Jun 24, 2024  
SGPS College Catalog 2022-2023 
SGPS College Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Elizabethtown College School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Overview of Elizabethtown College

Our commitment is to Educate for Service. We believe that learning is most noble when used to benefit others, regardless of chosen career path. We prepare our students to lead rich lives of purpose and meaning, while advancing independent thought, personal integrity and social responsibility. These are the foundations for a life of learning. The College fosters values of peace, non-violence, human dignity and social justice.

For information about the College’s history and Church of the Brethren heritage, visit http://www.etown.edu/about/

Overview of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Elizabethtown College has been a leader in adult education in the South Central Pennsylvania region for over 50 years.  In 1999, the College’s Strategic Plan mandated renewed institutional efforts to extend the College’s mission, heritage, and core competencies to the regional adult student community through the College’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS).  In 2001, the Board of Trustees reaffirmed the SGPS’s organizational status as a distinct, academic unit of Elizabethtown College, charged with meeting the varied and unique needs of regional adult students through distance education programming. The James B. Hoover Center for Business, which houses the Edward R. Murphy School of Graduate and Professional Studies, opened its doors in fall 2006. The School launched its first fully online major in 2010. In 2011, the Board of Trustees approved its first graduate program with the first course launched in 2012. Based on the model instituted by the Provost in 2020, the School was recognized as one of the seven schools within Elizabethtown College; albeit SGPS operates in a distinct manner to meet the varied and  unique needs of adult and non-traditional students. In 2021, the School changed its name to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS).

The School assesses the need for, identifies, and develops its own degrees, majors, curricula, and faculty to ensure the quality, effectiveness, and relevancy of the adult learning opportunities it offers within the region. 

The School offers accelerated, convenient credit programming and degree completion to adults. These programs are firmly based on the principles of effective adult learning and fall under the College’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation, Authorization, and Endorsements

Elizabethtown College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

In addition, the following programs are registered with the Certified Financial Planning Board:

  • Master of Science in Finance
  • CFP® Certification Financial Planning Education Program

The following programs are endorsed by the PA Department of Education:

  • Computer Science Education
  • ESL Program Specialist K-12
  • Integrative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education
  • High Impact Practices in Online Education
  • Trauma Informed Practice

Students can review documents of accreditation by contacting the Registration and Records Office at 717-361-1409. Students wishing to file a formal complaint against an institution of higher education in Pennsylvania can visit http://www.education.pa.gov. 

State Authorization for Distance Education

Elizabethtown College is a participant of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary, interstate agreement that establishes comparable standards for offering postsecondary distance education across state lines. Member states recognize participating institutions that are authorized in other member states. SARA establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

The syllabi are written to adhere to federal and Pennsylvania Department of Education state guidelines. Federal guidelines require a minimum of 45 hours of interactive instruction or alternative equivalent activities for each credit hour. 

Institutional Memberships

Elizabethtown College School of Graduate and Professional Studies has member affiliations with the following organizations:

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
  • NAGAP, the Association for Graduate Enrollment Management (NAGAP)
  • The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA)

Mission of Elizabethtown College

Molded by a commitment to educate for service, Elizabethtown College is a community of learners dedicated to educating students intellectually, socially, aesthetically, and ethically for lives of service and leadership as citizens of the world.

As a comprehensive institution, the College offers academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies. Combining classroom instruction with experiential learning, these programs advance independent thought, personal integrity, and social responsibility as the foundations for a life of learning.

Founded by members of the Church of the Brethren, the College believes that learning is most noble when used to benefit others and affirms the values of peace, nonviolence, human dignity, and social justice.

Educational Philosophy

Elizabethtown College engages students in a dynamic, integrated learning process that blends the liberal arts and professional studies. Challenged to take responsibility for their education, students at Elizabethtown embark on a journey of self-transformation that involves intellectual, social, and personal growth. The College is committed to educating the whole person within a relationship-centered learning community where common goals are achieved through engagement in a rigorous academic curriculum and thoughtful co-curricular experiences. Students are encouraged to develop and challenge their own values, while seeking to understand and appreciate alternative perspectives. Embedded in an ever-changing global context, the College promotes the developmental, collaborative, and complex nature of learning.

In seeking to “educate for service,” Elizabethtown College believes that students can perform no greater service than they do when sharing knowledge and creativity with others. Opportunities to strengthen scholarship and leadership extend beyond the classroom, and students learn actively through practical experiences and civic engagement.

The impact of an Elizabethtown College education is long lasting and far-reaching because it is deeply transformative. Students acquire new habits of mind and heart–some in the course of the undergraduate experience, others as students grow beyond college.

