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

Academic Information

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.


Educational Resources

Masland Library

The Masland Library provides materials and services to students, faculty, and staff of Cairn University. Print materials include more than 150,000 volumes of books, reference works, and periodicals. The library’s electronic collection (available 24/7/365 from anywhere with an internet connection) continues to grow to meet the needs of the University community with over 1 million ebooks, 90,000 ejournals, and 1 million streaming media items. In addition, the library holds other media, houses special collections, and archival materials. A computer lab, a teacher education curriculum lab, three collaboration/conference rooms, and three group study rooms are available for use by students.

Professional librarians and other library staff are available for reference consultation, bibliographic instruction, and other assistance. A valid University ID card provides access to the library material. Online access is available using an active Cairn email address and password. The library catalog and online electronic databases can be accessed through the library website (lib.cairn.edu), which also contains important information regarding library policies, hours, and staff.

Textbooks and Course Materials

The eCampus Bookstore is the official online bookstore for Cairn University, offering students a convenient and affordable way to purchase their course materials. While students can purchase their textbooks and course materials elsewhere, the eCampus Bookstore provides access to a wide range of new and used textbooks, as well as digital and rental options, ensuring that students have the flexibility to choose the format that best fits their needs and budget. With fast and reliable shipping, easy returns, and exeptional customer service, the eCampus Bookstore is committed to providing Cairn University students with a seamless shopping experience.

Campus Store

The Campus Store stocks clothing, accessories, gifts, and other merchandise which can be viewed and purchased from either of the store’s two locations: On campus (in the Smith Administration Building) and online at cairncampusstore.shop.

Academic Resource Center

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) exists to serve the entire student body at Cairn University through the provision of academic support services in the ARC and the provision of accommodations for qualifying students through Disability Services.

Academic Support

Support services are available free of charge to all students desiring assistance. The ARC offers a variety of services related to different academic needs. These include strategies for organization, time management, study skills, as well as subject specific tutoring, and the Writing Lab. Students can use a specific service or can work with the ARC staff to create a personalized plan for success. The ARC also has resources on the Cairn website for students to access on their own at cairn.edu/arc.

Disability Services

Students who have been diagnosed with a disability, or have had an IEP, 504 plan, or accommodations for any type of disability previously, may be eligible for accommodations. Examples of a disability may include: visual impairments; mobility impairments; hearing impairments; mental health impairments; health conditions/chronic illness; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; learning disorders; traumatic brain injury; and temporary conditions such as concussions, injury, or pregnancy. The ARC seeks to provide equal access to University curriculum and facilities. Students interested in receiving ADA accommodations must meet with the Coordinator of Disability Services, as well as complete and submit an Application for Accommodations along with documentation and any other required forms.

Academic Policies


The University operates on a semester calendar with the first semester concluding prior to Christmas and the second semester concluding in the beginning of May. Each semester is 15 weeks long, including one week for examinations.

The University conducts modular summer sessions in addition to the two regular academic semesters. These provide an opportunity for students to advance in their programs, take additional courses not available in the regular program, or make up deficiencies.

The Degree Completion program utilizes a continuous modular schedule with semesters beginning in late February and early September.


Cairn University follows the 4.0 grade point system and requires a 2.0 (C) average for graduation in undergraduate programs. Grades and their interpretation are as follows:

Grade Interpretation Grade points per semester credit
A Outstanding 4.00
A-   3.67
B+ Above Average 3.33
B   3.00
B-   2.67
C+ Average 2.33
C   2.00
C-   1.67
D+ Below Average 1.33
D   1.00
D-   0.67
F Failing 0
I Incomplete  
CR Credit Granted  
NC No Credit  
W Withdrew  
S Satisfactory (in non-credit courses)  
U Unsatisfactory (in non-credit courses)  
AU Audit  
IA Audit - Insufficient Attendance  
NR No Grade Reported  

Professors may change a permanent grade, for errors only, in a course in which they have taught within six months of the grade entry deadline. No letter grades will be changed after six months.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade may be issued by a faculty member in lieu of a final grade when course requirements have not been met by the end of the semester. An Incomplete Grade Contract must be completed by the faculty member, signed by the student, and submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the end of the term in which the course was taken. If the course remains incomplete after the stipulated deadline, the grade is automatically changed to F (failing). A maximum of 12 weeks will be allowed for completion of course requirements. Removal of an I or NR is the responsibility of the student. No student may graduate with an I or NR in any course.

Repeating Courses

A course a student has failed may be repeated twice. A course a student has passed but received a grade below C (2.00) may be repeated once. When a course is repeated, only the highest grade earned will be used to calculate the student’s GPA.

