2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

General Information


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Cairn University enjoys a heritage that spans over one hundred years. Founded in 1913, it began as two separate institutions that merged to form Philadelphia Bible Institute in 1951, a school that offered only three-year diplomas and focused primarily on the training of lay people.

In 1958, PBI became Philadelphia College of Bible when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted the institution approval to offer a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Bible degree. This established PCB as a school for training students for vocational ministry in the church and related organizations.

Strengthening its educational program by developing an academically rigorous core of biblical studies and liberal arts courses, PCB attained accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 1967. In doing so, PCB became one of only a few Bible colleges in the nation to receive such regional accreditation. PCB then added the Bachelor of Music and the Bachelor of Social Work degrees, which began the development of a series of programs in various professional fields. This further distinguished PCB from traditional Bible colleges in America, as graduates were being prepared for careers in fields other than vocational ministry within the church.

In 1979, the College relocated from Center City Philadelphia to the Bucks County suburb of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Bachelor’s degrees in education and business administration were developed, as well as graduate level programs in biblical studies, Christian counseling, education, educational leadership and administration, and organizational leadership. In 2000, the Commonwealth granted approval for university status and the institution changed its name to Philadelphia Biblical University.

In 2012, the University’s Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Cairn University. A cairn is a pile of stones used as a trailmarker or a memorial. The new name reflects the University’s central commitment to Christ and His Word, as well as its continued efforts to grow and expand its programs and offerings. The institution has had many names in its more than 100-year history, but as PSOB, BIOPA, PBI, PCB, PBU, and now as Cairn, the University’s core commitments remain the same.

Today, with over ninety academic programs and specializations listed in the catalog and the approval of such bodies as the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Association of Christian Schools International, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Cairn is one of the most thoroughly accredited schools of its type.

Students have the opportunity to earn degrees in a broad variety of scholarly, professional, and ministry areas. Undergraduate students not earning the B.S. in Bible degree earn a minimum of 30 credits in Bible and theology in addition to the biblical integration that is a hallmark of Cairn’s academics. Graduate students earn master’s degrees that facilitate professional and intellectual development with a standard core of biblical and theological courses.

Undergraduate students also have the option of dual-level programs, earning a master’s degree at the same time as a bachelor’s degree, or they may pair the B.S. in Bible degree with a professional undergraduate degree in a double-degree format. While its core commitments to preparing students for Christian service and teaching the Bible as a foundation for all of life and learning have remained central, Cairn has emerged as a private Christian university with a reputation for academic excellence and an ability to prepare students for professional service in the church, society, and the world.

Foundational Statements

Cairn University is an evangelical Christian institution and community with sincerely and long-held religious beliefs based upon the Bible, and a conviction that Holy Scripture is true and authoritative to all of life and learning. The Cairn University Statement of Faith declares “the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” The integrity of biblical higher education institutions depends on consistent application of historically understood biblical truths to all areas of human life and experience. All members of the Cairn community are thereby obligated to affirm, agree with, and align with its foundational statements which are approved by the Board of Trustees and are integral to the manner in which the University maintains community and executes and fulfills its mission. Therefore, signing the Cairn University Foundational Statements indicates agreement and alignment with all of the following:

Mission Statement & Institutional Objectives

Cairn University exists to educate students to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world as biblically minded, well-educated, and professionally competent men and women of character.

  1. As an academic institution committed to intellectual development, the idea that all truth is God’s truth, and the biblical truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom, the University purposes to impart to its students a knowledge of God, themselves, and the world in which they live.
  2. As an academic institution committed to spiritual maturation, the University purposes to develop the character of its students according to the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, as set forth in Holy Scripture.
  3. As an academic institution committed to Christian ministry, the University purposes to prepare students to the highest degree of professional competency and to instill in them a commitment to an intentional and obedient life of service to Christ in the church, society, and the world.

