2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jan 29, 2023  
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Admissions Information

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General Information and Requirements for All Undergraduate Programs

Cairn University welcomes applications for undergraduate admission from first-year, transfer, and re-entrant applicants who are academically qualified and have a clear testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.

The Cairn Admissions Department considers the applicant’s Christian experience, commitment and character, high school and/or college coursework and grade point averages, and standardized test scores. Extra-curricular activities, church and community programs, and experience in the business world or in Christian ministry contribute to the decision-making process.

Since the stated purpose of Cairn University is to educate students to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world, it is important that the values of the applicant be in harmony with those of the University. To determine whether the applicant can benefit from, as well as contribute to, the University community, the following three areas are reviewed:


It is expected that students at Cairn have professed faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Applicants are asked to submit a statement concerning their personal faith.


To be comfortable in the Cairn environment, the applicant’s lifestyle should reflect Christian principles. Every applicant must read the Community Life Covenant and Traditional Undergraduate Standards of Conduct and agree to abide by the standards there.


Since a major segment of the University curriculum is devoted to the study of Bible content and theology, it is important that the applicant understand the theological perspective of the University. Every applicant receives a copy of the University’s Statement of Faith and is asked to acknowledge that it represents the position of the University.

Requesting an Application

Prospective students may request an application from the Admissions Office (877-786-2728), apply online, or download the application from the University web site (www.cairn.edu/apply).

Campus Visits

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit the University to experience life on campus. This can be done by attending one of the University open house days held several times a year or by arranging a personal visit. (Prior arrangement is strongly encouraged.) Visitors may have the opportunity to meet with Admissions staff, faculty, administrators, and students; participate in chapel; attend classes; and eat in the dining commons. Visits may be scheduled online at www.cairn.edu/visit, or by calling 215-702-4235 or emailing visits@cairn.edu. Overnight visits may also be arranged.

Admissions Staff

The Admissions staff seek to familiarize prospective students with Cairn and its programs, and assist them in the application process. The staff encourage applicants to ask questions and to share interests and career goals with them.


An interview with an Admissions professional is required as part of the application process. This may be done by telephone or when an applicant is visiting the campus.


Applicants for whom English is not their first language must take the TOEFL examination (administered by the College Entrance Examination Board), the SAT, or the ACT test to demonstrate their level of English proficiency. This includes both those who will enter the United States on an F-1 student visa and those who have immigrated to the States.

Admission to Specific Academic Programs

Admission to the University does not guarantee admission to an applicant’s desired academic program. Some academic programs have additional requirements that must be met. An entrance audition is required for all applicants for the School of Music and Performing Arts. Applicants should review the specific entrance requirements outlined in the respective departmental sections of this catalog.

Advanced Placement

Placement testing programs that are granted college credit include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) (minimum score of 50) and the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board (minimum score of 3), the College Level General Examination of the United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI), the College Proficiency Examination Program of the New York State Education Department, and the ACT Proficiency Examination Program (PEP). In all cases, the subject material must be appropriate to the student’s Cairn curriculum and the amount of credit granted is limited. An official report of the scores must be sent directly to the University by the testing organization.


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education approves Cairn University for National Guard and veteran’s education benefits. Contact the Financial Aid Office (215-702-4246) concerning benefits processing for these programs.

College Graduates

In the case of applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, appropriate credit from the first degree is transferable toward a second bachelor’s degree from Cairn; however, 60 Cairn credits are generally required for a Cairn undergraduate degree. In most cases it is to the applicant’s advantage to elect the two-year Bible Ministries program or the Degree Completion program and receive block credit or to enter a graduate program. Applicants with bachelor’s degrees are exempt from the admissions test requirements in the undergraduate programs. Applicants with an earned bachelor’s degree are not eligible for federal or state grants. Student loans are obtainable based on the student’s academic classification. Applicants with an earned bachelor’s degree seeking teacher certification must apply through the Graduate Admissions office.


Cairn University reserves the right to require updated information from applicants.

