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Major Changes

How does a student change a major/minor or teaching field?
A student may change his/her major or teaching field(s) at any time he/she chooses, but the student should be aware that a change of major or teaching field may postpone the graduation date until all new requirements are met. The Academic Change form is available in the Advising Assistance Center or the Registrar’s Office, or online.

What is an Academic Change form?
An Academic Change form is used to change and/or add the following: degree, major, teaching field, advisor, minor, or concentration.

Advising and Academic Help

Where can a student get academic help?
The student should first go to the instructor. If additional help is needed, the student should go to the Academic Support Center located in the Howard N. Carper, Jr. Learning Commons in the Scarborough Library.  Students can request free tutoring services through the Academic Support Center at

Who is my advisor? How are advisors assigned? How do I change my advisor?
You can find your advisor by checking in RAIL: Student ->Student Records -> View Student Information. Department Chairs are responsible for assigning all advisors. If a student wishes to change his/her advisor, the student should contact the Chair of the Department of his/her major. This change can take place any time after the third week of a semester. The student must complete and return an Academic Change form.

CLEP and Credits from Other Sources

Is it possible for a student to challenge/or receive credit for a course by examination?
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a testing program for students who feel their experience and knowledge of a particular subject field are such that they could waive course credit through examination. Credit for a limited number of subjects is available through CLEP testing. For more information see the CLEP testing webpage here. Individual departments may also have policies to allow students to receive credit for courses through an examination process. Contact the individual instructors or department chairs for more information.

How is one class substituted for another one?
All substitutions required the completion of a Substitution/Waiver form signed by the Academic Advisor and Department Chair of the required course.

Can a student take courses elsewhere after enrolling at Shepherd University?
A student wishing to take course work at another institution after enrolling at Shepherd must obtain permission before enrolling at another institution for courses. Transfer Approval form (more commonly known as the “Green form”) is available in the Advising Assistance Center, the Office of the Registrar, or online. When the appropriate signatures have been obtained, the form must be returned to the Office of the Registrar.  Please see the Shepherd University Catalog for more specific information regarding choice of courses.

Add/Drop, RAIL, Grades

When is the ADD/DROP period?
During the first five days of a regular semester or the first two days of each summer session, students are permitted to change their original schedule. The adding and dropping of classes will be permitted via RAIL during this time period. See posted signs for the designated area to process time conflicts and overrides.

What is RAIL?
RAIL stands for Remote Access Information Line. RAIL provides web based services, enabling students to register online, add and drop classes during the Add/Drop period, access their class schedule, access final grades, access their financial aid information, and more.

What is a CRN?
CRN refers to Course Request Number. This five-digit number is found at the far-left column of the Shepherd University Schedule of Classes. It is an identification number for each section of a course and required for RAIL or in-person registration.

What is a PIN?
The login PIN stands for Personal Identification Number and is the student’s birth date–unless previously changed. A student’s advisor during academic advisement provides an alternate PIN after the student’s schedule has been approved. A student will not be able to register without a login PIN and an alternate PIN.

What is a full-time student?
Shepherd University defines a full-time student as one taking 12 or more credit hours per fall/spring semester. A student taking 6 hours in one summer session is defined as full-time.

What is a part-time student?
Shepherd University defines a part-time student as one taking 11 or fewer credit hours per fall/spring semester. A student taking fewer than 6 hours in one summer session is defined as part-time.

How does a student receive a grade of W (Withdraw)?
A student receives a grade of W by withdrawing from any class after the first five days of class (Add/Drop period) through the 4 p.m. on the 2nd Friday after midterm week. See the Academic Calendar for the specific date each semester. The form used to withdraw from a class is now available online. The form must be signed by the Academic Advisor and the instructor of the withdrawn class and then turned into the Office of the Registrar by the deadline listed in the Academic Calendar.

What is the difference between a Drop and a Withdrawal from a class?
A Drop must be completed within the first five (5) days of classes and will not be reflected on the transcript.
A Withdrawal must be completed by 4 p.m. on the 2nd Friday after midterm week. See the Academic Calendar for specific dates. A grade of “W” will be reflected on the transcript.

