Shepherd University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Shepherd University
"Shepherd: A Premier Public Liberal Arts University where passion, purpose, and experience unite to...

Shepherd University

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherd’s Pathway to Success: Your journey toward professional and personal success


Shepherd University takes students on an extraordinary academic journey to master the knowledge and skills necessary for personal and professional success. The Shepherd path begins with a liberal arts education, advances to a nationally recognized degree, and leads to outstanding career preparation.


Students experience the power of the liberal arts program beginning with their first academic experience. But what are the hallmarks of a liberal arts education? At Shepherd it means that students are encouraged to explore a wide range of subjects and discover how different disciplines intertwine. It means that throughout their course of study they work on building the skills that are required for success in the 21st century, including writing, critical thinking, and collaboration. And finally, it means that they apply the knowledge and skills they acquire from their coursework in real world settings.


Shepherd students bring liberal arts concepts to life through community service, performance, leadership opportunities, and active learning experiences. As a result, Shepherd graduates are strong communicators, team leaders, creative thinkers, problem solvers, and well-rounded, experienced individuals. The journey that starts at Shepherd University is a remarkable one: it supports students as they develop their unique interests and strengths and helps them use their talents to make their mark on the world.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
3,649 undergraduate students
80% of undergrad students are full time
42% male — 58% female
39% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
179 full-time faculty
170 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

A third of students live on campus at Shepherd University.

School Location

Shepherd University is located approximately 90 minutes west of Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. The campus is bordered by the Potomac River and C&O Canal bike trail and is in close proximity to the national historic locations of Antietam and Harpers Ferry.

Retention Fall 2015

66% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

48% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 9%
White 82%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


NCAA Division II

Men: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Golf, Tennis
Women: Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Mascot: Ram
Colors: Blue and Gold

Other Information

Shepherd University is a medium four-year and small master’s public liberal arts institution located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, founded in 1871.

More Distinctions

  • Shepherd University was recently named to the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.This is the third year Shepherd has been named to the Honor Roll and the first year to the Honor Roll with distinction.

  • Shepherd University is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), whose members are committed to providing superior liberal arts and sciences education to their students, evidenced by the allocation of resources and outcomes achieved.

Inspired to Explore

Students find new passions at Shepherd – both inside and outside of the classroom. It may be taking courses outside a major as part of the core curriculum, or joining a weekend trip to museums in D.C. The university provides students ample opportunity to discover new and surprising sides of themselves. Shepherd asks students to open themselves up to new worlds and viewpoints that they may not have previously understood or even knew existed. Some of these subjects may not interest students long-term, and that’s okay. Part of the process of personal and academic growth is realizing your interests and strengths and then making the most of them.

Encouraged to Lead

Shepherd students make a difference in the world. Chances are that somewhere on campus today a music student is providing free lessons, someone on campus is preparing for the next Contemporary American Theater Festival, and one of the NCAA Division II teams is celebrating a win. In various forms, student leadership and service learning activities are a vital component of the Shepherd experience, providing interactions that build self-realization, confidence, leadership, teamwork, and negotiation skills.

Equipped to Succeed

The proof of a Shepherd liberal arts education comes as students encounter an ever-changing world upon graduation. The Shepherd graduate is well-equipped to succeed in a chosen career or profession, and is able to adapt – and flourish – with integrity no matter the uncertainties that lie ahead.

Liberal Arts in a Caring Community

Every undergraduate (and graduate) student is known by name at Shepherd. Students have the benefit of individual relationships with professors as they pursue a rigorous academic experience and find personal inspiration. Shepherd is the right fit for students looking to make the most of a university that has thriving arts and humanities, cutting-edge science, and professional degree programs. A Shepherd education is liberal arts in action. It encourages students to explore a wide range of subjects and experiences, discovering how different disciplines intertwine.

Active Education

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the Shepherd experience is that it helps students apply classroom learning to make an imprint on the world. Liberal arts concepts are brought to life through community service, trendsetting contemporary theater, leadership opportunities, and active learning experiences. Nursing and education students have hands-on experiences throughout their academic careers rather than as capstone experiences. Shepherd students live the learning. Graduates can feel confident in their mastery of 21st century skills such as writing, critical thinking and collaboration.


Shepherdstown is a cosmopolitan enclave, with a variety of restaurants, plenty of meeting places and lots to do. Located just outside Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, MD, students have easy access to the excitement and cultural life of the nation’s capital. In addition, the university’s location has the advantage of historic sites and outdoor recreation in its backyard. Faculty and students capitalize on all these resources to make the most of the Shepherd experience.

Access to Opportunity

The university hosts several opportunities throughout the year to explore the region and try new things. Shepherd partners with prestigious businesses for internship and employment opportunities for students and alumni, providing value to the Shepherd community and the region. Shepherd University provides the room and time for students to grow.

Guaranteed Success

Not only does Shepherd provide an exemplary personal and educational journey, but the University has received national and international recognition to validate the value of that journey.

Shepherd has been recognized by the national Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) as an institution that “provides value to its students.” This means Shepherd advances its students’ reasoning and communications skills beyond those of their peers. Shepherd scored higher than 96 percent of the 234 participating colleges and universities in the CLA, a measurement of how far its students have progressed in their self-realization during their collegiate experience. Shepherd students are rated “superior” in demonstrating critical thinking and reasoning to their peers attending other prestigious institutions. Shepherd students’ CLA scores confirm the University graduates strong communicators, team leaders, creative thinkers, problem solvers, and well-rounded, experienced human beings.

Recognized for Liberal Arts

Shepherd is one of only 26 colleges in North America selected for membership in the prestigious Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. This designation recognizes the ability of faculty to challenge and support students as they discover their interests and reflects the University’s status as the state’s public honors college for the liberal arts. Shepherd has strengths in many diverse subjects, which allows students to explore their topics of interest and gain the skills they will need to get their first job and to succeed in all phases of their professional career.


Admissions Fall 2015

1,648 Total Applicants 
1,481 Total Admissions 
638 Total Freshman Enrollment

89.87% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 440 553
SAT Math 430 540
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 19 24
ACT Math 17 23
ACT English 18 25
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,918 $13,766
Fees $1,912 $2,862
Total $6,830 $16,628
Room and Board (on campus) $9,070 $9,070
Room Only $4,500 $4,500
Board Only $4,570 $4,570
Estimated Total On Campus $15,900 $25,698 


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

90% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
56% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$6,523 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$10,328 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates

Get a free sample of the Colleges of Distinction 2018 guidebook!

Subscribe to receive a free sample of the Colleges of Distinction 2018 guidebook with:

– 9 College Checklists

– Must-Read Advice

– 370+ School Profiles

You have successfully subscribed!

Get a Free Sample of Our 2018 Guidebook!

Join our mailing list and receive the latest news and updates from our team, and a free sample of our 2018 Colleges of Distinction Guidebook!

You have Successfully Subscribed!