Statement of Faith

  1. We believe that there is only one God, Creator of heaven and earth, who exists eternally in three equal persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  2. We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit without error in the words of the original documents and providentially preserved as the supreme authority for faith and life.
  3. We believe that human beings were specially created by God, as male and female, to be perfect bearers of His image, but that through sin they alienated themselves from Him. Consequently, they have inherited a nature incapable of pleasing God and have incurred the certainty of physical death and the prospect of eternal punishment.
  4. We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and second person of the Godhead, is the Word made flesh. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is therefore fully divine and fully human.
  5. We believe that Jesus Christ, being without sin, died as the substitute for sinful humanity, and that His death is sufficient both to satisfy the justice of an offended holy God and to reconcile sinners to Him. We believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead bodily and ascended in that form into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father and is presently interceding for His own as High Priest and Advocate.
  6. We believe that sinners are justified by faith alone, forgiven, reconciled to God, kept by Him, and granted eternal life as a gift of His grace, which they receive by faith alone in the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that all who trust Him are born of the Holy Spirit and thereby become the children of God.
  7. We believe that the Church is the body of Christ and consists solely of those who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation. We believe that its members are indwelt by the Holy Spirit from the moment of conversion and are enabled by Him to glorify the Lord Jesus by living godly lives, strengthening one another, and making disciples throughout all nations.
  8. We believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth personally and physically to receive His people into His presence, to bring judgment on an unbelieving world, and to establish His sovereign rule of righteousness and peace over the earth. We believe His coming could occur at any time.
  9. We believe that both believers and unbelievers will be raised from the dead bodily, believers to conscious eternal blessedness in God’s presence and unbelievers to conscious eternal punishment and separation from Him.

Statement Regarding Biblical Authority Pertaining to Humanity, Life, Sexuality, and Marriage

We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through death, and thus compels our respect and protection. (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; 9:6; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Human sexuality is fundamental to a biblical understanding of God’s created order and purpose, not merely biblical morality. Beginning with the Genesis account of creation and continuing consistently throughout the canon of Scripture, God’s intent and actions affirm His creation of humanity as two immutable and distinct biological sexes, male and female, which reflect the image and nature of God. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:20-25; Mark 10:6)

Marriage is a God-ordained, unique, exclusive, and lifelong union between one man and one woman, within which sexual relations are honored and affirmed by God. All sexual relations outside of marriage differ from His design and are sinful and detrimental to human flourishing. (Genesis 2:20-25; I Thessalonians 4:3-8; Hebrews13:4)

Individual experiences regarding biological sex do not always reflect God’s original design. Adoption of an identity discordant with one’s biological sex differs from His design and is sinful and detrimental to human flourishing. (Deuteronomy 22:5; Romans 1:24-27; I Corinthians 6:9-11)

Since all human beings are created in God’s image, all people stand as equals before God regardless of race, ethnicity, or sex and are to be viewed and treated as such. The identity, dignity, and value of persons must be separated from those actions identified as sinful in the Scriptures. Those whose beliefs, self-identification, and behaviors differ from biblical standards and teaching must be treated with grace and compassion. God embraces, forgives, and heals all people who are responding to His grace. (Psalm. 32, 51; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; I Peter 3:15; I John 1:9)

Community Life Covenant

Cairn is an academic community of Christian students, faculty, and staff. As such, and in keeping with the mission and vision of the University, members of the Cairn community are to exhibit biblical wisdom and Christian maturity regarding their personal conduct and behavior toward others. They should be sensitive regarding the testimony of their personal lives in representing the Lord Jesus Christ, His Church, and the University. Members of the University community should live according to 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Christian community involves covenantal responsibility and mutual obligation to one another as members of one body living together before a righteous and holy God. Therefore, members of the University community are to be guided by biblical admonitions to demonstrate Christian love and concern for others, honesty, fairness, justice, kindness, forgiveness, mutual edification, self-control, deference, respect, and social responsibility toward one another and all people regardless of race, ethnicity, or sex as divine image bearers. (Prov. 27:17: John 15:12-13; 1Cor. 24b-26)

Because Christian community exists in social and cultural context, members must be careful to demonstrate civility and respect for those with whom they disagree, while exercising wisdom in evaluating the ideas and activities of others. Christians living in harmony share a deep concern for the Body of Christ, defer to one another, reason together, and express genuine Christian love, as outlined in Romans chapter fourteen. (Rom. 14:17-18)

Church Relations

The local church is God’s primary agency in this present age, and the University exists to serve the local church. For over 100 years, evangelical Christians of many denominations have looked to Cairn University for educational leadership. The constituency that the University serves has a philosophy based on a conservative interpretation of the Bible. The University, however, is denominationally unaffiliated. Students represent many denominations, large and small, as well as independent churches. Likewise, board members, faculty, and staff represent different ecclesiastical groups.

The University assumes students attend a home church on a regular basis and encourages them to continue their relationship with this church during their University experience. When the student’s home church is not near Cairn, the University expects the student to participate actively in an area church. The University expects students to attend worship services regularly and full-time undergraduate students to participate in a ministry weekly. It is recommended that students choose a church early in their first year and establish an association with that church that will continue throughout their college experience. The Greater Philadelphia area offers many evangelical churches with which the University enjoys a good working relationship.


