Aug 15, 2022  
2014-2015 Shepherd University Catalog 
2014-2015 Shepherd University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Policies

Graduate Student Admission Criteria

Applicants for admission to full graduate status at Shepherd University must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a minimum college grade point average of 2.75. Students who do not meet these standards may, at the discretion of the program director, be admitted on a provisional basis. Provisional admission normally requires a score of 390 or higher on the Miller Analogy Test or scores of 440 or higher on the verbal and 560 or higher on the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Exam.

Individual programs also have the following requirements:

Master of College Student Development and Administration (CSDA)

Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction

  • Applicants for the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction who are currently licensed teachers must provide a copy of their teacher certification with their application.
  • Applicants for the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction who are not licensed teachers, but who are educational professionals, must supply
    • 3 letters of reference from individuals who can speak to your work in an educational setting
    • A letter of intent that describes your proposed discipline-specific content strand area and how you envision using the M.A. degree and your content strand area to enhance your personal and career goals.

Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction: Multi-Categorical Special Education

  • Special requirements: Students taking the five courses to receive the special education endorsement will be required to have already received the initial licensure in either elementary education or secondary education in one of five content areas (English, math, social studies, science, or biology). In addition to completing the five required courses in the concentration, students must also pass the Praxis II (Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications).

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.):

Prerequisite courses: Although not required for admission to the program, 
some foundational experience in business and economics is crucial to success in upper-division quantitative courses in the Shepherd M.B.A. program. Prerequisite requirements can be met by successful completion of the following coursework at the undergraduate level with a grade of “B” or higher within the last seven years:

  • Principles of Accounting
  • Principles of Economics
  • Statistics

Applicants who lack this undergraduate coursework can fulfill the foundations requirement in one of three ways.

  • Taking the appropriate graduate foundations coursework (M5FDA, M5FDE, M5FDS).
  • Passing the appropriate CLEP test(s).
  • Submitting a portfolio of work-related experience, or requesting an evaluation of academic coursework by the M.B.A. coordinator.
  • This requirement must be completed within the first nine credits taken in the M.B.A. program or within one year of admission to the program, whichever comes first.

Standardized test score:

  • A score of 400 or more on the GMAT or
  • A score of 235 or more on the M.B.A. Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) or a score of 140 or more on the Business MFAT*.
  • This requirement must be completed within the first nine credits taken in the M.B.A. program or within one-year of admission to the program, whichever comes first.

*Shepherd offers the Business MFAT on campus once each semester. Please contact the M.B.A. program coordinator for dates.

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.):

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with an overall 2.75 GPA in all higher education coursework.
  • A 2.5 GPA in the content courses for the area in which certification is sought.
  • Completion of ENGL 101, ENGL 102, and COMM 202 with grades of C or above in each course.
  • A passing score (or appropriate waiver) on the Praxis I (PPST).
  • Completion of at least 50% of all undergraduate content area work required for certification (with grades of C or better) OR
  • Completion of at least 25% of all undergraduate content area work required for certification (with grades of C or better) and a passing score on the Praxis II Content Specialization Test for the certification content area.

Appalachian Studies Certificate (Graduate):

Admissions Requirements:

  • Students wishing to pursue a graduate certificate in Appalachian Studies may enroll as a certificate-only student or may pursue the certificate while working toward any graduate degree, as certificate study will serve to add an extra dimension to one’s understanding of the region and better serve students’ workforce and professional goals.
  • Students interested in the Appalachian Studies Certificate Program should apply for graduate studies admission to Shepherd University as a certificate/professional development student, selecting on the application form Certificate in Appalachian Studies. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a 2.5 minimum GPA in order to apply.

Provisional Admission

Provisional status may be granted to applicants who do not qualify for full graduate status. Students admitted on provisional status must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 during their first six graduate credit hours in a graduate program, and specifically not including undergraduate classes taken to satisfy content deficiencies for teacher certification. Students admitted provisionally and who do not obtain full admission for the required grade point average will be dismissed from their program and considered ineligible for further graduate study at Shepherd. Provisional status does not apply to the Master of Arts in Teaching.

