Student walking through campus

Join us

We're looking forward to welcoming you

We cannot wait for you to join us at James Madison University!

Beginning your studies with us

When you join us on campus you can look forward to a safe, fun and inclusive learning experience as you build cultural experiences and create networks for your future. You will be surrounded by a supportive community of international students and expert staff, ensuring you have the best possible start to your study experience. 

COVID-19 vaccinations

In a demonstration of its commitment to safety and wellbeing, JMU strongly recommends that students be vaccinated for COVID-19.

All students are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free in Virginia, and clinics are readily available at many locations. The JMU University Health Center will have vaccines available in August. For more details, visit the James Madison University website

Your next steps

Once you’ve been offered and accepted your place to study with us, you can start preparing for university. We’re here to make this process as easy as possible for you. To start with, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done a few important things:

  • Confirm your place. The first thing to do after you receive an offer is pay your deposit. You must do this in order to confirm your place. You can then begin the student visa process. To see what payment is required, and pay it online, visit our fees page.
  • Apply for your visa. You can find out more about the visa application process on our arriving in Harrisonburg page.
  • Review the JMU International Student Guidebook for important details about your JMU experience.


Orientation is a great way to get to know JMU before starting your studies. Orientation is required and you will not be able to begin your classes until you have completed it. The three principal goals for Orientation are:

  1. To help you get acquainted with university and JMU systems and regulations.
  2. To provide you with a brief introduction to online learning.
  3. To help you get prepared for classes by getting familiar with Canvas (our learning management system), MyMadison, and meeting professors and staff.

There will be opportunities to have virtual interaction with students who are part of in-person orientation as well as with LINKers – international student mentors who will help you adjust to college life.

Course registration

During Orientation, and once your final placement is confirmed, you will be able to register for your classes. You will be given a class schedule that is either set or includes limited options, and you will register for your courses within MyMadison. Your class schedule will be based on classes that are currently available, as well as your major

Placement testing

As part of Orientation, you will take three assessments that will help us to make sure that you are placed in the correct classes. It is important to remember that you cannot fail these tests; they only help us to make sure you’re in the right classes for you. If we determine that your language skills are higher or lower than your original study plan, we will shift your program to fit your needs so you can get the most out of your studies.

Versant English placement test

This test helps us confirm your English level. The test uses artificial intelligence to monitor the testing process, so please follow all instructions and be sure you have a working camera.

Oral interview

You will have a brief informal interview with one of our professors to get a sense of your speaking skills.

Math placement test

This math test assesses your current knowledge so that we can place you in the appropriate math class. There is no need to worry, as you cannot fail this test. We simply use the results to find out if you need to take Statistics or Calculus, or if you need some additional background before taking a higher level math course.

Get prepared with Start Smart

When you enroll at JMU, you will benefit from Start Smart at no additional cost – so you are prepared to start your courses with the skills you need to succeed.

You’ll receive early exposure to your university education and experience – ensuring you begin James Madison University with confidence. With Start Smart, you will:

  • Meet and interact with staff before you arrive
  • Join an international community of fellow students from all over the world
  • Study a blended course model, combining interactive sessions with the flexibility to learn on your own schedule
  • Develop your skills through interactive one-to-one and group discussions

In this free course, you’ll be introduced to a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Navigating a learning management system (LMS)
  • US culture
  • Reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Learning and success

At the end of Start Smart, you’ll receive a certificate to show you completed the modules before progressing on to your program.

Community & support

The JMU experience is available wherever you are in the world. By using platforms such as Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook, you can join the community through activities such as:

  • Live lunches with your classmates
  • Quarantine and Chill movie days
  • Sharing pictures of where you’re attending classes
  • Spirit Days: Show your JMU Spirit
  • Share your favorite songs for studying or relaxing
  • Games and TikTok competitions
  • Cooking demonstrations and karaoke


Like all JMU students, ISC students have access to the following resources:

  • The Learning Centers (Math, Writing, and Communications) — Online support for your academic needs.
  • English Language Learner Services (ELLS) — specific online support for students who are not native English speakers.
  • JMU Libraries — Online resources available including ebooks, reference materials, and databases.
  • The Counseling Center — Online assistance and resource guidance for students who are struggling with personal issues.
  • Global X Program — The international student mentor program will operate online as well to help you get to know other JMU students.
  • Clubs and Organizations — Several of JMU’s clubs and organizations are considering online interaction for students unable to be present on campus (participation varies by club).

Speak to your advisor

Your personal Student Success Manager will work with you on a one-to-one basis to be sure your time at the ISC is successful. They will do this monitoring your academic progress and helping you access campus resources should you need help.

We will discuss the specifics of your advising meetings at Orientation. During the first week of class, you will receive an email asking for your availability for a synchronous Zoom advising meeting. Just reply to the email with a convenient time and your appointment is scheduled!

Duy, from Vietnam

What our students say

“Studying the ISC program provided me with enough skills to do better in class, helped me with research skills, with English, communication and American culture, to help us fit in to American society. I think studying in the ISC is very good for new students like me to get used to the environment around here.”

Duy, from Vietnam. Studying Computer Information Systems