Jun 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Shepherd University Catalog 
2022-2023 Shepherd University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Programs

First-Year Experience

First-Year Experience FYEX Courses

Career Development


Cooperative Education or Co-op

Independent Study Program

Study Abroad

TRIO/Student Support Services

Student Retention

Washington Gateway

First-Year Experience

Shepherd University is committed to providing resources for our first-year students to help them acclimate to college life, enjoy academic success, and integrate into the university community. Several course options in the first semester offer students interdisciplinary learning experiences, close ties to a faculty mentor, a community of other students to support learning, and essential information to make the transition to college easier.

Learning Communities

Learning communities are designed to link courses that students need to enroll in as part of the Core Curriculum program. A cohort of students enroll in both courses, and professors teaching the courses work together to interface course material. In some cases, the two professors team-teach and are involved in both courses. Often, the professors work together outside of the classroom to form links in course material. Relevant field trips are also part of the learning community experience. Credits are awarded based on credits assigned to each course in the learning community.

First-Year Experience FYEX Courses

First-year orientation (FYEX 100)
Interest groups (FYEX 102)

See FYEX course descriptions for more information.

Career Development within the Center for Teaching and Learning

Career planning is a developmental process that should be fostered during the entire period of a student’s involvement with the institution and beyond. The mission of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is to help students define and accomplish personal career and academic goals. The CTL carries out this mission through career and academic advising.

Career advising works with students who want to refine their career plans by offering professional, individualized career counseling, assessment, and education through the following means: up-to-date career resource library with information on graduate school, employment, and job opportunities; workshops on graduate school, résumés, interviewing, credential files, and other career-related issues; and individual appointments for individuals seeking more detailed career assistance.

Visit the career advising website at www.shepherd.edu/career-center for information related to career issues, free online job service, and links to other helpful websites for career exploration and employment opportunities.


A form of independent study that integrates classroom study with supervised work experiences, an internship enables students to acquire practical skills and to integrate the world of work with classroom knowledge. Although some interns do receive pay or subsistence benefits, the primary focus is upon the experience and the skills learned. An internship generally lasts no longer than a semester. Interns are not employees of the sponsoring company/organization. Since interns earn credit, students must enroll in an internship course and complete necessary academic work to earn a credit and a grade. An internship agreement is signed by on-site supervisor, faculty member, and student. For more information, students should check with their advisor and/or department chair in their major field of study. Internship opportunities can be found on Shepherd’s College Central Network job portal.

Practical experience is gained in local, regional, and other organizations such as government offices, museums, arts agencies, social action groups, research laboratories, and private corporations/companies. Interns learn how to translate classroom theory and methods into professional skills and opportunities. Usually offered every term. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Must have sophomore class standing with minimum 2.5 overall GPA and prior approval by the academic department. Note: Departments may have additional prerequisites; refer to specific course listings.

Cooperative Education or Co-op

Cooperative education offers the student the opportunity to integrate classroom learning and practical work experience. Besides providing employment opportunities, cooperative education enables the student to gain invaluable experience in the career field as well as the opportunity (in many programs) to earn credit toward a degree.

Student Eligibility: Students are required to have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Students must have earned at least 24 credits prior to participating in a co-op. Six credit hours within the major must be completed prior to participation.

Each academic department will have the right to establish higher standards. Departmental approval is required for those students who do not meet the minimum qualification standards.

Application Procedure: Students must first work with their academic advisors to complete a Cooperative Education Approval Form, which is located at www.shepherd.edu/cooperative-education/forms. All assignments must be approved by the academic department sponsoring the placement before the beginning of work.  Co-op students will be evaluated by an assigned faculty coordinator and the employer supervisor.

Program Flexibility: There are two co-op schedules. A parallel schedule enables the student to participate in a co-op (part-time) while attending classes. In an alternating schedule, the co-op experience (full-time) and traditional courses alternates by semester. The co-op schedule is determined by the nature of the work, the employer’s needs, and the student’s academic schedule and flexibility.