All credentials submitted by the applicant become the property of the University and are kept as part of the permanent record of the student. Copies of these credentials will not be issued. When duplicates are required, they should be obtained from the original source. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), students have access to confidential information pertaining to them. In order to allow complete openness for the individuals providing personal references, the applicant may sign a waiver foregoing this privilege in respect to these forms.

See below for admissions information about specific programs.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

This additional information is specific to the Bachelor’s Degree Programs. To obtain admissions information which is common to all undergraduate programs, see above.

Admission Decisions and Notification

The Cairn Admissions Department reviews applicants on a rolling basis. When the applicant’s file is complete, a decision is made. A completed file consists of the application form, application fee, applicant interview, all required test scores, and transcripts. Applicants are notified in writing usually within one week of the decision. The decision process may be delayed for applicants being considered for conditional admission. All acceptances are contingent on the satisfactory completion of the high school program. Some applicants may be asked to begin on a conditional or part-time basis until evidence indicating likelihood of success in full-time degree studies is presented. It is the University admissions policy not to give specific reasons for denying admission should that decision be made.

Conditional Admission

Applicants who transfer from an unaccredited institution, or who do not meet the admissions criteria, may be granted conditional admission. In such cases the conditions and time limitations for full admission will be stipulated. When these conditions are met, the conditional status will be removed. Except for extenuating circumstances, the time limitations placed on conditional acceptance will not be extended.

Assistance in Mastering Studies (AIMS)

Cairn annually admits a select population of students for participation in the AIMS program. While not meeting the minimum admissions requirements, these students are conditionally accepted. AIMS provides academic support for students through the freshman year. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the students’ academic skills so that they develop their abilities and function satisfactorily in the academic setting of the University.

Deferred Admission

Applicants who are accepted for a specific semester may defer their entrance for a semester without completing any additional paperwork providing that they do not attend another higher education institution. Applicants who originally defer and then attend another higher education institution must follow all of the admission requirements and application procedures for a transfer student.

First-year Students

Admission Requirements

Applicants still in high school or who have never attended another college are considered for first-year admission. Importance is placed on the applicant’s high school record, including overall grade point average, class rank and school size, course selection and grade pattern from the freshman to senior year. Other considerations may include references, standardized test scores, outside interests, and activities.

Applicants who meet the following minimum requirements are considered:

  1. A high school diploma representing a minimum of 15 units in a college preparatory curriculum. The University recommends that 12 of these units be distributed in the following manner:

    4 units of English
    3 units of social studies
    2 units of foreign language
    2 units of science
    1 unit of mathematics

    The Admissions Department also considers applications from students whose secondary school preparation varies from this pattern, but whose record gives evidence of ability and promise.
  2. Satisfactory academic grade point average and secondary school rank. The applicant should have a 2.0 or above grade point average (on a 4.0 scale).
  3. Satisfactory Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores. SAT II subject tests are not required. The applicant should achieve a combined critical reading and math score of 920 on the SAT, with a preferred breakdown of 480 in critical reading and 440 in math, or a composite score of 19 on the ACT, with a preferred breakdown of 20 in English and 18 in math. The SAT and ACT writing components are considered although no minimum standard has been established at this time. Students with scores under these minimum standards may be accepted conditionally on the basis of grades. This acceptance may require participation in the University’s Assistance in Mastering Studies (AIMS) program. Additional departmental requirements are listed under the various programs.

    Exemption from the test requirements may be granted if:

    • The applicant has been out of high school for seven years or more, or
    • The applicant is applying for admission as a non-matriculating or audit only student.

Application Procedures

To apply to Cairn University, applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit an application form along with the non-refundable application fee of $25.
  2. Request from the secondary school that official, original high school transcript(s) be sent to the Cairn Admissions Department (an official, original, final copy(ies), with proof of graduation, must be sent after graduation).
  3. Request the official SAT or ACT score report to be sent to the Cairn Admissions Office. (Use the SAT code number 2661 or ACT code number 3658 when registering for the tests to have scores sent directly to Cairn University.)
  4. Complete an interview, either in person or by telephone.