At Elizabethtown College, students are inspired and challenged to:

  • assume responsibility for their intellectual development, personal growth, and well-being. They will sharpen their curiosity and become aware of the capabilities, strategies, and resources needed to learn.
  • reason, analyze, and engage in critical thinking. They will learn to make, systematically evaluate, and, if necessary, refute arguments and claims—both their own and those of others.
  • demonstrate thoughtful and articulate communication by applying knowledge in a variety of contexts including writing, speaking, listening and interpretation.
  • understand the creative process and its role in human expression, and cultivate the ability to make informed aesthetic judgments.
  • navigate diverse cultural worldviews and perspectives, with the realization that differing frames of reference influence analysis, communication, and behavior.
  • make reflective ethical decisions and act with integrity to seek just outcomes within relationships, communities, and society.
  • apply and integrate different strands of learning and comprehend interconnections in the process of gaining knowledge and experience.
  • identify and cultivate a sense of purpose that inspires a commitment to meaningful work in service to society.      

Mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies

We enrich learner’s lives through transformative lifelong learning experiences that foster a sense of belonging, provides intellectual growth, and empower individuals to serve the community.

Organizational Structure

Elizabethtown College Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees has final legislative authority in all matters pertaining to the purpose of the College and the policies for fulfilling the statement of purpose. Among the Board’s primary functions are selecting the president of the College, developing and sustaining the philosophy and policies of the College, setting the costs of tuition and fees, adopting the annual budget, and approving plans for developing and maintaining the physical plant.


The Dean is the chief academic officer and chief administrator of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. The Dean is responsible to the SVPAA for planning, implementing, and managing the School’s academic (credit) and non-academic (non-credit) programming, student policies, and distance learning initiatives. The Dean is responsible for the identification, development, and assignment of the School’s faculty, and the recruitment of adult learners by appropriate standards. In consultation with the Registrar, the Dean evaluates and approves all adult learner transfer credits to Elizabethtown College and is responsible for the evaluation of adult credit for prior learning, final approval of the School’s candidates for graduation and degrees, and maintains the School’s academic and professional standards.

Senior Associate Dean
Admissions Team

The Admissions Team works closely with the SGPS Dean, Admissions Office, and the Office of Marketing and Communications to assist students with preliminary decisions on pursuing continuing education. The Admissions Team leads SPGS with marketing and recruitment efforts, international students/partnerships, affinity agreements, scholarships, and the overall admissions process. In addition, they liaise with the Business Office.

Program Operations Team

The Program Operations Team works closely with the SGPS Dean, academic advisors, SGPS staff, work study staff, and the Registration and Records office to facilitate student registration and advising. The Program Operations Team facilitates student registration and advising, schedule development, budget allocation, purchasing, honors societies, and graduation. In addition, the Program Operations Team oversees SLATE, Etown Edge microcredentials program, Starfish, and SmartThinking.

Academic Advising Coordinators

Every student is assigned an Academic Advising Coordinator. Advisors assist current students with selecting classes and ensuring they are on track to graduate. Advisors also assist in filing required forms and recommend resources and services to help students succeed.


Courses are led by faculty who bring relevant, current work experience to the classroom. Such talents are a signature attribute of SGPS programs. Students know they are learning from mentors who have practical, real-world career experiences. SGPS faculty bring theory to life in courses intentionally designed to utilize this knowledge.

School of Graduate and Professional Studies Programs

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies offers accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs specifically designed to meet the needs of busy working adults in an online or blended delivery format. Courses are taught by faculty who are working professionals in the fields in which they teach, ensuring that content is current and highly applicable. Explore the School of Graduate and Professional Studies programs: https://www.etown.edu/sgps/programs/index.aspx. 

All accelerated learning at Elizabethtown College requires the mastery of learning outcomes as determined by a variety of assessment processes. Faculty who are professionals in their fields utilize activities, formats, and methodologies that respect adult learning styles; therefore, accelerated courses and degrees are designed for adults who are motivated, bring real-world experience to the classroom, and are self-directed in order to succeed academically.

SGPS offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Digital Marketing and Analytics, Health Care Administration, Human Services and RN to BSN. SGPS offers graduate degrees in Business Administration, Strategic Leadership, Finance. In addition, SGPS offers degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Counseling and Psychology, Music Education, and Public Policy concentrations, graduate certificates and Pennsylvania Department of Education endorsements are also offered.

SGPS offers micro-credential content to help students grow professionally through the Etown Edge platform. Edge has 100% online, on-demand, self-paced modules across a variety of in-demand fields to help develop skills. Students develop a portfolio to demonstrate achievements. Certificates and continuing education units are delivered upon completion of each micro-credential.

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies encourages each adult to take control of his or her learning and to move through an academic program at his or her own pace.  Each student, in conjunction with an academic advising coordinator, schedules his or her own courses and is free to step in or out of the program as necessary.

The School is governed by academic policies as listed in the Elizabethtown College traditional college catalog.  The School further defines policies specific to adult and graduate students.