James Madison University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


Great! There's a wide variety and so many opportunities to find your career.


Academics at JMU definitely aren't Ivy League; if they were, we'd be an Ivy League school. However, we have highly competitive and sought out colleges within the University. The professors are generally amazing, in my experience. Even in the 100+ student classrooms, the teachers do their best to learn names. I have never felt like just another number here. The staff is as much a part of the school as the students are. They can be found at many of the athletic events as well. I am an IDLS major, Elementary Education minor, and I absolutely love my program and professors. They have all spent a great deal of time in the field, and know what they're talking about. They are personable and easy to talk to which I love about them. They definitely teach to the career rather than just to teach.


I think the academics are really perfect here because you have a wide variety of small and large classes with different styles of teaching. Each class really has something different to offer with our liberal studies background, and kids always seem to be passionate and engaged about subject matter even if it isn't their major. Even outside the classroom students don't stop thinking and I am always impressed to see how many kids are having heated debates about politics, life, and anything in general as I pass by. I am most impressed with my major studies, Media Arts and Design, because I never knew how much JMU had to offer in this department. Most of my teachers have been excellent, really preparing me for graduation and the real world. They are always there to talk to, before and after class, and the focus is on preparing you for specific job duties. Classes are not so much about how well you study but about how well you listen and grasp the material in lecture. Tests can be hard just like at any school, but here if you are willing to put something into it you will most likely succeed.


In some of my classes my professors know my name but that isn't very common because they have so many students. The only way a professor would get to know you personally is if you went to their office hours and developed a relationship with them. I have one professor who I am very close with and I go talk to her all the time she is so nice and helps me out constantly. I think it is up to the student whether or not they want to get to know their professors or not. Most of the general education classes are smaller so the professor would know you better there but once you get into you major classes a lot of them have more students so its harder for the professors to know you individually. My favorite class would probably be anatomy. It was really hard but it was so much fun and I learned so much. My least favorite would have to be literature. It was a lot of work and there was a lot of reading involved which took up a lot of time. Class participation is not very common it isn't required to participate in a lot of my classes but in my gcom which is a communications class and one of my other general education classes it was a graded requirement. Even though it isn't required there is still a lot of communication inside of the classroom. Students participate whenever they want to and have a good idea to contribute. There are intellectual conversations outside of class but I would think that depends on the type of person you are and the types of things you like talking about. Some of my friends I don't have intellectual conversations with but then other ones we talk for hours about all of the stuff we've learned and new things that are going on in the world. I wouldn't say the students are competitive I feel like everyone works as hard as they want to work and there isn't much competition unless you are a nursing major like me. Getting into the nursing program is extremely competitive. You need to work hard from the very first semester you get here if you want to get into the nursing program. The classes are difficult but they are very interesting if that is the field of study you want to go into. For nursing you have to take anatomy, physiology, chem, nutrition, statistics and a psych class for your pre-requisites and then your geneds as well. Some of the pre-reqs count as geneds also. I'm also a human science minor which includes the biology of humans as well as anthropology and psychology. One of the most unique classes I've taken is evolutionary psychology. It is about how we have behaviors that have evolved and it talks about interesting subjects like why we find certain things disgusting and how that is an evolved mechanism to avoid disease and how shame may be an evolved emotion to keep us from getting kicked out of our groups since humans are social beings that need to be around other people to benefit their survival. It is definitely like nothing I have ever taken before and it has got me thinking about subjects I've never paid much attention to. There are so many great interesting classes that are offered here. I usually only spend time with professors outside of class if I need help with something and I go to their office hours. I think JMU is definitely getting harder to get into. It is getting more competitive as the academics are improving. I think the school is geared towards learning I think any student needs to be interested in learning and expanding their knowledge in order to go to college and that it isn't just about getting a job. A lot of the general education classes won't have anything to do with your major they are just for you to learn different things that you wont be exposed to as your academic career progresses.


