He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge and obtained a Diploma of Education at Merton College, Oxford. He taught Classics and English at Harrow School from 1966 to 1996, as the Head of Classics from 1979. In 1996 he moved to Oxford University as Grocyn Lecturer in the Classics. In 2000 he became Dean of Wadham College, holding the position until 2006. 
He has translated four volumes of Euripides' plays for Oxford World's Classics. His other books include A Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases, The Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek, Our Greek and Latin Roots and works on Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
- Medea and Other Plays (Oxford Paperbacks) ISBN 0-19-282442-2
- A Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases (OUP) ISBN 0-19-860109-3
- Harrow School Register 2002 8th edition edited by S W Bellringer & published by The Harrow Association
- "James Morwood, Emeritus Fellow, Wadham College and Editor of Wadham Gazette". Wadham College. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- Mayer, Roland (Oct 1999). "James Morwood (ed.): A Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases.". The Classical Review (New Series) 49 (2): 597–598.
- Roggen, Vibeke (2009-10-29). "James Morwood, Mark Warman, Our Greek and Latin Roots (Review)". Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
- Thomas, David (February 1997). "James Morwood and David Crane, eds. Sheridan Studies (Review)". New Theatre Quarterly 13 (49): 91–91. doi:10.1017/s0266464x00010824.