Providing quality and innovative graduate and post-graduate programs to integrate ongoing regional, national, and global educational demands and career trends. (2019)
Shepherd University School of Graduate and Professional Studies is an innovative and diverse community of educators, scholars, learners, and professionals committed to advancing excellence in higher education. The faculty educate students to be lifelong learners and preeminent professionals in a global community spanning civic, ethical, and social challenges. The School embraces the Shepherd University mission statement with its emphasis on the core values of learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community. (2019)
History of Graduate Programs
Shepherd University was founded in 1871 as a normal school and has become a university with graduate studies at the master’s and doctoral levels. Since 2003 with the initial graduate program, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Shepherd University has offered multiple programs. The addition of graduate studies at a university with a long history of undergraduate programs requires a dedication toward creating a graduate culture that is fostered by faculty, staff, and students.
Graduate Studies was granted at Shepherd University because of:
- The need for graduate education in the eastern West Virginia panhandle that was based on a liberal arts education and at a public university
- The need for current professionals in education and business to improve their skills
- To help improve the economic development in the region with advanced degrees for those in specific professions.
- Provide a graduate level education for those seeking life-long learning and re- certification.
The emphasis of graduate studies at Shepherd has remained focused on those four primary reasons with the development of specific master’s degrees in education and business, and graduate level continuing education for those who require re-certification. Plans for additional graduate programs maintain this similar focus.
Shepherd University’s emphasis still remains with a liberal arts undergraduate mission as indicated its member in the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), where traditionally less than 10% of all students at each of the member institutions are graduate students. At Shepherd, graduate students remain less than 5% of the total student population. Therefore, creating a graduate culture throughout the University has and will continue to be a significant transformational process in the structure of the organization that is still predominately undergraduate oriented. New policies and procedures that help guide graduate studies are continuously in development to ensure graduate studies operations run effectively and efficiently within the undergraduate culture.
Graduate Studies were originally administered from what is now the College of Nursing, Education and Health Sciences since the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction was Shepherd University’s first graduate program. From that first graduate program, the configuration of graduate degrees, graduate courses for re-certification, and non-degree graduate certificates has grown and supported by multiple disciplines. The current configuration for graduate studies is a School of Graduate and Professional Studies which administers doctoral and master’s degree programs, non-degree post-baccalaureate certificates, courses for re-certification, and life-long learning opportunities. The leadership for all graduate studies at Shepherd has also grown from a part-time Graduate Director to a full-time Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Current graduate programs at Shepherd University, in their order of student enrollment, are:
- Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction (MA-CI) – 2003
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) – 2005
- Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – 2006. The degree was originally a collaborative program with Marshall University until 2006.
- Master of Arts in College Student Development Administration (MA-CSDA) – 2006
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – 2015
- Master of Science in Data Analytics and Information Systems (MA-DAIS) – 2018
- Master of Arts in Appalachian Studies (MA-APST) – 2019
- First Dual Master’s Degrees (MA-CSDA & MBA) – 2020
Several non-degree certificates including Appalachian studies (2014), Business Management (2017), Health Administration (2017), Sports Management (2017), Foundations in Higher Education (2020), Management Information Systems (2020), Family Nurse Practitioner (2021), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (2021).