Overall, I think we have great academics here. I have had a few slack classes (mostly Gen-Eds) but for the most part, the teachers expect you to really step up. The professors are so great too, they really do want to help you, weither it's in a class of 100 or 20, they make sure they do what they can to help you understand the material. To keep up with all the work and keep decent grades, a good amount of study time is required. Nothing too overwhelming in my opinion, but you definately can't just slide by not doing much, no matter how "naturally smart" you are.


Bottom line, students go to college for the academics. We all want jobs and a future to look forward to. I switched my major my second year of college to Communication Sciences and Disorders. Although the major was small compared to others on campus, my courses were all about the latest technological and research advancements. As a clinically based field, Speech Pathology and Audiology need to be constantly up to date with the most recent findings and theories. The courses are challenging, especially your junior and senior year. Also, as a senior, your fall semester is full of applying to masters and doctorate programs. Fortunately, the advisors and professors are fully aware and supportive of this. Throughout my career, I was presented with multiple opportunities to learn more about the field outside of the classroom. I have worked on undergraduate research, observed in the hearing clinic right on JMU's campus, and took part in lectures in the graduate cadaver lab. If you want a hands on and rewarding major, CSD is a perfect fit.


Professors are generally very accommodating, and try to help out students. Some classes are difficult, but with work a good grade is accomplishable.


The education here is pretty exciting. Granted certain geneds are boring, but if you like your major, you won't suffer too much.


organic chemistry is my favorite class, my least favorite is organic chemistry, i study a few days before tests and try to participate in smaller classes...i'm a bio major


James Madison's acidemics are pretty good. Some gen. ed. classes are really large, but then they get evened out with smaller classes. Most professors make a point to let you know that they actually care. I do not agree with some of the nursing requirements.


Learning at JMU is very individualized per students. Professors are always ready to meet students and get to know them outside of class, but that always requires a first step from the student. The library is always full of students studying, especially during Finals Week when it's open 24/7. Professors generally encourage class participation but are not always successful. That generally depends on both class size and student's interest in the subject. Students tend to not be compeitive with each other but rather themselves instead. They are more than willing to help a classmate who missed a class or two, provide notes or help study for a test. JMU's academic requirements are slightly confusing at first. Students are required to take several General Education course throughout their years at JMU and these are simply aimed at making students well-rounded. These Gen Eds are similar to the core classes from grade school. Science, English, Arts, History, Math, and other general topics. There are many different courses offered by JMU that fulfill Gen Ed requirements and they can be taken in any order at any point during a student's education. Majors are geared with different goals in mind. The more liberal arts majors (such as English and History) are geared toward learning for the sake of learning but do try to give students skills useful in the working world. Most of the other majors are very much geared towards helping students turn themselves into highly competitive job applicants. Services are provided to help students prepare resumes, to improve important writing skills.


Professors absolutely know your name. My favorite class is Legal Communication (SCOM 431). My least favorite is Interpersonal Comm (SCOM 320). Students study for about an hour a day. Class participation is very common and students often have intellectual discussions outside of class. Students are somewhat competitive grade wise with one another. The most unique class I've taken has been Religion. My major is one of the fastest growing majors on campus and has been incredibly interesting to study. I do not spend time with professors out of class. JMU's academic requirements are fair compared to other schools. Education is geared towards getting a job after graduation.


Most of my professors know my name. They all try hard to get to know us and I think in your bigger classes you have to set yourself apart for them to recognize you. I've enjoyed all of my classes. The general education ones pretty much suck. They don't prepare you for anything and they are usually a waste of time. Most students don't get A's in those either. Once you get past the gen eds then you start to do better and enjoy all the other ones. Teachers make you want to learn about that topic (most do that is). Some of my professors are awful. One actually retired right after I had him (just my luck). Once you get into your senior year, teachers are really pushing for you to get that job that you want. They excuse you from class to go interview and give you help to get the interview right. I've also been given a lot of recommendations and job listings from past professors.


Academic requirements are accurate. I feel that a lot of people get a job right out of JMU. I am happy with my choice for academics.


