Shepherd University was established in September 1871 by Henry Shepherd and six associates in the abandoned courthouse after Jefferson County’s seat relocated to Charles Town. In five months, Shepherd College was formally chartered as a State Normal School branch with an inaugural class of 42. Given university status in 2004 by Governor Bob Wise, Shepherd has progressed into a comprehensive public, coeducational liberal arts institution endowed for $22.9 million. The “College of Distinction” currently serves 4,041 Rams across 20 academic divisions, including the Department of Nursing Education. Belonging to the Mountain East Conference, Shepherd University maintains 323 acres near the Potomac River in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, south of Hagerstown.

According to the U.S. News, Shepherd University is the 118th top high school counselor pick and a second-tier national liberal arts school. On Niche, Shepherd is proclaimed America’s 121st best college location and 137th safest university. The Princeton Review included Shepherd among the 140 “Best Southeastern Colleges” for 2018. In Washington Monthly, Shepherd University is declared the 265th best national master’s college and 240th top Southeastern buck. Nationally, The Economist named Shepherd the 583rd most value-added educator. College Factual recognized Shepherd University for the United States’ 346th highest paid nursing graduates. Reporting an 87 percent NCLEX-RN pass rate, Shepherd has West Virginia’s #2 best nursing degrees according to Nurse Journal.

Shepherd University Accreditation Details

Headed by president Mary J.C. Hendrix, a National Cancer Institute Merit Award winner, Shepherd University was reaffirmed by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) in 2012. This regional accreditation means that the 30 bachelor’s, six master’s, and two doctoral programs in Shepherdstown and Martinsburg are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Shepherd’s nursing degrees are specifically accredited under the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Shepherd is fully approved by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses to certify RNs too.

Shepherd University Application Requirements

Don’t be fooled by the “less selective” acceptance rate of 92 percent at Shepherd University because the Department of Nursing Education has strict admission criteria. The BSN program has limited enrollment of junior-level undergraduates who’ve already completed 59+ pre-nursing credits, including lifespan health promotion. Grades of “C” or higher are mandated in several prerequisites like biology, statistics, and chemistry. Bachelor’s students need cumulative GPAs of 2.7 or higher. Although optional, admitted Shepherd Rams have an average SAT score of 1070 and ACT score of 22. Taking the RN-BSN track also requires current, unencumbered West Virginia licensure and American Heart Association CPR certification.

Getting into Shepherd’s Doctor of Nursing Practice is even more competitive for students who’ve finished at least a four-year BSN. The MSN to DNP track launched in 2017 is obviously reserved for master’s graduates. All prerequisites, including statistics and nursing research, must be completed at ACEN or CCNE accredited colleges. The Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration will require undergrad pharmacology credits too. DNP applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, though the average is currently 3.5. West Virginia RNs with clinical experience and references from supervisors are highly preferred. Nurses from other countries will prove English fluency with a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or MELAB score of 77.

Shepherd University has established BSN program deadlines of March 1st for Fall and October 1st for Spring start dates. Undergrad nursing majors will submit the Application for Admission online and mail excess materials to P.O. Box 5000 in Shepherdstown, WV 25443. Doctoral candidates must use the AACN Nursing Centralized Application Service (CAS) by July 1st. Nurses are expected to submit the following materials:

• $45 non-refundable fee by credit card

• Official transcripts or degree evaluations

• Yearly PPD results and drug screen

• Criminal history background check

• Proof of West Virginia RN licensing if applicable

• Copies of medical malpractice insurance

• Résumé or CV of nursing experience

• Typed, 500-word letter of intent

• Two signed professional references

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time BSN students from West Virginia are billed $3,664 per semester. Nonresidents taking 12+ credits for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing pay $8,934 each term. Mandatory add-ons include the $493 capital fee, $81 intercollegiate athletic equity fee, and $408 auxiliary fee. BSN majors specifically include a $90 nursing program fee and $75 nursing lab fee. Living on-campus in Shepherdstown will cost $2,815 and $2,349 for room and board each semester. Total annual cost of BSN attendance is roughly $20,727 in-state and $31,039 out-of-state. The Doctor of Nursing Practice bills all post-grads $696 per credit with a $200 clinical fee.

The NCES reports that 76 percent of full-time Shepherd Rams share $35.08 million in annual financial assistance for an average amount of $12,573 each. Nursing students might obtain institutional awards like the Director’s Scholarship, Multicultural Leadership Scholarship, F.A. Davis Scholarship, Norman W. Smith Educational Loan, and McCormack Scholarship. West Virginians often qualify for the PROMISE Scholarship, Higher Education Grant, and Health Sciences Service Program. Borrowing Perkins, Stafford, and PLUS loans could be forgiven with the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. Based on EFC, financially needy undergrads earn the Federal Pell and SEOG Grants. Filing the FAFSA before March 1st would unlock Federal Work-Study jobs, including in the Health Center.

Studying Nursing at Shepherd

Located in Erma Ora Byrd Hall, the Department of Nursing Education at Shepherd University has the Eastern Panhandle’s sole CCNE-accredited, state-aided BSN program. Enrolling over 400 majors, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing has 25 years of experience training undergrads for patient-centered practice with rural communities’ most vulnerable populations. The 61-credit, upper-division major integrates courses from health assessment to human genetics and informatics with an engaging 15:1 student-faculty ratio. Personalized NCLEX-RN exam prep includes clinical practica in five simulation labs and at off-campus partners like Jefferson Memorial Hospital. The RN-BSN Track also welcomes hybrid cohorts into a customized 23-59 credit curriculum for advancing education with flexibility.

Devoted to “Advancing Excellence, Improving Communities,” Shepherd’s Doctor of Nursing Practice was started in Fall 2017 by Dr. Sharon Mailey to train clinical-oriented scholars who effectively manage patient care delivery. Admitting BSN or MSN grads, the 75-84 credit doctorate offers two concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Administration. Estimated to take three years, the DNP has a hybrid mix of on-campus and online courses like health law, quality management, and disease prevention. Post-grads prepare for APRN roles by completing 1,000+ clinical hours at St. Mary’s, CAMC Memorial, WVU Children’s, and others. Shepherd University substitutes the traditional dissertation for a scholarly DNP project that emphasizes clinical skills.

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