Non-Degree Admissions

Students seeking graduate studies without matriculating (meaning they are not yet admitted) may do so with permission of the dean of graduate studies and continuing education. A non-degree-seeking form must be filled out prior to the start of classes and a petition requested if starting after add/drop but before classes start. The ability to take and complete graduate courses as a non-degree-seeking student does not indicate that a student will be admitted to a graduate degree program.

Transient Admissions

Students seeking graduate studies without matriculating and wishing to transfer courses taken at Shepherd University to another university may do so with permission of the dean of graduate studies and continuing education. Transient students must fill out a non-degree-seeking form prior to start of classes and a petition requested if starting after add/drop but before classes start. A transient student may subsequent apply to a Shepherd University graduate program, but the ability to take and complete graduate courses as a transient student does not indicate that a student will be admitted to a graduate degree program.

International Applicants

International students are encouraged to apply to Shepherd University and must follow the process in the admissions requirements for undergraduate students. A test of language proficiency is required for international graduate students except in the case of a diploma or degree from an accredited college or university in which the primary language of instruction is in English

Senior Shepherd University Students Taking Graduate Courses at Shepherd University

Any senior Shepherd University student who has earned a minimum of 96 credits with a minimum 2.75 GPA, may apply to the Graduate Council to take a Shepherd University graduate course, up to a maximum of 9 credits. Credits earned in this manner may be applied EITHER to the undergraduate program OR held in reserve for a future Shepherd University graduate degree. Approval to take graduate courses for undergraduate or reserve graduate credit does not constitute a guarantee or promise of future admission to a Shepherd University graduate program. Tuition and fees will be charged at the undergraduate tuition rate.

Veterans Benefits

All veterans, regardless of rank, branch, or active versus reserve/guard, are encouraged to take advantage of graduate courses at Shepherd University. Please see the veterans website found at for full details on veterans benefits at Shepherd University.

Policies Governing Student Status


Academic Advising

The first point of contact for graduate studies advising is the graduate coordinator. Each graduate program may have specific graduate faculty advisors as well for specific content areas. At any time a student believes he/she needs additional advising and the graduate faculty advisor or graduate coordinator is not available, the student can contact the office of the dean of graduate studies and continuing education for advising.


When a graduate student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 the student will be placed on probation. Students on probation must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 during the first six credit hours of their probationary status and must return their cumulative graduate GPA to 3.0 during the first 12 hours of their probationary status. Students who do not meet these criteria will be dismissed.


All graduate students are expected to complete their degrees in an appropriate time and manner. All incompletes must be completed by the next respective fall or spring semester (i.e., incompletes in fall must be complete the following spring semester, incompletes in spring must be complete in the following fall semester. Incompletes in the summer must be complete by the following fall semester). 

Graduate students in good academic standing who must discontinue their studies for a brief time will be considered eligible to re-enroll in future semesters, as long as they return after an absence of no more than two consecutive regular semesters (not including summer sessions). Graduate students who are suspended (see suspension/dismissal policy, below) or who are absent from studies for more than two consecutive regular semesters (not including summer sessions) must re-apply through the Office of Admissions. Graduate students wishing to return after a brief absence, and who do not need to re-apply through the Office of Admissions, should contact their program coordinator for advisement.

Sunset Clause

Students enrolled in graduate studies at Shepherd University must complete the program within seven years, based on the date of admission to the degree program. Students may apply for renewal by submitting a letter to the Graduate Council with justification for continued studies in the program.

Plan of Study Form

All graduate students must complete the Plan of Study Form in consultation with their academic advisor by no later than registration for the 12th credit hour. The purpose of the form is to detail the student’s program requirements, including culminating experiences such as student teaching and comprehensive exams.


A student on probation will be dismissed when

  • The student’s GPA in the first six credit hours of probation falls below 3.0
  • The student fails to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 after 12 credit hours of probation

Once a student is dismissed from a graduate program, the student may not enroll in any other graduate program at Shepherd University without explicit permission from the Graduate Council.

Appeals of Student Status

Students placed on provisional status, probation, or suspension may appeal that status to the Graduate Council by writing a letter to the dean of graduate studies and continuing education outlining the rationale for the appeal. Appeals denied by the Graduate Council may be appealed to the vice president of academic affairs. The vice president will only consider appeals that deal with substantial procedural errors in the decision of the Graduate Council.

