Academic Standards

Class Participation

16344140Shepherd places great importance upon class participation because of the nature of the material being taught, the value of in-class interaction, and the need for students to develop habits of diligence and reliability.

Students should be present and punctual for all class sessions except in the case of rare extenuating circumstances. Students are expected to complete their assignments before the class session, so that they will be prepared to answer questions and properly discuss the material. See the course syllabus for further details on how participation grades are computed. Individual professors may impose additional attendance and participation requirements that potentially may impact the course grade. See course syllabus for details.

It is important to keep an accurate record of any absences from class, including dates and reasons. In the event of a discrepancy and/or appeal, this information could prove to be essential. Students should not rely upon professors or the Registrar to supply tallies, warnings, or notifications.

Attendance Policy

Successful completion of the educational programs at Shepherd University requires a significant commitment of time for class work and outside study each day. SU students are expected to attend all class meetings to fully benefit from all coursework. Even though it is not mandatory, SU strongly recommends instructors incorporate attendance into the course grading scale.

Each instructor will establish his or her own attendance policies and procedures, and publish them in the course syllabus. It is also the responsibility of each instructor to inform his or her class of these policies and procedures at the beginning of each semester. Students are responsible for knowing the attendance policies and procedures of each class in which they are enrolled.

It is the student’s responsibility to properly register for classes. During the first week, if an enrolled student does not attend the first class meeting, the instructor may drop the student from the class. Each instructor will make the final decision based on careful review of the circumstantial evidence provided by the student who did not attend the first class meeting without prior arrangement with the instructor.

It is also the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from the university or drop from a class that he or she is no longer attending in accordance to the established deadlines. A student who stops attending but does not drop a class may receive a failing grade in that class.

Make-up Exams

7156809All tests, including final exams, are to be taken at regularly scheduled times. These times are typically announced in the syllabus at the start of the semester. In the event of extenuating circumstances, students should contact the professor as early as possible for accommodations to take the exam at a different time. If the professor determines the reason for the absence as insufficient and does not merit a rescheduled exam, the student will be required to take the exam at the scheduled time or receive an “F” for the exam. If the professor agrees to reschedule the exam, the student should contact the Administration Office before taking the test for any possible Exam Rescheduling Fees. Note that the make-up test may, or may not, be identical to the one administered to other students. Regardless of whether the test is taken earlier or later, the student may not discuss it with other students until all other students have taken it. Failure to comply with the restriction will be considered cheating. The student will forfeit the grade received on the test and receive an “F” in its place.

Final Exams

Final exams are given for the majority of the courses. Such tests may or may not be comprehensive. Its grade weight is determined by the professor and indicated in the syllabus. Except in the case of an emergency, students are discouraged from requesting early or late finals. Students must obtain permission from both the Professor and the Academic Dean to reschedule a final exam.

Grading System

Shepherd University uses a 4.0 grading system to grade the quality of course work and determine the grade point average. Faculty members assign letter grades based on the following table:

98-100 A+ 4.0
94-97 A 4.0
90-93 A- 3.7
87-89 B+ 3.3
84-86 B 3.0
80-83 B- 2.7
77-79 C+ 2.3
74-76 C 2.0
70-73 C- 1.7
67-69 D+ 1.3
64-66 D 1.0
60-63 D- 0.7
Below 60 F 0.0
  I Incomplete
  W Withdrawal


The Registrar translates letter grades to grade points in accordance with this table:

A/A+ Excellent 4.0
A-   3.7
B+   3.3
B Good 3.0
B-   2.7
C+   2.3
C Average 2.0
C-   1.7
D+   1.3
D Poor 1.0
D-   0.7
F Fail 0.0
I Incomplete No GPA Impact
W Withdrawal No GPA Impact


Shepherd University School of Nursing uses a 4.0 grading system to grade the quality of course work and to determine the grade point average. Faculty members assign letter grades based on this table:

98-100 A+ 4.0
93-97.9 A 4.0
90-92.9 A- 3.7
87-89.9 B+ 3.3
84-86.9 B 3.0
80-83.9 B- 2.7
77-79.9 C+ 2.3
75-76.9 C 2.0 – Lowest passing grade
70-74.9 C- 1.7 – Failure
67-69.9 D+ 1.3
64-66.9 D 1.0
60-63.9 D- 0.7
Below 60 F 0.0
  I Incomplete
  W Withdrawal

There is no “rounding up” of grades.

Grades are usually available within three weeks of completing a semester. They are released to the student by the Registrar’s Office along with a calculation of the student’s semester GPA and cumulative GPA.

Grading Policy

Individual faculty members determine the grading policy for each course. In the course syllabus, faculty members clearly state the specific criteria by which the grade will be assigned, including the relative weight of assignments, papers, examinations, attendance and other assessments. Faculty members have the sole authority to change grades.

Contesting a Grade

8431480Grades are computed in accordance with the course syllabus and in-class instructions. If the accuracy of a grade is uncertain, the student should approach the professor and respectfully request a detailed explanation of how the grade was computed. If the discussion does not result in a satisfactory resolution, then the student should contact the Academic Dean. Please approach the matter with proper and respectful behavior.

Any disputed grade, including a semester grade, should be brought to the professor’s attention within two weeks of receiving the grade. Professors are given one month from the time semester grades are issued to make changes in the Registrar’s Office if deemed appropriate.

