James Madison University

=409 th
US Rankings 2018
800 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22807, United States

Established as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg in 1908, the university was renamed James Madison University (JMU) in 1977 in honour of the United States’ fourth president and today this public research university is located in the Shenandoah Valley in the state of Virginia.

It started as an institution exclusively for women but after the Second World War JMU began to allow men to enrol as day students. Today there are over 20,000 JMU students studying a range of undergraduate, graduate, educational specialist and doctoral programs.

The main areas of study at JMU are Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Communications, Visual and Performing Arts, and Health and Behavioural Studies.

The university offers 124 degree programs and although more than 90 percent of the student population are undergraduates, JMU boasts the second-best graduation rate in the United States for large master’s-level public schools.

The JMU campus has almost 150 buildings spread over a 721-acre campus that is divided into five main areas.

Home to the 9.7-acre Newman Lake, the 125-acre Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, and the stunning Wilson Hall, the campus has some fantastic facilities available for students. There are 35 residence halls and all freshmen are required to live on-campus.

The campus is located in the city of Harrisonburg, just two hours south of Washington DC.

Notable former JMU students include writer Phoef Sutton, sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak, founding member of the Dave Matthews Band, LeRoi Moore, and country music star Phil Vassar.

JMU offers an unforgettable university experience, combining the very best of American education and college life. Named after James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, JMU represents the perfect blend of focused learning and true university spirit.

James Madison University is delighted to welcome international students and is committed to making them feel at home.

First-class education

You will share a close relationship with the faculty (teaching staff), and the curriculum is innovative and lively. Students have a high level of involvement in the classroom, the lab and activities around and off campus.

The Service Learning Program is nationally known for providing the opportunity to apply classroom learning to real world situations.

JMU by Numbers:

-#2 Public Schools Regional South (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)

-#3 Most Innovative Schools Regional South (U.S. News & World Report, 2017)

-#109 Best Undergraduate Business Programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)

-#38 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs Where Doctorate Not Offered (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)

-Top 5 Best Colleges for Business Majors (CNN Money Magazine, 2016)

-#6 Best Campus Food in the U.S. (Princeton Review, 2016)

-Top 7% Return On Investment in the Nation (PayScale, 2015)

-#6 up-and-coming universities in the U.S. (U.S. News & World Report, 2017)

-92% Freshman Retention Rate.

-Top 75 Best Value Public Universities in the U.S.

You can choose from a wide range of degree programs when you study at James Madison University, within its seven colleges:

-College of Arts and Letters: Communications, Media Arts & Design, Anthropology, Economics, Justice Studies, Psychology, International Affairs, Political Science, Public Policy, etc.

-College of Business: Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Finance, Hospitality Management, International Business Management, etc.

-College of Health and Behavioral Studies: Athletic Training, Dietetics, Health Sciences, Health Services Administration, Kinesiology, Social Work, etc.

-College of Integrated Science and Engineering: Engineering, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Environmental & Engineering Geology, Geographic Science, etc.

-College of Science and Mathematics: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Statistics, Mathematics, Physics, Earth Science, etc.

-College of Visual and Performing Arts: Studio Art, Art History, Theater, Dance, Music, etc.

-College of Education: Elementary Education, Middle Education, Special Education, Art Education, etc.

So many ways to get involved.

JMU students are known for being both academically and socially engaged. If you’re looking for the ultimate American college experience, JMU is the place for you! Our state-of-the-art facilities for sports, arts and entertainment offer a huge range of activities. You’re bound to find something that fits your interests within JMU’s impressive and diverse offering of over 350 student organizations and 40 sports clubs.  


Living Here

Welcome to Harrisonburg. Here you’ll find an authentic American college town with a vibrant international community. What better location is there to study in and call home? JMU has a long history of welcoming students from every continent to the beautiful city of Harrisonburg, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Over 44 different languages are spoken here and every fall Harrisonburg celebrates the city’s rich intercultural diversity with the Annual International Festival. Just two hours southwest of Washington, D.C., Harrisonburg is a lively town with attractions including museums, shopping, skiing, golfing, caverns, farmers’ markets, concerts, movie theaters and restaurants.

Harrisonburg by Numbers:

-2nd Most Instagrammed Place in Virginia (USAToday.com, 2016)

-25th Best Place to Start a Business in Virginia (NerdWallet, 2015)

-15.5% of Harrisonburg’s population were born in another country (United States Census, 2016)

-Top 10 Mountain Bike Towns in the USA (National Geographic, 2015)

Explore rankings data for James Madison University

All ranked institutions have an overall score and 4 pillar scores. However for each pillar, only institutions ranked in the top 500 overall or the top 500 in this pillar have a publicly visible score

Key statistics

  • $9,396
    On-campus Room and Board
  • $53,000
    Salary after 10 years
  • $25,152
    Out-of-state Tuition and Fees
Based on data collected for the 2018 US Rankings