recommends that all qualified students submit a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); this application is essential to determine your qualification for financial support.

Graduate students may be eligible for Unsubsidized Federal Direct loans and Grad PLUS Direct loans. To qualify, complete a FAFSA application.


Visit the following website for more information on funding your graduate education, budgeting, and repaying student loans:

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