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In examining the credentials of applicants, admissions personnel consider the applicant’s Christian experience, commitment, and character; academic ability, as revealed by an applicant’s post-secondary academic records; and writing ability, as revealed by the essays.
Prospective students are encouraged to visit the University. A visit to campus may include the opportunity to meet with an admissions counselor, graduate faculty member, and students; attend a class; or take a campus tour. Prior arrangement for a visit is recommended. Prospective students may sign up for a personal visit online, or arrange a personal visit by calling 800.572.2472 or 215.702.4235, or by emailing email@example.com.
General Admission Requirements
To be considered for admission to the graduate programs at Cairn University, the applicant must:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, university, or seminary.
- Submit a completed application form with a $25.00 non-refundable application fee.
- Submit references as specified by degree program requirements. References should not be completed by family members.
- Submit official copies of transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate school attended. The transcript must provide degree information, including date of graduation and degree earned, and the institution’s accreditation status. Official transcripts are those sent directly from the issuing institution to Cairn Graduate Admissions.
- Have an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or higher (3.00 for the graduate education programs, the Advanced Practice (MSW) program, and the Master of Theology program). Applicants with lower grade point averages may contact their admissions counselor about alternative means of demonstrating academic ability.
- Submit a Statement of Purpose and Spiritual Statement.
- Complete the unique admissions requirements for each graduate program. Each graduate program may require additional essays, assessment forms, and/or interviews in the application process.
Students who have been inactive for two or more years must submit a Graduate Application for Re-Admission. Consideration for re-admission is dependent on clearances from the registrar and Business Services. Re-entrant applicants must request official transcripts from each higher education institution attended since leaving Cairn. Applicants may be required to complete an interview with the respective program chair before re-admission is granted. Students will be governed by the curriculum that is current at the time of re-admittance. Students who have been inactive for less than two years are not required to submit a Graduate Application for Re-Admission and should contact their faculty advisor to register for courses.
International students interested in applying to Cairn University’s graduate programs must meet the standard admissions requirements. In addition to these requirements, international students must complete the following (also found at cairn.edu/admissions/international):
English Proficiency Testing
Applicants for whom English is not their native language are required to demonstrate proficiency by taking the TOEFL examination (administered by the College Entrance Examination Board), IELTS examination, or the Duolingo English Proficiency Test. Applicants must obtain the following minimum score on the TOEFL: Paper-based, 550; Computer-based, 213; Internet-based, 79. Applicants must obtain the following minimum score on the IELTS: 6.5. Applicants must obtain a minimum score of 95 on the Duolingo English Proficiency Test Internet-based test. Applicants who do not meet minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Proficiency Test requirements will not be eligible for acceptance. All scores must be no more than two years old and must be submitted directly from ETS/IELTS/Duolingo.
English Proficiency Test Waiver Eligibility
An English proficiency test waiver may be granted for the following reasons:
- Applicants who have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in English in the United States within two years of submitting an application
- Applicants who have a TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Proficient Test score that is less than two years old and meets the minimum requirements will not be required to retake the test
- Applicants who have completed alternative English proficiency exams with comparable passing scores
International Transcript Evaluation
Applicants who submit transcripts, diplomas, certificates, etc., from non-US institutions must have them evaluated by a credential evaluator such as WES. Applicants are responsible for all fees associated with the evaluation and must make arrangements with the credential evaluator to send and receive all documents. Evaluation must confirm that a student’s undergraduate education is equivalent to an undergraduate degree from an accredited US institution. Cairn requires a document-by-document evaluation of transcripts for admission. However, students seeking transfer credit should choose a course-by-course evaluation. Official transcript evaluations must be sent directly to Cairn’s graduate admissions office.
International students who wish to apply to Cairn’s graduate programs are strongly encouraged to submit their application by January 15 for summer admission, by May 1 for fall admission, and by September 1 for spring admission.
- An application should be submitted according to the instructions printed on the application form. A non-refundable application fee of $25 (US) must accompany the form.
- Submit references as specified by degree program requirements. References should be returned directly to Cairn Graduate Admissions.
- The applicant must request that official transcripts be sent from each undergraduate and graduate school attended. The transcript must provide degree information, including date of graduation, degree earned, and the institution’s accreditation status. Official transcripts are those sent directly from the issuing institution to Cairn Graduate Admissions.
- Upon receipt of the application, the applicant will be sent an acknowledgment that will indicate what is needed to complete the application file. When a delay in an admission decision is experienced, it is often because the application has not been fully completed or all required information received.
- Counseling applicants are required to participate in a group interview. The interview is used to assess an applicant’s emotional stability, relational maturity, and ministry potential. The Master of Theology program requires an interview with program faculty. The Advanced Practice (MSW) program requires an interview with members of the MSW Admission and Professional Review committee (may be done using teleconference technology). The admissions counselor will notify the applicant when all required application materials are received and it is appropriate to schedule an interview.
- The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision when the application file and interview (if required) are complete and have been reviewed by the Admissions Committee. The University Admissions Office is not required to provide reasons for rejecting an applicant should that decision be made. Applicants denied admission may not reapply for admission to the same graduate degree program for a period of one year from the date of the denial letter, unless an exception is stipulated in the denial letter. The admissions rules, policies, and procedures that govern the admissions process at that future time will be applicable. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not apply again. The admission denials can be for the same or different graduate programs.
