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School Profile: Cairn University

In 1913, W.W. Rugh founded the Bible Institute of Philadelphia with the goal of teaching Scripture on a daily basis, something he was unable to do as a teacher in public school. Around that time, C.I. Scofield and William I. Pettingill co-founded the Philadelphia School of the Bible in response to numerous requests for a permanent school to teach the Bible. In 1921, the Bible Institute of Philadelphia changed its name to Bible Institute of Pennsylvania.

In 1951, both schools merged to become the Philadelphia Bible Institute, with classes taught at the YWCA Building. Initially, the school only offered a three-year degree designed to prepare students for the ministry. In 1958, Pennsylvania granted the college the authority to award bachelor’s degrees and the name changed once again to the Philadelphia College of the Bible.

When the school gained accreditation in 1967, it became one of just a few Bible colleges in the country to do so. In 1979, the school moved to Langhorne Manor and gained university status in 2000, undergoing another name change to Philadelphia Biblical University. In 2012, it was announced that the school name would change once again, this time to Cairn. The new name adopted the concept of memorials and trail markers, “bearing witness to God’s faithfulness and pointing the way.”

Cairn University Accreditation Details

Cairn is accredited regionally by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and was one of the first Bible colleges to achieve such acknowledgement. Accreditation lets parents, students and future employers know that graduates of the university are prepared for positions in the field of study they completed. It also acknowledges that the school will strive to improve any areas identified by the agency that may no longer meet strict standards. The school is also accredited by:

  • Accreditation Association for Biblical Higher Education
  • Association of Christian Schools International
  • Council for Higher Education
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education
  • National Association of Schools of Music

Cairn University Application Requirements

Applicants who have not earned credits beyond high school graduation are considered first-time students. They must submit an application and pay a non-refundable application fee. Students must provide two essays. The first must share their testimony of Jesus Christ as their Savior and how that has impacted their life and the second must describe what is exciting to them about studying at Cairn. Students must provide official high school transcripts as well as official SAT or ACT scores.

Students who have earned college credit after high school graduation are considered transfer students. A minimum of 60 credits must be earned at Cairn. Students transferring to Cairn must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in previous college work, although some majors may require higher GPAs. Students must provide official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Course descriptions or a course catalog from a previous college may also be required. An application and test scores may also be required. Transfer students must also submit the same two essays as first-year students. Students who have completed less than 15 credit hours at another university must provide high school transcripts as well as SAT or ACT scores.

Each graduate program at Cairn has specific admissions requirements. Students are encouraged to speak to an enrollment specialist prior to applying for graduate study.

All students who wish to attend Carin must have professed a faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and by submitting an application they acknowledge the doctrinal position and standards of conduct required by the Cairn.

Cairn Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduate tuition at Cairn is $13,096 per semester or $777 per credit hour. Graduate tuition ranges from $541 to $688 per credit hour.

Financial aid is available and the average student receives $16,025 in scholarships and grants. Over 85 percent of full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial assistance. Aid is available in the form of merit scholarships and grants. There is also an Alumni Award and a Christian Worker Scholarship. Cairn will also match up to $1,000 in scholarships given to the student by a church and students with an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher and an SAT score of 1270 or ACT score of 25 or higher may be eligible for an Honors Scholarship. Other scholarships are available if students meet specific criteria. Students are encouraged to speak to a Financial Aid advisor.

In addition to grants and scholarships, students may use loans or work-study programs to finance their education. Cairn also accepts employer and military benefits. In order to qualify for financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Cairn Online Degree Program(s) Available

MS in Special Education (ABA)

Cairn offers a Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis that is available in a completely online format. The program requires 42 credits with all courses containing a strong biblical base. Students are provided the tools and knowledge necessary to work with people who may have mental or physical disabilities, developing interventions that will help them succeed. Applied Behavioral Analysis is a supported treatment for people with autism and works well with other disabilities as well. Students are qualified to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts and are qualified for the Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License and the Pennsylvania Spectrum Disorders endorsement.

The program is the first Christian university curriculum verified by the BACB for extensive autism training. Educators who work in Christian schools can receive a 50 percent tuition discount and there is an integrated field experience component. Students may choose the intensive practicum track or the coursework only track. Courses required for the program include:

  • Advanced Ethics and Supervision
  • Behavior Analysis and Autism Assessment
  • Behavior Measurement and Experimental Design
  • Behavioral & Instructional Systems for Autism Support
  • Behavioral Intervention in Autism
  • Behavioral and Instructional Models for Autism Intervention
  • Biblical Integration for Educators
  • Foundations of Special Education
  • Overview of Christian Theology

With many programs offered in a completely online format, Cairn provides adult learners with the flexibility they need to achieve their higher education goals. Cairn University not only offers flexibility but promotes Christian beliefs in all classes, providing students with faith-based education.


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