As students of a biblical university, all Cairn undergraduate students benefit from Cairn’s integrated core of biblical studies and arts and sciences. Students choose from the curriculum’s many professional specializations that prepare for a variety of careers. A Cairn education prepares graduates for leadership and service in their vocations, their lives, and their ministries. High academic expectations are in keeping with this goal. Every student is required to have a field experience in Christian ministry. The practices and policies of the University are designed to prepare students to meet the standards that will be expected of them as Christians dedicated to a life of service for Christ.

The name “Cairn University” is symbolic. Cairns are man-made piles of stones that have been used on every continent, throughout all of human history, to serve as memorials and markers. The University name serves as one such memorial - looking back at the great faithfulness of God throughout more than 100 years of the institution’s history - and as one such marker, pointing the way for the coming generations to “Walk a Different Path.”

The logo of Cairn University reflects the educational commitment of the institution. It consists of two symbols merged to convey two important concepts. The first symbol is that of the shield, which has historically represented university education. The second symbol represents the triune God who has revealed Himself in the Bible. Merged together, they symbolize the University’s commitment to ensure that God and His truth remain inextricably linked to all University programs.



  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (1967) (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801; Telephone: 267-284-5011; Web Site: www.msche.org). The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).


  • Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation (1950) (Association for Biblical Higher Education, 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd. Suite 130, Orlando, FL 32822; Telephone: 407-207-0808; Web Site: www.abhe.org). ABHE is recognized by the US Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). ABHE accredits the following programs: AA in Biblical Studies, BS in Bible/Bible Ministries, BS in Bible/Biblical Studies, BS in Bible/Camping Ministries, BS in Bible/Christian Studies, BS in Bible/Pastoral Ministries, BS in Intercultural Studies, BS in Youth and Family Ministry, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Divinity, Master of Theology. ABHE Program Outcomes
  • National Association of Schools of Music (1979) (National Association of Schools of Music, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190; Telephone: 703-437-0700; Web Site: nasm.arts-accredit.org). NASM is recognized by the US Secretary of Education.
  • Association of Christian Schools International (1981) (Association of Christian Schools International, 731 Chapel Hill Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920; Telephone: 800-367-5391; Web Site: www.acsi.org).

Approved Degrees

Cairn is approved by the Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to award the following degrees:

  • Associate of Arts (AA) - 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Bible (BS in Bible) - 1958
  • Bachelor of Music (BMus) - 1967
  • Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) - 1987
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) - 1999
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) - 2012
  • Bachelor of Science in Youth and Family Ministry (BS in Youth and Family Ministry) - 2013
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) - 2015
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) - 2019
  • Master of Science in Education (MSEd) - 1992
  • Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration (MS in Educational Leadership and Administration) - 1999
  • Master of Divinity (MDiv) - 2002
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) - 2010
  • Master of Arts (MA) - 2013
  • Master of Science in Counseling (MS in Counseling) - 2013
  • Master of Theology (ThM) - 2013
  • Master of Science in Special Education (MS in Special Education) - 2017
  • Master of Science (MS) - 2024

All documents describing the institution’s accreditation approval or licensing may be reviewed in the University President’s Office.

The University is recognized officially by all appropriate federal agencies and listed in publications of the United States Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security (by which it is approved for attendance of nonimmigrant alien students under the Immigration and Nationality Act), and is approved for veterans’ education benefits.

The University maintains appropriate relationships with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


The main campus of Cairn is located in Langhorne Manor, a suburban community in Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Just four miles from the northeast boundary of Philadelphia, Cairn is also just a short drive from some of America’s prime farm, forest, and resort areas.

Cairn is strategically located in the center of the world’s largest and most densely populated urban strip, which stretches from Boston to Richmond. The location offers students diverse and varied opportunities for work and ministry within easy distance: north into New York, east into New Jersey, south into Philadelphia, and west into the populous Philadelphia suburbs.

Cairn is at a center of transportation. US Highway 1 and Interstate 295 intersect near the campus. There is easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Pennsylvania Routes 13, 213, 413, and 513. Center City Philadelphia is 30 minutes away by car. The Langhorne station of the railroad line between West Trenton and Philadelphia is within two blocks of the campus. Bus transportation to Philadelphia and neighboring communities is also available.

Cairn is in a center of industry, commerce, and business. Nearby Bristol, PA, is part of the Greater Philadelphia area port facility, the nation’s largest industrial port. Large shopping centers, numerous factories, and many businesses, including restaurants, stores, and banks, provide employment and shopping opportunities.

Cairn is located in a center of Christian activity. Numerous evangelical churches in the area provide worship and Christian service opportunities. Christian radio stations, missionary agencies, and other parachurch organizations are located in Greater Philadelphia and provide additional service opportunities.

