About Graduate Studies
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
Several non-degree certificates including Appalachian studies (2014), Business Management (2017), Health Administration (2017), and Sports Management (2017).
Be sure to check our web pages and the catalog for the most current information.
Graduate Studies Vision
Shepherd University Graduate Studies aspires to be a responsive and accessible provider of quality educational programs. We are committed to continually broadening the scope of learning, academic discourse, discovery, and innovations, while increasing global connections for scholars, researchers, and practitioners.
Graduate Studies Mission
Shepherd University Graduate Studies is a diverse community of educators, scholars and learners committed to promoting accessibility and excellence in higher education, leading to advanced mastery of disciplinary knowledge and skills.
Graduate Studies Core Values
Committed to excellence, Shepherd University and Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) embrace 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.
GPS cultivates in students a lifelong desire to learn, with respect and understanding at an ever-increasing level for knowledge and cultures of the past, civic engagement, professional and personal ethics, and place in today’s global society.
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.
GPS is committed to engaging students in creative and scholarly endeavors both inside and outside the classroom. This is exemplified by faculty in the integration of new ideas and alternative approaches in their teaching, innovative learning activities, and continued professional development.
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.
GPS fosters a strong commitment to provide programs that allow students to achieve the best education for each individual’s particular talents, interests, and goals in an environment that emphasizes service to students.
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.
GPS will identify and develop opportunities for the financial support of student learning and opportunities that meet the needs of adult learners, certified professionals, and community members.
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.
GPS will identify and develop opportunities for creating community partnerships to enhance the educational experience of our students