The Dean’s List

Full-time students who earn a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in any one semester are placed on the Dean’s List for that semester.

Academic Probation and Dismissal

All students must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 2.0 in course work taken at Shepherd University. An undergraduate student who falls below 2.0 for the first time, or a graduate student who falls below 2.5, is placed on academic probation. Continued enrollment requires the Academic Dean’s approval. If a student on academic probation does not raise the cumulative GPA to 2.0 (2.5 for graduate students) after two subsequent semesters, the student will be academically dismissed.


We discourage our professors from assigning an “incomplete” as a semester grade. An “incomplete” is assigned only under extenuating circumstances and only if the student’s work was satisfactory prior to the emergency situation. The professor must submit a replacement grade by the date agreed upon with the student (and no later than the end of the following semester) or the incomplete will automatically be changed to an “F.”

Repeating Courses

An undergraduate student will be permitted to repeat a course in which a grade of C-, D+, D, D-, F, NP, U is recorded. Courses in which grades earned were either C or B, may be repeated only with approval from the Office of the Registrar. Only courses taken at Shepherd University will be used to change course grades. In addition, the student must notify the Office of the Registrar, the semester a course is repeated.
When a course is repeated where an undergraduate student has received the above mentioned grade the first time, the better grade is the only one used in computing the cumulative GPA, and the units are counted only once. Both grades are shown on the student’s permanent record. When a course is repeated where a student has received a C or B grade for the first time, both the first and the second grades figure into the total cumulative GPA computation and both grades are shown on the student’s permanent record.
A graduate student will be permitted to repeat a course in which either a C or lower grade was earned. When a graduate student repeats a course with a grade of C or lower the first time, the better grade is the only one used in computing the cumulative GPA, and the units are counted only once. Both grades are shown on the student’s permanent record.

Auditing Courses

If classroom space permits, students and their spouses may take courses on an audit basis. Credit is not given. The professor is not obligated to allocate class or personal time to a student who is auditing. The charge for auditing a course is listed in the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Directed Study

5964147Directed Study is a university-level course in which a student pursues independent research for academic credit under the guidance of a faculty member. Directed Study is also provided to assist students who have incomplete program requirements due to their inability to pass courses or register according to the regular scheduling sequence.
For independent research, students initiate the Directed Study option by presenting an idea for a course of study to the academic dean of each school for course approval. If this proposed course of study is deemed identical, or at least sufficiently similar, to another course already offered in the curriculum, Directed Study cannot be allowed.
For unprecedented circumstances, a student must first meet with the academic dean of each school for course approval. The student must then discuss the course objective, plan of study, and rationale for the Directed Study course with the appropriate faculty.
The content and requirements of the Directed Study course are determined collaboratively by each instructor and student. Although certain features of the course may be modified, the time and work requirements for each Directed Study course will be consistent with what is typically required in other courses; this generally involves attending the class and completing out-of-class assignments. An additional tuition surcharge may be applied. The tuition and tuition surcharge must be paid in full before the student starts the Directed Study course. The “Directed Study Application” is to be completed by the student and should be submitted to the professor for approval.

Supervised Study

If a student is in need of extra help, he or she may enroll in up to five hours of supervised study each week. (Some students do this to satisfy a requirement of a work-study program; others are required to participate as part of an academic restorative action plan.) Groups meet weekly for study purposes under the supervision of a designated instructor. No academic credit is given. Fees may be applied.

Complaint Resolution

If students have complaints about individual faculty members regarding particular course requirement(s), examination(s), or grade(s), or pertaining to general issues, such as teaching method and classroom conduct, they should bring the matter directly to the individual faculty member. If a student is not satisfied with the faculty member’s response, the student may bring the matter to the Dean of the program for a final decision. The Dean will work with the student and the faculty member towards a resolution and must inform them of the decision in writing within two weeks.


Cheating is a violation of academic integrity and will not be tolerated. Examples of cheating include: copying another student’s paper or test, receiving information from a student who has already taken a test, sharing information about a test, and falsifying a report. Another form of cheating is plagiarism, which involves using someone else’s ideas or words without giving proper credit. If material is quoted, quotation marks and appropriate citation must be used. Paraphrased material must also be given appropriate citation.

A student found cheating will receive a “0” for the assignment or test and will be reported to the Dean of Student Affairs for disciplinary action. Such discipline may include a Restorative Action Plan (as described in the Student Handbook) or dismissal, as determined by the Dean of Student Affairs. If students are aware of cheating or plagiarism, he or she should report it to the professor immediately.

Faculty Assistance

The Shepherd faculty is committed to helping students academically and spiritually. Professors post their office hours each semester; students are encouraged to take advantage of these times by visiting their professors, either by phone, e-mail or in person.

Some faculty members will provide their home or cell phone numbers, and/or e-mail in their syllabus. Please use discretion when contacting the professor outside office hours.

The school assigns each student a faculty member to serve as an advisor. Students are required to meet with their advisor each semester to review their academic plan and register for courses for the upcoming semester. We encourage students to meet with their advisor at additional times to discuss their academic, spiritual, and ministry progress.

Course Withdrawal

Students desiring to withdraw from an individual course should contact the Dean of each school to obtain the necessary forms and procedures for official withdrawal. Students who withdraw from a course before the withdrawal due date will receive a grade of “W.”“W” is not computed in the student’s GPA.