Under what circumstances would a student receive a grade of I (Incomplete)?
A grade of I may be given to a student who has completed the majority of requirements for the course but because of extenuating circumstances may be unable to complete all stated requirements of the course.  A student must communicate with the professor of the class for which the student wishes to request an Incomplete. If the professor is in agreement, the professor will submit the proper form to the Office of the Registrar  with the final grade roster containing the Incomplete grade. Students must submit work required to complete the course to the instructor at least ten days prior to the date that final grades are due for the following regular semester. (For example, fall semester incomplete work would be due prior to the end of the following spring semester.) When the work has been evaluated, the instructor must return all copies of the incomplete grade form to the Office of the Registrar with the new grade, no later than the date that final grades are due for the current semester. If the Incomplete grade is not made up according to schedule, it automatically becomes an F. When an incomplete grade is changed, the student’s grade point average is recomputed.

May a student take courses on a Pass/Fail basis and what is the process?
Courses that are deemed general electives may be taken on a pass/fail basis. General Studies courses, required courses and electives in the major, or required courses and electives in the minor may NOT be taken for a pass/fail grade. Students must complete and return a Pass-Fail Option form to the Office of the Registrar by the dates listed in the Academic Calendar.

How does a student appeal a final grade?
A student must offer convincing arguments that good cause exists for changing a grade. (See the Student Handbook for definitions of good cause.) As Step 1, the student should confer with the professor who gave the grade. If the professor decides the grade should not be changed, the student should proceed to Step 2, which is an appeal to the Department Chair. If necessary, the student should proceed to Step 3, which is an appeal to the appropriate Academic Dean, and finally to Step 4, an appeal to the Appeals Committee. See the Student Handbook for the procedures to follow in Steps 1-4.


What is the Academic Forgiveness Policy?
Any student who is returning to university with less than a 2.0 GPA and has not been enrolled as a full-time student during the past five years may apply for Academic Forgiveness after the student has earned 12 credit hours that apply toward graduation with a minimum GPA of 2.0. During the first semester of re-enrollment, a student desiring academic forgiveness must complete a written request form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar.

Program Requirements

Is there a foreign language requirement at Shepherd University?
Students in the B.A. program (not including education) are required to complete 12 hours in the same foreign language, except music students whose requirements must be approved by the chairs of the Music and English and Modern Language departments. Please review your program requirements in the Catalog.

Why is getting a Liberal Arts degree important?

Shepherd University encourages students to take time to explore their interests and gain vital life-long skills on their way to a specialized degree through a liberal arts program. The liberal arts part of our undergraduate programs will ensure all students receive an expansive, well-rounded education to educate them about the world and prepare them for well-informed engagement in society. We want students to gain new skills and feel empowered to think critically about the world around them and participate in thoughtful conversation across a broad spectrum of subjects. Shepherd University places importance in having all students complete a core curriculum that includes courses focusing on the subjects including personal wellness, the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Student Info

Where does a student go to change name/address and/or SS#?
A student wishing to change his/her name, address, and/or correct a SS# should complete a Personal Information Change form available in the Office of the Registrar, Ikenberry Hall.

Where does a student go to verify enrollment in university (for insurance, work, etc.)?
A student should go to the Office of the Registrar, Ikenberry Hall, and fill out an Enrollment Verification form (a printable certificate verifying official enrollment is available through RAIL beginning the third week of each semester).


When does a student apply for graduation?
The student must apply for graduation at the beginning of his/her senior year (the semester before you intend to graduate). To do so, a student must pick up a graduation packet from the Registrar’s Office; this contains step-by-step procedures and deadlines.

What GPA is required to graduate?
The GPA required for graduation is a 2.0 minimum in these areas: overall GPA (transfer work and Shepherd work), Shepherd University GPA, major field GPA, and minor field GPA. Higher minimums are required for some majors. Please refer to your program in the Catalog for information specific to your major.