A circular insignia edged with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) black border, 2 3/4 inches (6.99 cm) in diameter overall, consisting of an inner black disc on which is a stylized yellow jacket within a yellow band inscribed "W. VA." at top and "STATE UNIVERSITY" at bottom in black letters 11/32 inch (.87 cm) in height.
Black and gold are the University school colors. Traditionally the color gold represents the excellence, honor and wisdom that the cadet's show for their school and country. Black symbolizes the cadet's dignity, sophistication and determination. The yellow jacket is the school's mascot, which alludes to team work, symbolizes unity and is indicative of the fighting spirit of the school.
The shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) was originally authorized 27 July 1961. It was amended on 20 December 1979 to change the description to add a border, retroactivity amended on 4 December 2012, to include the school name change from West Virginia State College to West Virginia State University and to update the description and symbolism.