Early Admission Students

Applicants with outstanding abilities and academic records may apply for admission to Cairn in place of their senior year of high school. Application should be made at the end of their junior year of high school. The Admissions Department bases acceptance on a strong three-year high school academic record and junior year SAT or ACT scores. Maturity, motivation, and personal qualities are also considered. Early admission students are not eligible for federal or state aid, grants, or loans.

In addition to regular first-year student application procedures, early admission applicants must:

  1. Submit a written statement of the reasons for pursuing early entrance.
  2. Submit a written recommendation from a high school guidance counselor or administrator, including an assessment of the applicant’s social and emotional maturity, and assurance that the high school diploma will be granted upon satisfactory completion of the student’s freshman year at the University.
  3. A written statement of endorsement from the applicant’s parents or guardians.
  4. Complete an interview, either in person or by telephone.

Transfer Students

Admission Requirements

Applicants with advanced standing from an accredited college, university, or institute are considered for admission as transfer students. Transfer applicants are evaluated on the basis of their college performance and secondary school completion.

It is preferred that the applicant had attained at least a 2.2 or higher grade point average in previous post-secondary work. Some majors may require a higher grade point average. All candidates for traditional undergraduate degree programs are required to complete a minimum of 60 Cairn credits. In addition, students must meet all major and core requirements. Some programs may have additional requirements, or may require specific courses or grades.

Transfer applicants receive full and equitable transfer credit unconditionally for subjects appropriate to the curricula of the four- or five-year programs. The amount of transfer credit is determined upon receipt of the official transcript(s) of completed work. It is sometimes necessary to provide catalog or course descriptions from the former institution(s). Certain Bible and theology courses are required in residence. Academic work currently in progress cannot be finally evaluated until official documents are received.

Some provisional credit may be granted from unaccredited institutions. When the student has completed two semesters of work at Cairn with a GPA of 2.0 or above, provisional transfer credit will be fully accepted.

Applicants seeking to transfer from another institution are required to submit an official transcript from the higher education institution(s) previously attended, even if not seeking transfer credit. If fewer than 30 credits have been earned, an official high school transcript is also required.

Application Procedures

Transfer applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit an application form along with the non-refundable application fee of $25.
  2. Request final, official secondary school transcript (if fewer than 30 college credits).
  3. Request official transcript(s) from each higher education institution attended.
  4. Submit a schedule and description of additional courses to be completed before entrance to PBU.
  5. If fewer than 30 college credits have been earned, request the official SAT or ACT score report to be sent to the Cairn Admissions Office. (Use the SAT code number 2661 or ACT code number 3658 when registering for the tests to have scores sent directly to Cairn University.)
  6. Complete an interview, either in person or by telephone.

Re-entrant Students

Cairn welcomes applications from students who have previously attended Cairn but have not attended classes for at least one full semester prior to their application for readmission. Re-entrants who have not attended Cairn for five years or more must follow all admission requirements and application procedures for transfer students. Re-entrants who have attended Cairn within the past five years may use the re-entrant application. These applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit the re-entrant application form, including essays, along with the non-refundable application fee of $25. (Application fee is waived if only out one semester.)
  2. Request official transcript(s) from each higher education institution attended since leaving Cairn.

International Students

Cairn is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. International applicants should follow the Cairn admissions procedure carefully, submitting their application materials well in advance of the semester of intended enrollment. Application deadlines are May 31 for students applying for the fall (August) semester, or September 30 for the spring (January) semester.

International applicants are evaluated academically to determine eligibility for admission for university-level study, and financially to determine whether sufficient sources of financial support exist to cover estimated yearly full-time expenses. Accepted applicants with sufficient support are eligible to receive a Form I-20, the document required for international students to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and to enter the U.S. with F-1 student status.

International applicants holding, or intending to hold, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (US CIS) status other than F-1 may be admitted into University programs without a financial evaluation.