Cairn is accessible to major educational centers. Numerous public and private libraries, research facilities, colleges, and universities are found in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Cairn is located in a historical center. Bucks County has a rich heritage dating back to pre-Revolutionary times when William Penn made his home at Pennsbury. During the American Revolution, both Langhorne and Newtown served as centers of operation for the American Army. Also in Bucks County is the site where George Washington crossed the Delaware to win the Battle of Trenton. In nearby Philadelphia, the Continental Congress first met, the Declaration of Independence was written and signed, the first flag was made, and the Constitution was adopted.

Cairn is in an unusually rich cultural center. Lower Bucks County abounds with cultural sites and museums that depict peoples and events of the past and present. Cultural institutions second to none in the country are found in Philadelphia. Included among these are the National Constitution Center, the Kimmel Center (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, and numerous other museums representing many areas of interest.

Cairn is in a major sports center. From the University, there is easy access to the sports center in Philadelphia, where major league baseball, football, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and soccer are played. In the Lower Bucks area, there are abundant opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, bowling, horseback riding, tennis, racquetball, and skateboarding.


The University’s main campus is located on a 120-acre wooded campus. The educational buildings are clustered on a hill, which overlooks a two-acre pond. The University’s main entrance ties together many of these buildings and houses the Stearns Missions Center.

Directly tied to the University’s main entrance area is the Smith Administration Building, which houses the majority of the administrative offices of the University, along with other key campus facilities:

  • The hexagonal Chatlos Memorial Chapel has a dual function. It is used for chapel services and also for activities such as organ lessons, instrumental group rehearsals, recitals, concerts, dramatic productions, and lecture series.
  • The Administrative Wing of the Smith Administration Building houses the president’s and provost’s offices, University Advancement, Alumni, Human Resources, Research, and Communications and Marketing departments, as well as the Office of Student Life, University Ministry Center, and Counseling Center.
  • The Educational Wing of the Smith Administration Building contains the Welcome Center; finance, admissions, student financial services, and registrar’s offices; a student lounge; the Campus Store; and faculty offices for many of the academic schools and departments of the University, in addition to smart classrooms and a computer lab for course use.

Also connected to the Stearns Missions Center is the Highlands café and the Masland Library. Dedicated in 1992, the library houses a collection of more than 150,000 volumes, the Academic Resource Center, a curriculum lab, a computer lab, conference and teaching rooms, private study areas, an archival collection, and provides access to more than 700,000 ebooks. 

The Cook Biblical Learning Center, connected to the back of the Smith Administration Building, houses the bulk of the University’s classroom space. Each of the 19 classrooms is equipped with wireless computer network access for faculty and students, and all are equipped as smart classrooms. Special display areas, a museum, art classrooms, a teacher education room, a Mac lab for graphic design, and the Holmes Recital Hall (a large recital and lecture hall) enhance students’ educational experiences.

Equipped for the needs of Cairn’s music students, the nearby Music Building houses two classrooms along with a special keyboard instruction room and an electronic music lab. The building contains 20 private practice rooms equipped with pianos or organs, faculty studios where private lessons are held, and a central office area.

Across the campus walkway from the administrative and educational buildings is the Mason Activity Center. The lower level houses a gymnasium that features two basketball courts, the athletic training and treatment rooms, a fitness center, and Department of Athletics offices. On the upper level are the Furman Dining Commons, the Auxiliary Dining Room, and two science labs. Adjacent to the Mason Activity Center is the Stillman Athletic Complex, which includes baseball and softball fields as well as an artificial turf field for soccer and lacrosse.

The University’s residential facilities can be described in two distinct groupings. Centrally located on campus are five residence halls, each designed to accommodate 40 students, which comprise Manor Campus. These residence halls feature suite-style living and are occupied primarily by entering students. Each suite houses four students living in two bedrooms joined by a common bath. Near the campus entrance, Heritage Hall features six wings, three on each side of a central Great Room. Female students occupy one side, and male students occupy the other side. Rooms are a mix of both suite-style and traditional rooms equipped with private baths. 

Completion/Graduation Rate

Based on the Student Right-to-Know Act formula, the University has determined that the completion rate for students who entered in the fall of 2017 as first-time, full-time students was 65 percent. Further information is available upon request. 

Equal Opportunity Admissions Policy

Cairn University admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, veteran status or known disability to all rights, privileges, programs and athletic activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, veteran status or known disability in the administration of its educational policies, admissions practices, scholarship and loan programs and athletic and other school administered programs.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Cairn University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or known disability in the administration of its employment policies or practices.

Disability Compliance

Cairn University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973). Facilities of Cairn University conform to current regulations for existing buildings for the disabled. The Academic Resource Center provides equal educational opportunities for all students who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act.