Last Updated: May 6, 8:35 a.m.
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For Students

Special Information for Graduate Students

For Students

What is happening with classes?

JMU will continue online classes through the summer semester, and has suspended all scholarly activities that require presence at university facilities, inclusive of faculty, staff, and student activities in all JMU offices, studios, laboratories, clinics, and other creative spaces.

Tuition rates for summer sessions (found here) still apply. However, we recognize that some students who were not planning to take classes this summer, now need or want to take summer classes to continue their academic progress. Because of this, the university is reducing the online fee, which is separate from tuition, for all students from $50 per credit hour, to $25 per credit hour, resulting in a $75 savings for a standard three credit course.

We recognize students are participating in external placements in local healthcare, educational and other settings. Students should be in touch with their faculty regarding these programs as they’ll be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and in partnership with the external agencies. The continuity of student and faculty research is also an important consideration; for more information contact

Is JMU offering a credit/no-credit grading option?

James Madison University is providing students with expanded access to the credit/no-credit grading options for the Spring 2020 semester due to the transition from in-person to online course delivery.

Undergraduate Students

If undergraduate students choose to take a course as credit/no credit, they receive credits for successfully completing the course with a “C” or above and receive no credit or penalty for completing the course with a lower grade. At some universities, this option is called pass/fail.

Current credit/no-credit policies are suspended for the Spring 2020 semester only and will be replaced with the following:

  • Students may change any course in which they are enrolled to credit/no-credit, except those being taken with a Repeat Credit or Repeat/Forgiveness option that were previously taken for a letter grade.
  • There will be no limit to the number of Spring 2020 courses or credit hours that may be taken as credit/no-credit.
  • Spring 2020 courses graded as credit/no-credit may satisfy general education, major, minor, degree and/or elective requirements.
  • If students select the credit/no-credit option, grades of “A” through “C” will change to “CR” and will earn the number of credit hours designated for the course. These grade equivalents for “CR” align with current JMU policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
  • If students select the credit/no-credit option, grades of “C-“ through “F” will change to “NC” and no credits will be earned for the course. These grade equivalents for “NC” align with current JMU policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
  • Grades of “CR” and “NC” will not affect students’ grade point average.
    All students should review the Important Considerations for Credit/No-credit Option section below before making any decision.

Important Considerations for Credit/No-credit Option

A student’s decision to switch to credit/no-credit is irreversible.

  • Before deciding to choose the credit/no-credit option, students should discuss the changes with their academic advisers to ensure there are no unforeseen consequences of switching to credit/no-credit, such as accreditation requirements within the major or minor, or future application to graduate or professional schools. Students should consult MyMadison should they need to be reminded of the names of their advisers.
  • Course prerequisites that require a certain letter grade will not be satisfied with a “CR” grade. In those instances, students must request overrides from their academic unit heads to enroll in those particular courses in future semesters. Students should consult their major advisers with questions regarding prerequisites.
  • If a course counts as part of a group of courses required for admission to a major in which grades are averaged, “CR” will not be included in the GPA calculation. Students should consult with the appropriate major and other advisers prior to changing their grading option.
  • Courses earning a grade of “CR” will count toward credits to graduate, but courses earning a grade of “NC” do not earn credits.

Instructions for Changing Courses to Credit/No-credit

  • Students should identify the courses to be changed to the credit/no-credit grading option. An
    electronic form will be available on the Office of the Registrar website Tuesday, April 7, for students to
    request a grading option change to credit/no-credit.
  • Students must submit the form no later than 5:00 p.m. Monday, May 18. Late requests will not be
    JMU has chosen May 18 as the deadline to change grading options to provide maximum flexibility to students. Students will be able to make the decision to choose the credit/no-credit option after receiving their final grades.

Graduate Students

For graduate students, The Graduate School will be distributing detailed information on options as soon as it is available.

Have registration dates changed?

Note the following changes to registration:
Advanced registration for Summer 2020 begins Monday, April 6.

Registration for Fall 2020 semester will begin on April 20 for graduate students, doctoral students and seniors; April 21 for juniors; April 22 for sophomores; and April 23 for freshmen. Beginning April 8, students can check MyMadison to view their updated Fall 2020 enrollment appointment. 

