Cairn University


ABA Programs Available at Cairn University

Cairn University is also featured in our ranking of the Top 20 Online Applied Behavior Analysis Bachelor’s Degree and BCaBA Coursework Programs.

Cairn University was the first Christian university in the country to establish a program for future Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) professionals. This program awards students a Master of Arts in ABA when they complete their studies. Students need to take 30 credits and pass a comprehensive exam before they can get their degrees. The credits they take include some religion courses and others in ABA work. All classes meet the standards of the board that issues ABA certificates and last for seven weeks. Those classes include Principles of Behavior, Single Subject Research, Interventions for Autism and Other Disabilities and ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I and II. This graduate program is available online and takes 20 months to complete.

A Master of Arts in Special Education is also available. This program helps students become better aware of how they can help those with autism disorders in the classroom. It takes 30 months to complete and includes 39 credits of courses. Students typically take two religion courses in their final semesters, which gives them time to study for the comprehensive exam they must pass to graduate. ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities, Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities, Research Methods and Diagnosis and Evaluation of the Exceptional Learner are some of the classes in the program. Those who need a teaching license will do a four-week student teaching internship. The university offers Pennsylvania teachers the right to do two practicums and some additional work to get endorsements in special education too.

Also available are two certificate programs in special education and ABA. The special education program takes two years to finish and includes 30 credits of classes. Designed for those who want to gain more experience with special needs students, it includes an optional internship. This will require four weeks of student teaching and two practicums. Those practicums ask that students spend five weeks or 150 hours in the field. In the ABA certificate program, students take 24 credits of classes after finishing a bachelor’s degree. This provides them with the minimum amount of education needed to sit for the board exam and get their certificates. Most students finish this program in around 16 months.

About Cairn University

Cairn University is a private nondenominational university affiliated with the Christian Church. Established in 1913 as the Bible Institute of Philadelphia by W.W. Rugh, it opened as an extension school affiliated with a Bible institute in New York. Rugh founded the institute after spending years traveling across Pennsylvania and other states to teach the Bible to others. It would later become the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia School of the Bible opened the following year and offered many of the same classes. These two schools came together in the early 1950s to share resources and expand their enrollment to become the Philadelphia Bible Institute. The new school would later move to the city of Langhorne and open a new campus there, eventually changing its name to Cairn University in 2012.

Though known for its religious studies programs, Cairn University established other programs in the coming years. Students can now earn bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as psychology and music. There are also a number of graduate and doctoral programs available in divinity and religious studies among other fields. The university encourages students to take time off to do missionary and other volunteer work and holds Bible study sessions on its campus. Cairn University is a small university with an enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students.

Cairn University Accreditation Details

To meet the needs of its religious students, the university has accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation (ABHECA). It also holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Though Cairn lacks accreditation for its ABA programs, it designed those programs to meet the standards needed for those seeking certification later.

Cairn University Application Requirements

Those applying to the online ABA program must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and a bachelor’s degree. Cairn does not require that students have an ABA undergraduate degree but does ask that they have strong backgrounds in psychology and social science. There is a $25 application fee that is due also. Students have the option of applying through the university, which will require an account that they set up, but they can also download the paper application and send it back to the university.

The application includes two separate essays of between 250 and 500 words each. In the first essay, students will write about their involvement with their churches, what helped them find God, and how they grew over the years. The second essay asks students to write about their goals and what they will do with an ABA degree. They will then submit the official transcripts from their past schools and write down the names and contact information for two references. Cairn University accepts both professional and academic references. Students applying to the special education program need to provide the same information and also present copies of their teaching licenses.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Graduate students in any of the ABA or special education programs offered by Cairn University pay $557 per credit hour, which includes their miscellaneous fees too. A discount of 50% is available for any student who currently works in a Christian school. To receive this discount, students must complete and submit a form because the discount functions as a type of scholarship. The university encourages students to complete both a grant application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These forms will help Cairn design the student’s financial aid package.

Online graduate students can qualify for grants based on the need they show on the FAFSA. The university will take steps to find grants that meet this total need minus any other financial aid awarded. There is a scholarship that matches the awards that students get from their churches up to $1,000 too. In addition to the discount for Christian teachers, a 10% discount is available for alumni. Students who enroll in the university and take graduate courses at the same time as their spouses receive a 30% discount. Cairn University can also help graduate students in its ABA degree and certificate programs get government loans.