Jul 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Shepherd University Catalog 
2024-2025 Shepherd University Catalog

Shepherd University General Information


Shepherd University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604, 800-621-7440 www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org. Individual programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Schools of Music, West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses (WVBOERN), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions, and National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Mission Statement and Statement of Core Values


Shepherd University, a West Virginia public liberal arts university, is a diverse community of learners and a gateway to the world of opportunities and ideas. We are the regional center for academic, cultural, and economic opportunity. Our mission of service succeeds because we are dedicated to our core values: learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community.

Core Values

Committed to excellence, Shepherd University embraces the following five core values:


Shepherd University creates a community of learners who integrate teaching, scholarship, and learning into their lives. In order to create challenging, relevant experiences, inside and outside of the classroom, the university continually evaluates and assesses student learning. We recognize and accommodate diverse learning styles and perspectives necessary for global understanding.


Shepherd University fosters environments in which students, faculty, staff, and members of the community engage with each other to form mutually beneficial relationships. We believe that meaningful engagement, with ideas and with people, promotes deep learning and nurtures critical thought.


Shepherd University strives for an environment of honesty and fairness in its actions. University officials seek input from students, faculty, and staff and make informed and objective decisions. We expect all members of the community to act in accordance with this value.


Shepherd University provides services to all qualified students. Our staff and faculty are available to students and are committed to respecting and meeting individual needs. University governance and budgeting structures reflect our commitment to transparent processes and public access to information.


Shepherd University comprises a community that includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, and involved citizens. We meet the needs of this community through assessment, development, and implementation of innovative programs and initiatives. We strive to create a safe environment based on mutual respect and acceptance of differences.

Shepherd University is a state-supported institution within the West Virginia system of higher education. From its beginnings in 1871, the university has evolved into a comprehensive center of higher learning, serving a number of related, yet distinct roles:

  • The university offers baccalaureate degrees in a wide range of fields, encompassing the liberal arts, business administration, teacher education, the social and natural sciences, and other career-oriented areas. Shepherd offers master’s programs in business administration, teaching, curriculum and instruction, and college student development and administration.

  • The university provides credit courses for individuals with no degree aspirations, but who seek to broaden and update their knowledge in either familiar or new fields of intellectual endeavor.

  • For the northern Shenandoah Valley region as a whole, the university is a center for noncredit continuing education, public service, and convenient citizen access to extensive programs in art, music, theater, athletics, and other areas of public interest.

    Shepherd University has a responsibility to extend its resources beyond the campus, bringing higher education closer to those who seek it.

Vision Statement

Shepherd: A Premier Liberal Arts University

We will be a nationally respected community of learners where passion, purpose, and experience unite to inspire individuals to shape the world.

(Approved by the Shepherd University Board of Governors, 2008)

History of the University

Shepherd University began when the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, was moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in July 1871. The people of Shepherdstown and vicinity decided to use the vacated courthouse for educational purposes. An article of incorporation for a school to be known as Shepherd College, designed to instruct students “in languages, arts and sciences,” was drawn up and signed by C.W. Andrews, A.R. Boteler, C.T. Butler, G.M. Beltzhoover, David Billmyer, Samuel Knott, and Henry Shepherd. This body of incorporators gave itself power to elect instructors, pay salaries, and prescribe courses of study. Professor Joseph McMurran was appointed first principal of the institution, which opened with 42 students in September 1871, under the authority of the Board of Trustees.

On February 27, 1872, the Legislature of West Virginia passed the following act: “That a branch of the State Normal School be and the same is hereby established at the building known as Shepherd College, in Shepherdstown, in the county of Jefferson.”

Shepherd became a four-year college for the training of teachers on July 1, 1930, at which time the institution began granting the Bachelor of Arts degree. Shepherd was authorized to implement liberal arts programs in 1943, and in 1950 the Bachelor of Science degree was added. Shepherd currently offers the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in elementary education, Bachelor of Arts in secondary education, Bachelor of Arts in early education, Bachelor of Music Education, Bachelor of Music in Performance, Regents Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Also in 1950 Shepherd was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and in 1951 it became a member of the Association of American Colleges. In 2009 Shepherd became a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.

In the past two decades, Shepherd has added many new buildings and campus improvements, including the $9 million Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center; the $18 million addition to the Scarborough Library, which also houses the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education; the $10 million Erma Ora Byrd Hall nursing classroom building; the $10 million Center for Contemporary Arts Phase I; the $13.88 million Center for Contemporary Arts Phase II; the $21.6 million Wellness Center; the $5.6 million pedestrian underpass, and Potomac Place, a $22.7 million residence hall complex, on West Campus.

Shepherd’s Martinsburg Center at 261 Aikens Center just off Edwin Miller Boulevard opened fall 2013, offering working adult learners.

Scenic and Historic Location

Shepherd University is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, on the banks of the Potomac River, in historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The oldest town in the state, Shepherdstown is a quaint university community, with the town and campus combining to offer a unique learning-living environment.

Located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, Shepherdstown is within 20 miles of nearby Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It is only 65 miles from the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland. Within a short hike or drive of the campus are such well-known historic landmarks as Harpers Ferry and the Antietam Battlefield. Across the Potomac River from the campus is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The C & O Canal National Historical Park, developed along the towpath of the old canal, is a beautiful recreational sanctuary, extending 184.5 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown, in the nation’s capital. Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia, as well as New York and Philadelphia, are all within a few hours drive of Shepherdstown. Guest lecturers and performers, field trips, internships, and career opportunities are advantages directly related to the location of Shepherd University.