For more information on international admissions to all Cairn programs, refer to the web address www.cairn.edu/intl or contact the Cairn International Office:

International Office
Cairn University
200 Manor Ave. Langhorne, PA 19047-2990
United States of America
Phone: (215) 702-4241
Toll-Free (in U.S.): (800) 366-0049
Fax: (215) 702-4248
Email: intl-office@cairn.edu

Admission Requirements

International applicants must have successfully completed a university preparatory course of study at a secondary school (a minimum of 12 years of primary and secondary school training comprises the equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma). Previous academic training should satisfy admissions requirements for university-level study.

Application Procedures

International applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit an application form along with the non-refundable application fee of $25.
  2. Arrange for official, certified transcripts of previous academic work to be sent to the Cairn International Office. Proof of graduation from secondary school/high school is also required. Transcripts must be in English or accompanied by an English translation. Applicants from Commonwealth countries must submit certified or notarized copies of their “O” level and/or “A” level certificates (copies of unofficial result slips are not acceptable). Applicants not from Commonwealth countries should submit results from their country’s respective secondary school graduation examinations and/or university placement examinations (for example, CXC exam results, Abitur results, baccalaureate results, etc.). Cairn reserves the right to notify applicants that they must have their non U.S. academic transcripts evaluated by an academic transcript evaluating agency. Cairn prefers that transcripts be evaluated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) to determine their level and authenticity. Once international applicants have submitted their official transcript(s), they will be notified whether an AACRAO evaluation will be required.
  3. English Proficiency: Studies at Cairn require university-level English language proficiency in areas of listening comprehension, reading, and writing. International applicants are required to take one of three standardized tests to demonstrate their level of English proficiency: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the SAT I exam, or the ACT exam. Scores that are two or more years old are not acceptable. Score requirements for each test are listed below.

    TOEFL: A minimum score of 520 on paper-based tests; a minimum score of 190 on computer-based tests; a minimum score of 68 on Internet-based test; the Cairn TOEFL school code is 2661.

    SAT I: A minimum SAT I combined critical reading and math score of 920, with a respective minimum allowance of 480 in critical reading and 440 in math; the Cairn SAT school code is 2661.

    ACT: A minimum composite ACT score of 19, with a respective minimum allowance of 20 in English and 18 in math; the Cairn ACT school code is 3658.
  4. Complete an interview by telephone.
  5. Submit a fully completed application for a Form I-20.
  6. Submit a completed Cairn health form.

For more information on testing, contact:

TOEFL / TSE Services
P. O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541 USA
Email: toefl@ets.org
Phone: (609) 771-7100
Fax: (609) 771-7500
Web: www.toefl.org

The College Board (SAT)
International Education
1233 20th Street NW Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA
Email: internatl@collegeboard.org
Phone: (202) 822-5900
Fax: (202) 822-5234
Web: www.collegeboard.org

ACT Universal Testing
P. O. Box 4028
Iowa City, IA 52243 USA
Email: osus@act.org
Phone: (319) 337-1448
Fax: (319) 337-1285
Web: www.act.org

Limited TOEFL, SAT, and ACT Test Waivers: Applicants who have successfully pursued postsecondary studies in the United States and some Commonwealth countries within two years of submitting an application to Cairn may be granted a TOEFL, SAT, or ACT test waiver. A test waiver is effective only when confirmed by Cairn. Canadian and other Commonwealth country applicants may choose to take the ACT or SAT test in place of the TOEFL.

Satisfactory Test Scores and Remedial Coursework: Accepted applicants who obtained a satisfactory TOEFL, SAT, or ACT score, but who experience language difficulties in their studies at Cairn, may be required to enroll in remedial courses in order to strengthen their English language skills.