Transfer of Credit

Graduate courses from other institutions or other Shepherd University graduate programs will be evaluated, at the time of admission, by the dean and/or the coordinator of the program to which the applicant is applying, or the department chair in which the course is offered.

  • Up to nine credit hours may be transferred to a Shepherd graduate program from another institution or program, either prior to starting the program or during the program, at the discretion of the program coordinator in consultation with the department chair and the dean. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis by the dean if it would inappropriately prolong the graduation of a student.
  • Courses transferred to a Shepherd graduate program must have a minimum grade of “B,” and must have been taken within seven years based on the date of admission to the degree program (see sunset clause).

Transferring from One Shepherd Graduate Program to Another

Students enrolled in one graduate program at Shepherd University may apply to transfer to another graduate program without applying for readmission to graduate studies. Students must fill out a Change of Program form and pay a fee of $20. Students applying for a transfer must be in good standing (not on academic probation or suspension) in the graduate program that they are transferring from and must meet all requirements of, and be accepted by, the program to which they are transferring.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty in all its forms, including plagiarism on written or visual work, is considered an academic matter to be controlled and acted upon by the individual faculty member.

Students guilty of academic dishonesty on examinations in any course shall receive, as a minimum penalty, a grade of F in that course. Such action shall be taken by the instructor, with written notification to the vice president for academic affairs. Repeated offenses shall subject the student to suspension or dismissal from the university. Students involved in facilitating academic dishonesty among others, such as by the unauthorized dissemination of examination materials, will be subject to disciplinary action beyond that called for by their own academic dishonesty in a course.

Plagiarism is “the act of stealing and using, as one’s own, the ideas, or the expression of the ideas of another.” Whether that other is another student or a published author, plagiarism is cheating.

Guidelines and policies affecting dishonesty and most other aspects of student life may be found in the Shepherd University Student Handbook.

Grading System

Summary of Grading System

Grade    Explanation Point Value per
Semester Hour
A   Superior 4
B   Acceptable 3
C   Minimum grade accepted for credit 2
D   Unacceptable; credit not accepted toward graduation 1
F   Failure 0
IF   Irregular withdrawal 0
I   Incomplete, must be completed by date registered on incomplete form* -
W   Withdraw without grade point penalty* -

*Not used in computation of grade point average
* Incomplete grades must be made up within one semester or the grade of I becomes a grade of F.

Summary of Withdrawal Dates


Action: Dropping a class.
Form required: None-drop course on RAIL
Date: First five class days.
Resulting Grade: Dropped course does not appear on the transcript.

Action: Withdrawing from a class.
Form required: Course Withdrawal Slip-obtain from advisor
Date: Sixth class day through Friday of the twelfth week of classes.
Resulting Grade: W.

Action: Complete withdrawal from the University.
Form required: Semester Withdrawal Form-obtain from Registrar
Date: From the sixth class day through the last class day of the semester.
Resulting Grade: W

The withdrawal procedure is incomplete until all necessary signatures have been secured and the appropriate forms returned to the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Graduate Studies by the specified time stated in the current academic year calendar.

Any counseling provided to a student from any employee of the university that is at a variance with established university policies, must be confirmed by the vice president for academic affairs. Although a student may receive advice from any agent of the university, the final responsibility for a decision concerning withdrawal rests with the student, in consultation with the course instructor, and in accordance with university policies.

Graduate Student Code of Conduct

The student code of conduct was enacted primarily to set forth in a clear and concise manner the rules and regulations expected of those who join the university campus and/or participate in any university-sponsored activity. Keeping the core missions of the university in mind, the code is

  • to foster the scholarly and civic development of the university’s students in a safe and secure learning environment,
  • to protect the people, properties, and processes that support the university and its missions, and
  • to preserve academic freedom and free and open exchange of ideas and opinions for all members of the university.

All graduate students are subject to the provisions of the Shepherd University Guidelines and Policies as outlined in the Shepherd University Student Handbook. The handbook includes sections on academic code of conduct, community expectations, and the judicial process. Copies of the handbook are available from the Student Affairs Office in the Student Center. Guidelines and policies are also available in pdf format at