Frequently Asked Questions

How does this degree compare to others offered at JMU?

The Individualized Studies major allows students to personalize their own major. Students may choose this option because they have several interests they hope to integrate collectively into a bachelor's degree. This major is interdisciplinary, meaning students will integrate curriculum from at least two distinct subjects or disciplines.

The Bachelor's of Individualized Studies is one of many degrees conferred by James Madison University. All degrees are fully accredited as part of JMU's accreditation by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

How much does tuition cost?

To learn more about tuition at JMU click here.

Is financial aid available?

Yes! For details about financial aid options, click here.

What resources are available for ADP students?

Learning Centers

The JMU Learning Resource Centers are a group of student resources set up to help you succeed academically. They include:

  • The Science and Math Learning Center, for tutoring in chemistry, math, physics, and statistics
  • The University Writing Center, for help improving and editing your writing
  • The Communication Center, for assistance with group projects and presentations
  • The English Language Learner Services, for those seeking to expand their knowledge of English
  • Peer Assisted Study Sessions, for help in specific courses listed on their homepage

The webpage above contains links to each of the Learning Centers’ homepages.

Office of Disability Services

The Office of Disability Services is there to assist in setting up accommodations for both chronic and temporary conditions that might impair a student’s ability to fully participate in academic activities. Some of their services include note-taking accommodations, proctoring assistance, HDPT Paratransit, interpreter services, and accessible media and technology.


The Office of the Registrar processes students entering and leaving the university. They handle paperwork such as standardized test scores and transcripts and diplomas from prior institutions upon entrance to the university, and accept applications for graduation from students’ whose coursework at JMU is complete. They can distribute official transcripts as well as the diplomas of recent graduates.

University Business Office

While the Office of Financial Aid can help students figure out their loans, the University Business Office is the department that accepts payments for university fees such as tuition, on-campus housing and meal plans and processes refunds from student loans. Get in touch with UBO if you have a question about paying your bill or your student loan refund.

Veterans’ Educational Benefits

Veterans’ Educational Benefits, a division of the Office of the Registrar, is a great resource for active-duty military personnel and veterans, as well as their spouses and dependents. They can help answer questions about applying for benefits, financial aid and scholarships, transfer credits, the GI Bill, and military student policies.

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center offers free, confidential individual and group counseling with experienced mental health professionals to students in need of support. Their website also contains a long list of self-help resources. Some of their programs include crisis assistance for help in an emergency, psychiatric assistance and the Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program. There is also a consultation service where you can seek advice if you are concerned about a friend. Whether you have a chronic condition or you are just finding the transition to university life stressful, the Counseling Center is a great resource.

Career and Academic Planning

Career and Academic Planning is there to help students determine their futures. They offer opportunities that assist students in exploring, evaluating and choosing academic programs and careers. One of their biggest programs, Recruit-A-Duke, allows students to search thousands of job postings and internships to be considered for on-campus interviews. They are also responsible for setting up periodic career fairs, where students can meet representatives from corporations and companies.

Can I go to graduate school after ADP?

13% of ADP graduates have gone on to graduate school at James Madison University, and many others are continuing their education at universities across the country.

Is there a graduation ceremony?

Yes, ADP students process with the College of Education during the May and December university commencement.

Can this degree be completed entirely online?

While it is possible to complete this degree online, it varies for each student. The following factors influence the ability to complete the degree online: 

  • Total incoming transfer credits
  • CLEP and prior learning credits
  • Selection from our online tracks
  • Number of credits to complete

Can I attend classes on campus?

Yes, ADP students may attend on-campus classes offered by other departments at JMU. Students must:

  • Have all pre-requisites statisfied 
  • Meet any additional requirements set forth by the department
  • Ensure the courses are not closed to specific majors only

Are there alternative ways of earning credit?

Portfolios of Prior Learning Experience

By assessing experiential learning portfolios for non-traditional students, JMU recognizes that learning takes place throughout life and that college-level learning is not limited to the institutions of higher education or to classroom settings. The rationale for portfolio assessment is that adult life and work can offer learning that is equivalent in substance and complexity to that offered in our classrooms.

College Board Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP is a national program that offers students credit by computer-based examination. This allows students to have the opportunity to obtain recognition for achievement in specific college courses.

To purchase your examination and obtain information specific to the test you are taking, visit the CLEP website at

The ADP Testing Center administers CLEP exams at their offices in the Ice House located at 127 W. Bruce St., Harrisonburg, Virginia. We currently have testing by appointment only. To schedule a CLEP exam, please contact Ryan Silver at 540-568-4255. There may be a 2-4 week wait.

Departmental Reviews

Students may request a departmental review to determine if course-equivilant credit may be awarded. Only classes completed with a grade of "C" or higher will be considered for a departmental review. Students seeking departmental reviews must submit the course syllabus from the semester the course was completed to the ADP office. The review request will then be submitted to the appropriate academic department for evaluation. Awarded credit is subject to the department's discretion.

Independent Study and Sponsored Learning

Students have the option to complete an Independent Study in selected interdisciplinary areas under the supervision of a faculty member in the appropriate academic department. Sponsored Learning is a structured learning activity related to the student's area of study and sponsored by an empolyer, volunteer agency, or other appropriate organization. Approval from the ADP office is required.

Transfer Credit

Students may take courses at a local community college, however approval from the ADP office is required.

Can I declare a minor?

At this time, ADP students cannot declare a minor.

How will I know which courses to take?

Upon admittance, ADP students enroll in IS 200: Orientation to Individualized Studies. This required 3-credit course prepares students for college-level learning and assists with the development of an acadmeic plan of study. The plan of study displays future academic goals through graduation and may be adjusted at any point during a student's career by submitting the appropriate paperwork.

Will I have an advisor?

Yes, admitted students will work with ADP staff to determine appropriate advisor assignments.

Are there any technology requirements?

It is highly recommended that students have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection during their time in the program. For more information about technology at JMU, click here.

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