Home-schooled Students

Cairn welcomes applications from home-schooled students. Home-schooled students must follow all admission requirements and application procedures for first-year or transfer students, depending on the situation. Home-schooled students are not required to take additional SAT II subject exams. Home-school high school diplomas issued by the student’s parents are acceptable proof of high school completion. A transcript of subjects studied and grades, including a cumulative grade point average, is required and must include the signature of the person who prepared it. If the transcript does not include grades, an explanation of the method of evaluation must be included. An official, original final copy, with graduation date, must be sent after graduation. Although not required, an independent evaluation of academic progress by a qualified educator may also be included with the transcript. A bibliography of high school literature and an essay written by the student are recommended to accurately evaluate a student’s exposure and thinking skills. Home-schooled students are not required to produce General Educational Development (GED) test results in order to gain admission to Cairn. If the student chooses to take the GED tests, a copy of the GED diploma and an official statement of the test scores should be forwarded to the Admissions Department.

GED Students

Applicants who hold a high school equivalency diploma on the basis of the General Educational Development (GED) tests are also considered for admission. GED students must follow all applicable admission requirements and application procedures for the first-year or transfer student, depending on the situation. Applicants must submit an official transcript of secondary school work completed, a copy of the GED diploma and an official statement of the test scores. The minimum required scores considered for applicants with a GED diploma are 2400 for a standard score total, with a minimum battery average of 480.

Non-matriculating/Visiting Students

Persons who want to take select courses or who plan to transfer courses back to another college or university, but do not intend to complete a degree or certificate program at Cairn may request non-matriculant status. Non-matriculant students must complete and submit an application form along with the non-refundable application fee of $25, but are not required to complete the secondary admissions forms, nor the admissions test requirements. Non-matriculating students may be reconsidered for matriculation at a later date. To change their status, they must notify the Admissions Department and the Registrar concerning their intent to matriculate and complete the admissions process. Non-matriculant students are limited to a part-time course load (fewer than 12 credits per semester) and are not eligible for federal or state aid, grants or loans. Non-matriculating students who reach 30 total credits must matriculate in order to continue taking classes at Cairn.

Part-time Status

Students enrolled for fewer than 12 credits in the fall and spring semesters are given part-time status and pay part-time tuition fees. Matriculating part-time students may be eligible for federal financial aid. Normally they are not permitted to live in Cairn dormitories. Matriculating part-time students are expected to complete all of the admissions forms and the admissions test requirements.

Auditing Status

A limited number of persons desiring to audit courses for their own benefit are permitted to do so if classroom space permits. No credit is granted in such cases. Auditors must complete an application but are not required to complete the secondary admissions forms or the test requirements.

Degree Completion Program

This information is specific to the Degree Completion Program. To obtain admissions information which is common to all undergraduate programs, see above.

In addition to the general requirements for applicants to undergraduate programs, admission to the degree completion program requires the following:

  1. Submission of a completed application form, including essay, along with the non-refundable application fee of $25.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 60 credits from an accredited post-secondary institution, 40 of which must be in general education. In certain cases students are admitted with fewer than the required credits. Deficiencies must be satisfied prior to graduation.
  3. Cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (on a scale of 4.0) or higher in prior academic work.
  4. Receipt of official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities previously attended.
  5. Receipt of a personal reference.
  6. Receipt of a pastoral reference.
  7. Age 25 or older.

Applications are processed through the Cairn Admissions Office.

Certificate Programs

Current certificate programs include the Wisconsin Wilderness and the Bible and Israel programs. Courses required for certificates may also be applied toward a baccalaureate degree.

Wisconsin Wilderness

This information is specific to the Wisconsin Wilderness program. To obtain admissions information which is common to all undergraduate programs, see above.

To apply for this program, applicants should follow all admission requirements and application procedures for the bachelor’s degree programs. Applications are processed through the Cairn Admissions Office. Additional application materials may be required for admission into this program.

Bible and Israel

This information is specific to the Bible and Israel program. To obtain admissions information which is common to all undergraduate programs, see above.

To apply for this program, applicants should follow all admission requirements and application procedures for the bachelor’s degree programs. Applications are processed through the Cairn Admissions Office.