My professors do know my name. One reason I love my major so much is because my class at the maximum has 10 kids in it. It really allows the professor to get to know you and have one on one time helping you with your work. I study whenever there is a test at least 2 days in advance. Class participation at least in my classes for my major is very important since the classes are so small. JMU conversations aside from class definatly are intelligent, just walking around campus and hearing people talk you can tell. The most unique class I have taken was probaly Africana Studies, it really introduced me to a subject I knew nothing about. My major is called Technical and Scientific Communications, it is new at JMU and it is about technical writing, and more computer oriented. I do not spend time aside from class with my professors unless we schedule a meeting or I go to their office hours. Academics here is definatley geared towards getting jobs in the future. My classes for my major have so far taught me how to write proposals and create a resume.


The academics at JMU definitely are one of the universities biggest assets. No matter how hard the parties go on the weekends, students are focused and ready to work during the week because the work is intense. While many people may not perceive that as a positive thing, every student works hard. During any time of any day, the library is usually occupied with many students. Students at JMU strive to do well. However, because JMU is a liberal arts school, they expect students to be very well rounded. That means every student is required to take a certain number of courses outside of their major in every cluster (this includes math, sciences, writing, psychology, philosophy, religions, arts, personal wellness, social dimensions, etc). These are really the only classes students don't seem to always like or take as seriously. I major in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and I am in love with it. To be accepted into the major, there are two required courses that have to be taken. A GPA of 2.7 in those two classes is required and a cumulative GPA of 2.7 is required to be even considered for the program. Every professor I have taken in the Communications department stands out as the best teachers and professors I have ever worked at. They all truly love their jobs, their students, and JMU. They go out of their way to make sure everyone excels, has the help they need, and really learns the material. While they are also the toughest and most challenging classes I have ever taken, they are truly the best.


my professors know my name because i make it a point to get to know them. Most favorite wasnt until my junior year when i really got into major classes, least favorite was organic chemistry lab. the teacher was awful and out to get us, this is the only bad teacher i have had in three years. my major is a very close group of students and professors. i often meet with professors outside of class and they are always willing to make time for me. the program is geared for preparing you for future jobs in the field.


I know professors by name. I really have enjoyed certain classes like consumer behavior while COB 300 was a great experience.


My favorite classes at JMU are the ones that pertain to my major. The education program at JMU is amazing, like a family. All of the students in the classes know each other and are friends. The professors know each of us by name which makes the entire atmosphere more comfortable to express opinions. Everyone in my classes is constantly helping each other out, giving each other advice, and listening to each others stories. One of my education professors gave the class a pizza party outside of class because he wanted to get to know us better and let us get to know him better. It was a good idea because it helped us to feel more comfortable with him.


In Large lectures unless you make an effort to seek out the professor time and time again via office hours or emails, professors will not know your name. However, as the years pass and you begin to take classes more specific to your major, the classes get smaller and more intimate. Many of my media arts professors know my name and my capabilities. This makes them ideal for recommendations further down the road. My favorite class right now is Shooting and Editing in the Field. Being a SMAD major with a digital video concentration I thrive on course opportunities that allow you to become hands on with amazing equipment and also to let my creative juices flow. During this class (which I took over maymester) each student was given a state of the art High Definition Video Camera and tripod. We were able to practice the technical as well as aesthetic principles in shooting video. Then we were given the opportunity to go back to the editing lab and create film shots and shorts. The editing lab that the JMU SMAD department has is the most advanced lab in the country. Each student was given his or her own system of two monitors. The computers are fully equipped with every program a video editor could want to work with. Studying is all relative to your major I think. In terms of my major the tests are not really what takes the most time. The most time is taken to learn the programs and equipment. Creating projects and films take a lot more time for me than reading chapters in a book. I take this creative portion of my major very seriously and thus take the time to make it great. I enjoy it. I would say I study for about 3 hours a night. Class participation is very common and matters a lot. JMU students often have intellectual conversations outside of class. Many times it’s the discussions in the classroom that lead to further contemplation outside the classroom with friends. With the presidential race coming up students are eager to share opinions with each other. Current events are a lot of times viewed while watching the news on one of the dining hall television sets. This curbs conversation and discussion during lunch hand dinner. The SMAD department at JMU is extraordinary and is always advancing. Since it is a mostly technical field it forces the department to always be evolving to the latest ideas. The school of media arts and design offer several concentration areas: Cinema Studies, Corporate Communication, Digital Video, Interactive Media and Print Journalism. In order to get into the major every student must receive a C in the SMAD 101 course. You also must submit an application and complete a test, which tests your knowledge in the area. You choose which concentration you want when you apply. The introductory courses into the SMAD programs are ones, which every concentration has to take. Therefore, those course touch on every concentration in the major to appeal to all its students. As the courses go on, they break off into concentrations. Each course goes deeper in depth of the concentrations and skills you are to acquire in the major. The courses in my major are definitely geared to give you the skills to get a job after college. However, since all SMAD students are required to take the core classes they learn other aspects to the general field of Media Arts that may not specifically have to do with getting a job but are beneficial to know as a student of media arts. Also the subject of media arts has a lot to do with the world around us today. We are growing up in a world of technology, television computers; so it is essential as a person today to realize and become aware of our surroundings so that we may better understand their meaning (what service they serve, why the maker chose to make it in that way, etc)


