The following policies apply to all students at Shepherds.

English Language

Our programme is presented in English and students admitted into the programme should be fluent in English and able to function academically at a level equivalent to a postgraduate degree. All applicants who qualify for admission but do not have adequate English language ability will be asked to pursue English language training and re-apply.


At the start of every cohort we hold a two day orientation during which we introduce our students to the programme and lecturers. During orientation we sharpen the English language and research skills of our students in the first two subjects of the seminary programme: EX101 English Skills and EX102 Research Skills. Orientation is not counted as part of the regular 17 week semester and students should plan accordingly.

Cancellation of Subjects

Shepherds reserves the right to alter, cancel, or change the order of presentation of subjects during any given term.

Subject Requirements

Subject requirements are set by the lecturer in consultation with the Academic Head and provided at the commencement of that subject. We expect our students to complete all course requirements in order to pass.

Failure and Progression

The Shepherds programme has been designed in such a way that subjects presented early in the programme are prerequisite for subjects presented later. In addition, because we follow a modular cohort system, students will not be able to proceed with the programme if they do not pass a subject. If a student fails a subject, that student will work with the lecturer and Academic Head to determine whether they can progress in the programme. The lecturer and/or Academic Head may request that the student meet additional requirements in order to pass, may have the student repeat the class with a future cohort, or may ask the student to withdraw from the programme. In all instances the progression of a student in the programme lies at the discretion of the Academic Head.


We expect our students to attend all classes. We recognise that absence can in some instances not be prevented. We therefore recognise two types of absence: excused and unexcused. In all cases we require students to report their absence to the lecturer as soon as possible. Students are responsible to identify and complete all work and assignments missed due to their absence. Our lecturers are not under obligation to repeat lectures or review class material that a student has missed.

Acceptable excused absences include those resulting from personal illness, illness of immediate family, or death in the immediate family.

Unexcused absences will result in a reduction in the student’s course grade. Our lecturers will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

If a student is absent for an extended period of time and/or misses subjects that are prerequisite for later subjects, he may be asked to exit the programme and join a later cohort. In such cases the final decision rests with the Academic Head.

Grading System

Shepherds utilizes the following grading system:

A and A- Exceptional achievement
B+, B and B- Above average achievement
C Fair or average achievement
C-, D+, D, and D- Below average, minimally acceptable achievement
F Unacceptable achievement, failure
I Incomplete work
W Withdrawal while passing
WF Withdrawal while failing

We use the following guidelines for converting percentage grades to letter grades:

Semester 1 Semester 2
A 96-100 C 80-83
A- 94-95 C- 78-79
B+ 92-93 D+ 76-77
B 88-91 D 72-75
B- 86-87 D- 70-71
C+ 84-85  F  69 and below
Students should note that this grading system is aligned with international standards and can not be directly correlated with the South African grading system.

Academic Probation

If a student fails to meet the academic standards of the Shepherds programme, its subjects, and mentorship programme, that student may be placed on academic probation. If a student is placed on probation, the duration of the probation will be set by the Academic Head. In some cases the probaton period will last the duration of one subject. In other cases the duration could be up to one year. Continuation in the Shepherds programme after a probation period lies at the discretion of the Academic Head. If a student has met all necessary requirements he will be removed from probation and may continue in the programme. A student who has not improved in his academic performance may have the probation period extended, or be asked to leave the programme. Re-entry and re-entry requirements will lie at the discretion of the Academic Head and the student will need to submit to the regular application and admission requirements.


At Shepherds our syllabi, class notes, and other materials are supplied to students in electronic format. Therefore, we require our students to own a personal computer with suitable word processing software and to have adequate access to the internet. Communication with students will be primarily via email. We also require our students to keep back-ups and records of all their correspondence, assignments, and other submissions.

Special Students

Special students are men who qualify for admission into the Shepherds programme but do not intend on completing all courses. We limit the amount of special students admitted into the programme and this type of application is considered on a case-by-case basis. A completed application must be submitted along with a written request to be admitted as a special student. This written request must indicate why the student wants to attend selected classes and must indicate which classes he would like to attend. Special students are required to pay regular tuition and fees; exact amounts will be calculated upon acceptance of the student.

Auditing of Classes

Auditing of classes is not encouraged by Shepherds, but in rare cases may be permitted. A completed application must be submitted along with a written request to be admitted as an auditor. Auditors are required to pay regular tuition and fees; exact amounts will be calculated upon acceptance of the student.

Withdrawal from the Programme

If a student withdraws from the Shepherds programme during the semester he will receive a W-grade for the subject that is in process. If the student is failing that subject at the time of withdrawal, the grade will be marked WF. If he is passsing the subject, his grade will be marked W. A student must inform Shepherds of his withdrawal in writing. Readmission into the programme will be subject to the Shepherds Admission Policy and a student may need to reapply. For details on refunds and the financial implications of withdrawal, please refer to our Financial Policies page.