Co-op for Credit: Many departments have integrated cooperative education into their programs of study. Students should check with their academic advisor and the department chair in the major to determine which programs are participating. Students earning credit for co-op may earn between 1 to 9 credit hours per experience depending on department policy and type of experience. Co-op experiences can be completed in multiple semesters as long as the participants have not reached the credit limit associated with the department in which the student is seeking support for a co-op. Within academic programs, the co-op course is usually designated as 392.


Independent Study Program

To encourage independent reading and the spirit of research, the faculty will admit, upon recommendation of academic advisors, properly qualified students as candidates for independent study.

University credit (determined at registration for the course) of one to three semester hours will be allowed for independent programs on the recommendation of the study director with the approval of the department chair. Credit gained in independent study may not be substituted for required coursework.

To receive credit for independent study, the student must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Engage in reading and research as directed by the study director to supplement knowledge from sources not supplied by the courses taken in the major field.
  2. Submit to the department chair with the approval of the study director, not later than one week before the end of the semester, the original and two copies of an acceptable research paper embodying the findings of the study.
  3. At the discretion of the department, pass an oral examination on the subject of the research paper before an examining committee consisting of a minimum of the study director, the department chair, the provost, and another faculty member selected by the student, with the study director acting as chair. (When the department chair and the study director are the same person, another representative from the department will be named by the department chair.)

To be admitted to candidacy, a student must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Have an overall average of 3.0 in not less than 80 semester hours attempted.
  2. Have an average of 3.0 in the major field or teaching field.
  3. Submit, through his or her advisor and study director to the chair of the department concerned, a research proposal together with an abstract of the proposal.
  4. Have application approved by the chair of the department.

It is suggested that independent study may be particularly desirable to some students as a summer project.

Study Abroad


Shepherd offers a wide variety of study abroad opportunities: short-term study abroad courses (up to four weeks) led by Shepherd faculty; exchange programs for a summer, semester, or a year with one of Shepherd’s foreign university partners; or a variety of programs offered by affiliate study abroad providers for summer, semester, and year abroad. All faculty-led programs require students to be in good academic standing, and individual departments and instructors may require higher standards and/or additional requirements as prerequisites. For non-Shepherd study abroad programs, students must have earned 30 credits (15 of them at Shepherd) and have at least a 2.5 grade point average to participate.

The Study Abroad Office advises students about study abroad, coordinates faculty-led and non-Shepherd study abroad opportunities, and works with the Registrar’s Office and Financial Aid Office to facilitate the required forms for prior transfer credit approval and financial aid arrangements. Students interested in studying abroad should visit www.shepherd.edu/study-abroad, create an account, explore the opportunities on the website, and contact the office, located in Scarborough Library 211 (on the main floor), as early as possible to begin planning for their study abroad experience. 

TRIO/Student Support Services

The mission of the TRIO/Student Support Services program is to provide services that help students complete a bachelor’s degree. The program offers a diverse, caring, and supportive student-centered learning community where students can discover and utilize their potential to flourish academically and socially as they complete their degrees.

Program goals are to help students persist at the university from the beginning of one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year and to increase student GPAs and graduation rates.

At no cost, each student in the Student Support Services program will be provided the following services:

  • Academic advising
  • Academic tutoring
  • Help securing financial aid/financial literacy
  • Completion of an individual success plan
  • Monitoring of academic progress
  • Workshops on time management, study strategies, test-taking strategies, and computer skills
  • Opportunities to attend cultural and educational activities on and off campus
  • Career counseling and planning
  • Access to computers in the Student Support Services office
  • Free photocopying
  • Early course selection/registration

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and Shepherd University. Students can apply by filling out an application. The Student Support Services office is located at 152 Scarborough Library, in the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Student Success

The mission of the Office of Student Success is to provide services to help students be successful at Shepherd University. This mission is fulfilled by:

  • Helping students identify appropriate resources to address individual needs.
  • Leading through best practices by establishing university programs and services that promote student learning and development, assist students in developing strategies for academic and personal success, and help students connect with the university community.
  • Implementing strategies to improve the graduation and program completion rates.