The best part of the Madison Academic Experience is that faculty have a personal relationship with students. Professors take time to get to know students name's and that helps with the educational process.


Most of my proffesors know my name. I have some large classes that the teachers do not know all of the students names. However if I make the effort to attend office hours and approach the teacher, then they make the effort to know my name and get to know me. My favorite class was my GWRIT class. It was very hands on and the teacher was very encouraging. I have not run into any very competetive students. We all have study groups and sessions before exams to help each other do well. The GENED requirements are very large but I like how broad and how much variety there is within them.


some do, some don't. favorite class is italian. corbin is the man. least fave is negotiations. boooooring. yes it is common. yes they do have such convos. i guess they are competitive? justice studies major. no i do not. fair requirements. good to get a mix of things. learning.


Professors will always try to know your name by any means necessary. It's nice that almost every class is very small encouraging class participation and familiarity among students and faculty, which then lets students talk outside of class with each other. STudents study a lot, the standards have definitely risen, and become very conscious of their grades and how well they do, but at the same time it's not as stressful allowing for free time and activities inside the JMU community.


Almost all the professors in my department know my name and converse with me in hallways. My favorite class would probably be GHUM 251: Struggle for Human Rights taught by Prof. Mary Loe. My least favorite class would be GKIN, since it was boring. ISAT major students study probably 3 hours a school night. Class participation is very common and usually voluntary. Students are competitive, but they will help each other out. ISAT has very friendly professors that give an incredible amount of research opportunity to their students. I regulary converse with professors outside of class. The academic requirements obviously try to push everyone to be well-rounded, which can be a pain, but is helpful in the end. It really depends on the professor, but usually, professors keep job related skills and educations in mind.


In general, I don't appreciate GenEds because they "waste" alot of time when a person could be taking classes that are actually in his or her major. But...a lot of them are interesting and helpful for a rounded education. I particulary like my Religion and World History classes because they give a broader scope on different places and cultures in the world.


Professors almost always know your name, even in classes of up to 70 students. Its really all on you to get to know them, but if you go to their office hours even once its guaranteed they'll remember you. Classes are AMAZING, so much better than high school and so interesting. Class participation is almost always encouraged, and students study a lot outside of class, but I wouldn't say too much. The students for the most part are not that competitive, which is nice, but every once in a while you'll see someone looking over your shoulder at your test grade when you get them back. My major is psychology and I've had nothing but great experiences with the program. JMU professors do research, but they're not here for it. They're here to teach you and to make sure you get the best out of your experience. Some majors at JMU are geared towards getting a job (Business) but others are for learning (Philosophy). JMU really is what you make it.