An applicant is given unconditional admission to Cairn University when all of the criteria for application and admission have been fulfilled. Applicants are notified in writing concerning unconditional admission on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Applicants who do not meet the admission criteria may be granted conditional admission to the graduate programs. A conditionally accepted student may sign up for a maximum number of credits to be determined by program requirements. Upon satisfactory completion of these credits with a grade point average of 2.50 (3.00 or above for Counseling and Education programs), the student will be admitted unconditionally if all other criteria for application and admission are fulfilled. Conditional admission is not automatic. Students are evaluated on an individual basis. Conditionally accepted students are given matriculating status.
Applicants whose applications are incomplete or qualifying students who are within 10 credits of completing an undergraduate degree may also begin their graduate studies under conditional status. Applicants must fulfill standard admissions requirements with the exception of the official undergraduate transcript. An unofficial transcript must be submitted temporarily to verify current GPA and total credits completed. Students must submit official transcripts with graduation remarks at the end of their first semester in the graduate program.
Individuals who desire to take graduate courses but do not plan to work toward a graduate degree may apply for admission as a nonmatriculating student. Nonmatriculating applicants must submit the Graduate Application for Admission and an unofficial transcript(s) from their undergraduate school. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 or greater for consideration. Permission to register as a nonmatriculant student is conditional based on available space.
Upon completion of 10 credits, the nonmatriculatant student must complete the application process for acceptance into a degree program to continue studies. If a nonmatriculant student is admitted to a graduate program, the credits earned in a course as a nonmatriculant graduate student may be used to meet degree requirements. In no case may more than 10 credits taken before admission to a program be used toward degree requirements. Nonmatriculating status is not permitted for the Master of Divinity degree, Master of Theology degree, MS in Counseling degree, or Advanced Practice (MSW) programs.
An audit is the privilege to attend a course for enrichment without receiving academic credit. An auditor will be accepted upon approval of the program chair and instructor. A limited number of persons are permitted to audit if classroom space permits. No credit is granted in such cases, but attendance is recorded on a transcript. An auditor should not expect individual attention or personal evaluation from the instructor. Withdrawal from auditing a course requires the normal withdrawal process. Applicants interested in auditing courses must submit a Graduate Audit Application for Admission and an unofficial transcript(s) from their undergraduate school. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 or greater for consideration. The audit fee is 50% of the tuition rate for the course.
A graduate of an accredited Bible college, Christian liberal arts college or university, or seminary may be eligible for up to 6 credits of advanced standing for earned Bible/theology credits when enrolled in the Advanced Practice (MSW), Business Administration, Entrepreneurial Management, Nonprofit Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Education, Educational Leadership and Administration, and Instruction programs, up to 12 credits of advanced standing for the Master of Arts in Religion program, or up to 24 credits in the Master of Divinity program. University Registrar’s Office personnel will evaluate official transcripts and the admissions counselor will inform the applicant of the number of credits accepted for advanced standing. An individual curriculum design will then be constructed by the admissions counselor to determine the specific courses a student needs to complete the degree.
Social Work Advanced Standing
Students graduating from CSWE accredited baccalaureate programs or those recognized through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Service, and programs covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors are eligible to apply for Social Work Advanced Standing. Those receiving Social Work Advanced Standing will not be required to take the Generalist Courses, but will be required to take a three-credit advanced standing course in their place.
For students in the Religion, Counseling, Business Administration, Entrepreneurial Management, Nonprofit Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Education, Educational Leadership and Administration, Instruction or Applied Behavior Analysis programs, a maximum of six (6) transfer credits appropriate to the student’s degree program will be awarded for graduate-level work successfully completed at a regionally accredited postsecondary institution. For students in the Master of Divinity program, a maximum of 24 credits, including any advanced standing Bible/theology credits, will be awarded. For students in the Master of Theology program, a maximum of 12 credits will be awarded. For students in the Advanced Practice (MSW) program, a maximum of 30 credits, including any advanced standing Bible/theology credits and Social Work advanced standing credits, will be awarded. The student is responsible for obtaining the official documents needed to process transfer credits. Official transcripts must be sent to the admissions counselor for evaluation by University Registrar’s Office personnel.
Transfer credit and advanced standing are normally granted unconditionally for courses taken at institutions accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Previous work taken at an international school will be evaluated individually. Transfer credit for the Advanced Practice (MSW) program is only granted for credits taken at a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or those recognized through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Service, and programs covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.
Provisional transfer and advanced standing credit may be considered for courses taken at institutions not accredited by an accrediting association recognized by CHEA. Provisional credit becomes applicable to the degree program only after the student completes ten (10) Cairn graduate credits with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00.
When advising a prospective student, an admissions counselor may estimate transfer credits and advanced standing on a preliminary basis utilizing unofficial documents. However, such estimates will be considered binding only after timely receipt of official transcripts validating the information contained in unofficial documents and after review by University Registrar’s Office personnel.
Credit for Prior Learning
Students with extensive background in a subject or ministry paralleling Cairn course offerings may be given opportunity to document their achievement and/or college-level competency and thus earn academic credit. CPL is not available in the Advanced Practice (MSW) program. This will be evaluated by the appropriate school dean, the program chair, and the University registrar. Interested students should request the CPL information packet from the University Admissions Office.
New Student Orientation
Incoming students will have the opportunity to participate in an online student orientation prior to the start of their first class. Orientation is designed to acquaint students with the various student services available to them and provide guidance for obtaining student identification cards and parking permits for on-campus program participants.