The Office of Student Success understands that success is defined by more than a student simply returning each semester. Office staff work with students who are struggling academically, socially, and behaviorally on an individual basis to aid them to a timely graduation.

The Office of Student Success is located in room 216 in the Student Center and can be reached via email at retention@shepherd.edu or via telephone at 304-876-5453.

Washington Gateway

Shepherd University’s Washington Gateway program draws upon the resources of the nation’s capital and the university’s proximity to those resources. Committed to excellence, Shepherd University provides a series of organized, in-depth, academic, cultural, and career experiences in the political and information capital of both our nation and the entire world.

The Gateway program provides a variety of lectures, workshops, seminars, and field trip opportunities in such a way that the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore region becomes an exciting extension of the Shepherd experience.

The Washington Gateway includes five components:

  • The Washington Semester at Shepherd University (see below)
  • Support for experiential education
  • Special course offerings
  • Seminars and lectures
  • Junior High Washington Gateway program

Contact the Washington Gateway Office in room 216 of the Student Center for more information or call 304-876-5402.

Washington Gateway Courses

Each semester, unique and exciting Washington Gateway courses are sponsored by Shepherd University academic departments. These specialized courses utilize approximately 20 to 50 percent of class time in the metropolitan area. In these courses, students may visit Washington and Baltimore with faculty to observe Congress and government at work, attend concerts and cultural events, study government policy, and more. Recent Gateway course topics have included Shakespeare; Opera; Literature and the Sexes; Therapeutic Recreation in the Metro Area; and Graphic Design.

Seminar/Lecture Program

The Washington Gateway supports Shepherd’s cultural arts programs in planning and coordinating various lectures and seminars relating to the metropolitan area. A number of well-known speakers and performers from the metropolitan area visit campus regularly to speak with students, faculty, and members of the community.

Junior High Washington Gateway Program

The Junior High Washington Gateway program at Shepherd University is designed to be an educational experience for West Virginia students entering the eighth grade. Using Shepherd’s campus and the resources of the metropolitan area, the Gateway program attempts to provide a supportive learning environment that introduces students to college planning. Gateway’s primary intent is to motivate students who need the challenge to become better students and to “turn them on” to college.

The Washington Semester

The Washington Semester is a Washington Gateway program that allows a student to spend an entire semester working in Washington four days a week. The intern gets the opportunity to experience the world of work, face questions of real importance in business and national or international life, and give serious consideration to the choice of a career. The graduate then enters the job market as an applicant with demonstrated experience and references from work supervisors as well as academic advisors.

Who is Eligible: The Washington Semester is open to students from any major field. Half the 120 hours needed for graduation must be completed before the internship begins, with an overall GPA of 2.5. The student also must have completed at least nine credits in the major field or in the field most closely related to the internship, with a GPA of 2.5 in those courses. The Washington Semester is also available in the semester after the student completes all the requirements for graduation.

How it Works: The placement is tailored to the individual’s goals, interests, and skills. Interns may work in any of the branches of government, in private trade organizations, or with not-for-profit groups. There is a supervisor at the workplace who trains, directs, and evaluates the intern.

Interns commute to Washington four days a week, then spend the fifth day at Shepherd taking part in the interdisciplinary Washington Semester Seminar, open only to participants in the Washington Semester program. The fifth day also allows time for work on the seminar paper and for meetings with academic advisors.

The internship earns 12 credits; the seminar earns 3 credits. Separate letter grades are assigned to the internship and the seminar; a pass/fail option is not available. These credits are counted as electives or, with the approval of the department, as partial fulfillment of the requirements of the major field.