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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Shepherd University’s Teacher Education Program have NCATE accreditation?

Yes, our Teacher Education Program is fully accredited. In the fall of 2011, we received full accreditation (with no deficiencies noted) from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

How long will it take me to get my degree in Education?

This depends in part on what program you are interested in, whether you are a beginning first-year student or a transfer student, and whether or not you meet the requirements in a timely fashion. Both the elementary education program and the secondary education program can be completed in four years and many of our graduates (those coming into Shepherd as a first-year student) have done just that.

The professional education requirements for elementary education require 7 semesters to complete. The professional education requirements for secondary education require 6 semesters to complete. In both degree programs, the extra semesters (to total 8 semesters) are required in order to complete the content requirements in both the General Studies curriculum and the Specialty Studies curriculum.

There are specific requirements that students must meet in order to enter the Teacher Education program (which occurs after the third course in the professional studies curriculum) and until these requirements are met, the student cannot progress forward in any professional education course requirements.

To graduate from Shepherd University, you must successfully complete 120 credit hours (45 of these hours must be in classes at the 300 or above level).

Do I need a minor?

Both of the majors, Elementary Education and Secondary Education, are comprehensive degree programs, meaning that you will have completed the graduation requirements by taking the required courses in the degree program, plus one or two electives.

Will I have an advisor?

All students who identify their major as Elementary Education are assigned an advisor in the School of Education. You will be assigned an advisor at the beginning of your first semester at Shepherd University. Students who identify their major as Secondary Education are assigned an advisor in their field of certification. For example, if you are interested in English Education, your advisor is the Specialization Coordinator for English Education and if you are interested in Art Education, your advisor is the Specialization Coordinator for Art Education. In this way, you have an advisor who knows the education program requirements as well as the particular requirements for your field.

What makes Shepherd University’s Teacher Education Program unique?

There are many things that make our program unique. First, we incorporate field experiences in all professional education courses. Thus, a student will find out early in the program if teaching is the right career path for them. As well, students have discovered that instead of elementary education, they may be interested in secondary education, or vice versa.

Second, we believe strongly that attention to diversity and social justice, students with exceptionalities, and technology are such important components of education that they need to be discussed and examined throughout our education courses. We do not require separate courses on these topics, rather, students examine these issues throughout their program.

Another aspect of uniqueness is in relation to our geographic location. Shepherdstown West Virginia, where Shepherd University is located, is 70 miles from both Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Students have the opportunity to work in schools that are in rural parts of West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, schools that are in more suburban areas in Virginia and Maryland, and schools that are more urban in Washington, D.C. The urban option is only available during the student teaching semester, but several of our students opt for this experience. Currently, we have only placed Elementary Education students in D.C., but we are looking into the possibilities for placing Secondary Education students there as well.

Do I need to have a foreign language?

No, the Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Secondary Education do not have a foreign language requirement.

Can I get a master’s degree?

Shepherd University now offers a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction. This program is designed for teachers who are already certified. This degree does not lead to certification.

I am a transfer student; will my courses count at Shepherd University?

What courses count will depend upon the courses you took and the grades you received in those courses. Transfer students must have a “transcript evaluation” (completed upon admission) to determine which courses from your previous institution(s) will count toward requirements in our program.

Can I take classes at night?

The only Professional Education courses that are offered in the evenings are: EDUC 150, Seminar in Teaching and EDUC 200 Foundations of American Education. The other courses have extensive field components that take place in the public schools, and thus must be offered at the time that public schools are in session.

What courses do I need to take?

The courses that you need to take fall into three categories, General Studies, Professional Studies, and Specialty Studies. These are listed in our catalog, on our web page and you can also find these courses in your Specialization Handbook. This Handbook is one of the required texts for your EDUC 150 Seminar in Education course. As stated above, all students must take this course, so you will get this Handbook in your very first course at Shepherd University.

What is the sequence of courses I need to take?

The Professional Education courses do have a required sequence. The sequence for Elementary Education is as follows: EDUC 150 -> EDUC 200 -> EDUC 320-> (Juncture 1 must be passed} EDUC 351 -> EDUC 352 ->(Juncture 2 must be passed} EDUC 400 and EDUC 450 -> EDUC 460.

The sequence for Secondary Education is as follows: EDUC 150 -> EDUC 200 -> EDUC 320 ->(Juncture 1 must be passed} EDUC 370 -> EDUC 435 and EDUC 42X¹->(Juncture 2 must be passed} EDUC 400 and EDUC 45X².

-> means “is a prerequisite for”
¹This course number is determined by your major. It is named, Special Methods in Math (or English, or Social Studies, or Art, etc.).
²This course number is determined by your major. The numbers are different for K-12, 5-9, 5-12, or 9-12 certifications.

There might be courses that are required in a certain sequence or at certain times in your program. This information can be obtained in the catalog (prerequisites are listed with the description of each course) and in your Specialization Handbook.

What is the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (Core), Praxis II: Specialty, and Principles of Learning and Teaching? Where do I sign up to take them?

The Praxis Series are standardized tests which are required by different states in order for you to be certified.

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (the Core) is a college level Reading, Writing and Math test. Passing scores for the state of West Virginia are needed to pass Juncture 1 and get into the Teacher Education Program.

Praxis II are the tests which examine your understanding of your content area and how students learn and principles of teaching that you have acquired in the Teacher Education Program. These tests are taken near the end of your studies and passing scores are required in order to be issued a certificate/license to teach. Passing scores on the content tests are required in order to be eligible for student teaching.

What GPA do I need in the following: Education (including Professional Studies and Specialty Studies,) Overall (including all University coursework?)

In order to be certified in the state of West Virginia, you must have a GPA of 2.5.

In order to pass Juncture 1 and enter the Teacher Education Program, you must have an overall GPA of 2.75 and a Shepherd University GPA (on at least 9 credit hours) of 2.75.

In order to Student Teach (pass Juncture 2), you must have an Education GPA of 2.75 as well as an overall GPA of 2.75, as well as a Shepherd University GPA of 2.75.

How do I find out what is needed to teach in states other than West Virginia?

The best way to get this information is to contact the state Department of Education in the state where you are interested in teaching.

I’ve been admitted to Shepherd University and have declared Education as my major. Am I automatically admitted to the Teacher Education Program? If not, what should I do to apply to the Teacher Education Program?

No, you are not automatically admitted to the Teacher Education Program. You must apply for Juncture 1, which is usually done while enrolled in EDUC 320. Juncture 1 is a set of criteria that you must meet (these criteria are outlined in your Specialization Handbook and also on our web page). If you pass Juncture 1 (meet all the criteria), you are admitted to the program.