Is commencement happening as planned?

If it is safe to do so, commencement ceremonies will happen on campus August 7 – 8.

All ceremonies will take place in the Convocation Center to ensure that the events can take place regardless of weather.

The tentative event schedule is as follows. These college groupings are based on projected numbers of graduates expected to attend. For this reason, it will be very important that graduates respond to a forthcoming email asking them to RSVP.

Friday, August 7 at 7:00 pm

College of Business

College of Education and University Studies

Graduate School

Saturday, August 8 at 10:00 am

College of Arts & Letters

College of Integrated Science & Engineering

College of Science and Mathematics

Saturday, August 8 at 2:00 pm

College of Health & Behavioral Studies

College of Visual & Performing Arts

In addition to the ceremonies, JMU will host a series of special events on campus and downtown for graduates on August 6 and 7.

The university plans to confer degrees as originally scheduled on May 8, but in a virtual format, as well as provide congratulations to our graduating seniors at that time.

Diplomas will be mailed this summer, in accordance with the standard university process.

When are final exams?

Final exam week will remain as originally scheduled, May 1-7. As exam week approaches, faculty will communicate with students regarding course-specific plans for finals.

How will I know how my courses will proceed online?

If a student feels like they may be missing important information about their classes, this may be due to students having opted out of the notifications function within Canvas, the university's online learning platform. Instructions on how to turn notifications back on are here

We also recommend students contact faculty via email if they have questions.

Have dates for withdrawal from courses or the university been extended?

Withdrawal from Individual Courses in Spring 2020

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on university operations, JMU is extending the Spring 2020 course withdrawal deadline to April 24 for semester-long and Second Block (7W2) courses. This additional time will give students five weeks in which to acclimate to the new online course delivery method and assess their ability or desire to continue in the course.

Students who decide to withdraw from individual Spring 2020 courses may do so via MyMadison through 11:59 p.m. on April 24. Withdrawal from a course will not reduce tuition charges. Course withdrawal will result in the assignment of a grade of “W” and has no bearing on students’ GPA. Students are strongly advised to consult with their advisers and course professors before withdrawing from a course.

Withdrawal from the University in Spring 2020

Students who have dropped all Spring 2020 courses, or who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of needing to withdraw from all Spring 2020 courses, will find the information below helpful. Students who decide to withdraw from all courses for the semester are withdrawing from the university.

The deadline for dropping all Spring 2020 courses and receiving a tuition reimbursement was January 21, 2020. Students who withdraw from all Spring 2020 courses after January 21 do not receive a tuition refund.

Students who decide to withdraw from all courses must contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 540-568- 6468 or to begin the steps required to complete an official withdrawal.

Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate students who officially withdraw from the university and plan to return for Summer or Fall 2020 must apply for re-entry as soon as possible. This online process can be accessed from the Registrar’s website at

Students currently in good standing will be automatically approved and provided access to registration appointments for the Summer and/or Fall semesters based on the number of credit hours they have completed. Applications for re-entry must be entered prior to the beginning of registration. Summer registration will begin on April 6; Registration for Fall 2020 semester will begin on April 20 for graduate students, doctoral students and seniors; April 21 for juniors; April 22 for sophomores; and April 23 for freshmen. Beginning April 8, students can check MyMadison to view their updated Fall 2020 enrollment appointment.

Students who are not in academic good standing must contact the Office of Academic Student Services at for help with the re-entry application.

Graduate Students
Graduate students who officially withdraw from the university and who wish to return for Summer or Fall 2020 should contact The Graduate School as soon as possible at or 540-568-6131.

Will refunds be distributed?

The university will offer refunds for housing and unused dining plans. Students will receive a refund for housing and/or dining. Information on these refunds and/or credits can be found here.

Are residence halls closing?

In light of the national and statewide emergency declarations, residence halls will be closing for the remainder of the spring semester. Only students who have applied for and received housing exceptions will be permitted to stay. If you cannot go home, you must submit the exception form by March 20 at 5 p.m. Decisions will be communicated starting Thursday, March 19.

Can students come collect things from their residence halls?

Based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Health, the CDC and the Governor of Virginia, travel back to JMU is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.