Withdrawal From Course

Students may withdraw from a course, for a fee, during the first two-thirds of the course with approval from the faculty member and academic advisor. Official forms are required and are available online or from the Registrar’s Office.

The course from which a student withdraws will be graded with a W.

Refund from course withdrawal applies only when the withdrawal is official and the student is taking fewer than 12 credits or more than 18.

If withdrawal from a course drops a student below 12 credits, tuition and financial aid will be adjusted accordingly.

Withdrawal From University

Students are considered “students on record” until they complete official withdrawal procedures or are notified that they have withdrawn themselves by default. All pertinent school regulations are binding until official withdrawal procedures have been completed or notification has been received from the University of withdrawal by default. The preferred procedure is to complete the University Withdrawal form, which includes an interview in the Office of Student Life, and submit it to the Business Services Office. However, an oral or emailed (from the student’s Cairn email account) statement of intent to withdraw from the University made to the Registrar’s Office will also be considered official.

A refund will not be given (see Refund Policy) until the official withdrawal procedures are completed.

Upon official withdrawal from the University, the student’s academic record will show W grades for all courses in progress. Failure to complete the necessary withdrawal procedures results in a final grade of F for all courses.

Class Attendance

Regular class attendance is essential for satisfactory academic performance, whether the class is online or on site. Certain online activities have been designated as equivalencies for face-to-face contact hours and are used to determine attendance. The University requires attendance at a minimum of 70 percent of class sessions, whether credit or audit. All absences for any reason are to be included in the 30 percent allowed, i.e., illnesses, personal problems, field trips, sports events, etc. Students who do not attend 70 percent of class sessions will receive a failing grade for the course. Professors may set attendance requirements higher than the 70 percent established by the University.

Academic Standing

Good Academic Standing

A student is considered to be in good academic standing when he or she meets the following qualitative criteria:

Credits Attempted Minimum GPA
1-36 1.75
37-60 1.90
61+ 2.00

Students who fall below these qualitative thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Academic Dismissal

At the end of each term, academically deficient students may be dismissed at the discretion of the dean of the respective school, who considers the merits of each case employing the following as a general guideline:

Credits Attempted Minimum GPA
1-18 No minimum
19-36 1.50
37-48 1.62
49-60 1.75
61-75 1.82
76+ 1.90

Students dismissed for low academic achievement may appeal the decision to the respective dean, or they may reapply for admission after a period of one academic year.

Class Level

Qualification for class standing above the freshman class is as follows:

Fifth-Year Seniors: Those who have completed at least 128 credits by September registration.

Seniors: Those who have completed at least 90 credits by September registration.

Juniors: Those who have completed at least 60 credits by September registration.

Sophomores: Those who have completed at least 28 credits by September registration.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credit will be awarded for university-level work successfully completed at a CHEA-recognized, accredited postsecondary institution when appropriate to the student’s degree program. University-level work successfully completed at a non-accredited postsecondary institution and appropriate to the student’s degree program will be evaluated on an individual basis. The following procedures will be used in evaluating and transcripting transfer credit:

  • The registrar has the responsibility of determining transfer credit.
  • Only courses in which a “C” (2.00) or above has been earned will be evaluated for transfer credit.
  • In evaluating work taken at a postsecondary institution for transfer credit, the following factors will be considered:
    • The content of the course and how well it matches with the content of a course in Cairn’s curriculum. The registrar consults with the dean of the school in which the course is offered when specific information on course content is needed.
    • The characteristics of the institution or agency which awarded the credit (i.e., accredited/non-accredited, domestic/foreign, collegiate/non-collegiate).
    • The characteristics of the credit reported on the transcript (i.e., level/basis of credit).
    • The appropriateness of the credit to the student’s degree program.
    • Credits will be computed from a “quarter hour” system to credit hours by multiplying by 0.67.
  • Transfer credits will be applied to a student’s permanent record after the student has enrolled and official transcripts have been received.
  • Cairn course number, title, and hours for which transfer credit is granted will appear on the student’s permanent record, not grades or grade points earned. If a block transfer of credits is awarded (e.g., in the Bible Ministries program), the total hours for which transfer credit is granted will appear on the student’s permanent record.
  • Courses noted in the University catalog as being required in residence are not covered by this policy.
  • If a student desires to appeal a decision of the registrar, appeal should be made to the provost, not to the faculty or a committee of the faculty.

Transfer Credits After Matriculation

Current students may take a course at another institution to meet a graduation requirement at Cairn. However, they must obtain approval prior to enrolling in the course. Prior approval is obtained by submitting a completed Planned Transfer Credit form to the Registrar’s Office.