Average class size is about 29 students. It is very nice. I had a class that only had nine people, and it was the greatest experience. We all got really close and are close friends now. Most of my professors know my name and they make an effort to do so. Even in my lecture classes professors try to get to know us. They also have office hours to help you outside of class and are extremely helpful and love it when student come to their office.


know your name - in geneds mostly NO, unless you make and effort, all other classes that are smaller in size, YES favorite class- GHIST 225, my professor is awesome and depicts sides of U.S. history I was never taught to look at. I actually want to do my work for this one! studying- This is more a mind over matter topic. If you can be disciplined to go somewhere quiet and focus, then good for you, but most have trouble spending multiple hours studying. CIS Major- The computer information systems major is good for someone interested in computers, but that doesnt want to end up being a programmer. The worst part about it is that you have to take all of the other required course within the College of business and a lot of these aren't of much use to most jobs I will ever encounter (accounting, marketing, finance). JMU academics- The gened requirements are structured to make sure a student gets a good general education. However, if a student wants to take some electives just to fill up credits, it is hard to find classes that a student meets the prereqs for and is not a gened. Also, some gened topics are to broad and/or bland.


My nursing professors do know my name and a handful of my GenEd professors did, especially the smaller groups, like lab groups. I believe students are competitive especially in nursing school! Many of us are Type A personality perfectionists....not always a good thing!


Professors really vary. Some of my teachers know me by name while some don't even take attendance.


One stale phrase I hear when I tell people from other schools I go here is,"JMU? Just Missed UVA, huh?" This is some people's corny way of saying that Madison is full of people who were close to getting into UVA, but settled for James Madison. Although, many people who applied to JMU also applied to UVA, I'm glad that I decided to go to here. I'm a biology major, and it's a difficult curriculum. The classes are interesting, though, because the professors care about making sure their students understand. Most classes I go to highly encourage participation in lecture, and the two biology professors I've had have been awesome people. JMU highly gears people towards being successful, useful citizens in today's society.


Some professors know my name, some don't. The class sizes aren't that big once you are in your major specific classes. How personal you get with your professor depends on the student. My favorite classes are those in my major. I hate Geneds I am a Kinesiology: Exercise Science major with a concentration in Pre-PA. I chose to do Exercise Science instead of Health science. I feel that Kinesiology offers information that I will your inside and outside of my intended profession. The teachers are great and the academic advisor (Paula) is AMAZING.


Most professors know your name, but if you are in a GenEDs class it is doubtful unless it's a class of 40 or below. My favorite class would have to be my GCOM class when I was a freshman. The professor was amazing and it made me really start to love this place, even before I got into higher level classes. My least favorite class was MATH 220. I'm not a math person, and the class is just bad if you don't have the right professor. Students study a lot, but also play a lot. Don't come near the library during finals week, you won't be able to find a place to sit. Class participation is common, but unlikely in a huge lecture class. It's usually a part of your grade and it is expected by most professors. JMU students do have intellectual conversations outside of class and take delight in what they learn here. From what I know students aren't really that competitive. We are all on the same level and if one has a higher GPA than the other it doesn't make that person like the other any less. We are all here to learn, not compete. The most unique class that I have taken would have to be Sociology of Consumption. It taught us about American's and what they consume and how you can actually live without material items. My major is Psychology. It's one of the bigger majors on campus and you have to apply to be accepted into it. I love the department and we just got a new building so it's nice to go there and call it our own. Everyone is really close and open to helping each other which makes it a great atmosphere for us to learn. No, i do not spend time with my professors outside of class, but one has a facebook and we keep in touch. I think that the requirements are good, just the Gened's can be a little bit boring and make students feel the need to say that they are stupid. Overall, JMU does a very good job with requirements. It's geared to prepare you for a job, but also make you learn in the process. We have a great university that wants us to succeed and be educated in the process.


it depends on the size of the class as to whether or not a professor is going to know your name -favorite classes are my major classes; least favorite are science classes -dont really socialize with professors outside of class, there are some opportunities depending on the professor though -education is in between getting a job and learning for learning sake; some classes aren't necessary, but you need the credits in order to graduate


most professors do not know my name. my favorite class has been in my major but i cant take most of my htm classes till senior year. my least favorite has been geneds. students study based on their major. as a business student i study a lot. class participation is usually dominated by a few people. i would say more conversations out of class are social then intellectual. i do not spend time with professors out of class. the education at jmu is geared for an overall education not towards a career.