Your items are secure in your room on campus. At this time of unprecedented crisis, we must all make a good faith effort to comply with the guidelines and recommendations of those charged with managing the situation. We ask for your cooperation.

As of Sunday, March 29, all residence halls have been locked and residents no longer have access via their JACard. If you have not already moved out we will work with each of you individually to schedule a date and time in the future for you to return to your room and gather your belongings when it is safe. An email was sent to the @Dukes account of every resident student on Friday, March 27 with a link that allows you to request a move-out appointment. Please use that link to schedule a move-out with ORL.

Is the university closed?

In-person access to university facilities and services is extremely limited. UREC and JMU Libraries are closed until further notice, and JMU Dining Services is operating on a limited schedule. Please check the individual webpages for each facility.

Should I return to my off-campus housing?

Students are urged not to return to live in off-campus housing at this time. For students considering returning to live in off-campus housing in Harrisonburg, please note that in-person access to university facilities and services is extremely limited. UREC and JMU Libraries are closed until further notice, and JMU Dining Services is operating on a limited schedule. Remember that in the unfortunate situation that you are asked to self-isolate or quarantine, you are, in most instances, likely better off doing so at home with family who can assist and support you.

Stay home if possible, and if you do need to return to JMU, do not engage in mass gatherings or events. Public health depends on social distancing, and it is critical not to congregate in large crowds. While we are in the middle of a global pandemic, students need to make responsible decisions and not put themselves and others in harm’s way for the sake of a party. We applaud every student who has done their part in being a responsible member of our greater Harrisonburg community, and ask each of you personally to set an example for others around you by not engaging in dangerous and disruptive behaviors.

The office of Off-Campus Life has provided additional information here:

Can I break my lease or get a refund on rent for my off campus housing?

All off-campus housing is privately owned and operated. All questions pertaining to leasing agreements and rental payments should be directed to your housing manager or landlord. Remember that your lease is a legally binding document, and you are responsible for making rental payments for the duration of your rental period to avoid legal consequences.

Should we still fill out the 2020 Census?

Yes! If you’re a student who typically lives away at college in off-campus housing but are not there due to COVID-19 responses, use your school address where you typically would have been. Coordinate with your roommates and designate one of you to complete the form for ALL of you.

How can rented textbooks be returned?

Over the next few weeks, students who have rented textbooks from the JMU Bookstore will receive an email from Follett with a shipping label to return the books free of charge. Students may want to periodically check their spam folder for the email. Students can call (540)-568-6121 for more information.

What about the MREST for May and August 2020 graduates?

Students who have not yet completed the MREST (Madison Research Essentials Test), and who have applied to graduate in May or August 2020, will not need to complete the MREST. Due to COVID-19 testing center closures, a waiver has been granted to these students.

What about MREST for continuing students?

  • Registration holds have been deferred for first-year students who did not pass the MREST by the original deadline.
  • Registration holds for other current students and discontinued students (e.g. students on academic suspension) have been lifted.
  • These temporary adjustments to regular MREST practices should allow students to register for summer and fall and make changes to their schedule in the months to come. Registration holds will be reinstated in the future, after normal on-campus functions resume.

What student support services are available?

Multiple JMU services are here to support you for the rest of the semester!

The Learning Centers are continuing to offer online tutoring, consultations and study sessions:

JMU Libraries continues to offer students help with finding information for assignments and projects, as well as providing support for moving to online learning.

More student services are available, including:

I received an email from BankMobile, is it legit?

You may have recently received an email from our student refund provider, BankMobile on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 22 with the subject line “Important Information About Your Emergency Financial Aid Grant.” Though a bit confusing, this communication is legitimate. BankMobile’s intent is to ensure any funds received are done so securely and to remind students of the benefits of an electronic preference.

Special Information for Graduate Students

Where can current or prospective graduate students find more information?

The Graduate School is here to assist however they can. While your program faculty should be your first point of contact, please reach out to Graduate School staff directly on issues that you are facing. Visit or email them at You can also text at 540.269.1986 (US only). E-mail and text messaging may only be monitored during regular university business hours. 

The Graduate School has developed a series of FAQs specific to graduate students, found here, and will be updating them regularly.

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