Professors are amazing


-In my small classes the professors know my name and say hi to me around campus - I see students studying all the time -I dont know much about SCOM major because I just declared but I heard the teachers are great! -My education is mainly to get a job


Some professors know my name, most don't, there are could be anywhere from 4 to 150 people in a class. My favorite class is anatomy, my teach is animated and personable, she tries to make everything relate to us. I don't have a least favorite class this semester, but last semester it was Children's Language, my professor was awful! Students study an average amount. Like any college student, most procrastinate, I'm the worst, I barely ever study and when I do I procrastinate to last minute so there's not much time to study. Class participation is common, especially if you are in a class that focuses on discussion and a teacher who wants student feedback. JMU students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, and better yet they take what they learn and they apply it. A friend of mine just lead a Uganda awareness week, it was amazing to me all that she had done. Students can be pretty competitive, but we're not so intense that we're obnoxious. We know we're not perfect, we know we're not always the best, we aren't in class to do better than everyone, we have realistic perspectives. I haven't taken too many unique classes but I look forward to taking a leadership class and a military science class. My major is Communications Sciences and Disorders, I aspire to be a speech-language pathologist. The department is ok, sometimes a little frustrating. It is not a huge major so most classes are only offered at one time. I do not spend a lot of time outside of class with professors but I know lots of people who do. I have mixed feelings about JMU's academic requirements. I have different opinions about the general education program. I feel like most of the requirements should be more of optional for those students who are undecided. I feel it is unnecessary to have so many general education requirements that are similar to high school subjects. The education at JMU is geared toward both getting a job and learning, your major courses really prepare you to get a job in that field. Gen Eds and electives are mostly for the sake of learning and making you a more well rounded person.


Some professors know my name, depends on class size and such. My favorite class is Anatomy this semester the professor is enthusiastic and outgoing. My least favorite is History because I absolutely hate history. Right before a test students study pretty often, in between tests, not so much. Class participation is common. We do have intellectual conversations outside of class, you just have to catch us at the right time and place. Students are very competitive, everyone wants to be the best. The most unique class so far is Global Politics. My major is Nursing however I have not been accepted into the program yet so I am just taking pre-reqs until I find out whether or not I have gotten in. The only time I spend with any of my professors outside of class is during office hours. I think JMU's academic requirements are tough but fair. Education at JMU is both geared towards getting a career and learning for it's own sake.


In the Communications department, professors do know most students by name. I gave a presentation yesterday with two professors and five other students during a CHOICES meeting (an open house for accepted students). I continually nodded in agreement as I listened to my professors speak about how they care about their students, both inside and outside of the classroom. On the same note, it's important to say that by no means do they suffocate us, but I know I can walk into their office hours with any topic on my mind. Class participation is very common. I would say the majority of my classes have been around 20-30 people or less. Classes are even smaller once you reach upper level courses, for example four out of five of my current classes has 15 or less students. I love the student/teacher ratio because it really allows for everyone to voice their opinions or ideas. As I already mentioned, JMU professors are really interested in hearing student's viewpoints, and every class that I have been in has encouraged participation (even since Freshmen year). I think JMU has good academic requirements. We have a really strong general education program which everyone is required to take. The Gen-Ed program is beneficial for undeclared students since you have to take a variety of classes, you can see which school might be the best fit for you. Although, it's annoying to have to take classes that are your weakness (math and science for me), you also take classes that you never expected to like. For instance, I had to take an art history class Freshmen year, and it turned out to be one of my favorites - I actually found it fun and relaxing to read the textbook, which I never thought I would think of any class. Therefore, I encourage students to experiment when choosing Gen-Ed's because you might really enjoy a class you never expected.