Credit will be granted for up to 12 credits taken by CLEP (College Level Examination Program). The subject matter must be appropriate to the student’s Cairn curriculum. A minimum score of 50 is required for credit to be awarded.

A maximum of twelve credits of the arts and sciences core curriculum may be taken at other academic institutions by Cairn students from the time they first matriculate at the University until they graduate. This limit includes both planned transfer credits and CLEP. Credits earned prior to matriculating at Cairn are not counted toward this limit.

All transfer credit, including planned transfer credit, CLEP, and credit for prior learning, must be completed prior to the semester in which a student will graduate. In addition, official transcripts of this transfer credit and/or other required paperwork must be received by the Registrar’s Office prior to the graduation application deadline for that semester.

Credit for Prior Learning

Students with extensive background in a subject or ministry paralleling Cairn course offerings may demonstrate university-level competence through documentation of their achievement and thus obtain Cairn academic credit. The documentation should include the competencies learned, time involved, accomplishments, philosophy of approach, goals set and attained, letters of reference detailing certification of accomplishments, and how experiential learning has met the requirements of the specific course as presented in the syllabus for the Cairn course. Credit for prior learning is limited to 12 credits for traditional undergraduate students and 24 credits for degree completion students. For more information, students should contact the School in which the desired course is offered.

Residency Requirements

To protect the integrity of Cairn degrees, each degree program has established a residency requirement, which specifies the number of credits that must be taken at the University. Traditional undergraduate programs require a minimum of 60 credits taken in residence. The Degree Completion Program requires a minimum of 52 credits taken in residence. In addition, students must take at least 50% of both major (including the Bible core) and minor requirements in residence. Undergraduate students must also take at least three upper-level Bible and theology courses in residence.

Graduation Requirements

The University confers baccalaureate degrees on students who have fulfilled the following conditions:

  1. Completion of one of the programs offered by the University with a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or above. A minimum of 60 credits must have been taken at Cairn University (52 credits for Degree Completion Program).
  2. Evidence of dependability and progress in Christian ministry as mutually evaluated by the directors of the University Ministry Center and the candidate’s chosen program.
  3. Approved Christian character as evidenced by stability, maturity, and cooperation.
  4. Approval of the faculty and board of trustees.
  5. Submission of a completed application for graduation.

Academic Load

A full academic load for undergraduate students is 12 to 18 credits. Students wishing to take more credits may do so according to the semester overload policy, which states the student must have a 3.0 GPA to take 19 to 21 credits and a 3.5 GPA to take 22 credits or more.

Academic Honors

Dean’s List
Undergraduates who carry a minimum of 12 credits, whose semester grade point average is 3.67 or higher, and who are approved by the Office of Student Life and the University Ministry Center will be placed on the Dean’s List. Students with I or NR grades at the time of processing are not eligible.

Graduation Honors
Undergraduate baccalaureate candidates who have completed at least 60 credits in residence are eligible for graduation honors. Those who attain a scholastic average of 3.50 graduate cum laude. Those who attain a scholastic average of 3.75 graduate magna cum laude. Candidates who attain a scholastic average of 3.90 graduate summa cum laude.

Student Scheduling

School deans, department chairs, academic advisors, and the University registrar are available to assist students in course selection and planning. However, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all courses are taken and all course requirements are met satisfactorily.

Student Education Records

The student’s academic records are maintained in the Registrar’s Office. Included are high school transcripts, SAT, ACT and/or CLT scores, Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test scores, transcripts from other collegiate institutions, and Cairn academic records. Application to the University, recommendations, correspondence, and other admissions documents are kept in a file located in the Admissions Office prior to enrollment and in the Office of Student Life while the student is enrolled. These documents are moved to the Registrar’s Office when the student is no longer enrolled at the University.

Academic Integrity

At Cairn University, a high value is placed on academic integrity. Faculty members are expected to maintain this integrity personally and insist on it in the academic performance of their students. Academic integrity is violated in a number of ways, but some illustrations include: cheating on examinations and quizzes, fabricating or altering data used in an assignment, facilitating academic dishonesty, multiple submissions of the same work, and disregarding other rules of academic integrity established by a faculty member.

Students who violate standards of academic integrity do not fulfill the character prerequisite for graduation from the University. Dishonest academic practices will therefore be tracked, and Student Life will maintain a central record of occurrences of academic dishonesty.  Repeated offenses will result in increasingly severe consequences.  Students with three academic integrity violations may be subject to disciplinary dismissal from the University.

If an act of academic dishonesty is determined to have occurred, one or more of the following sanctions below will be imposed by the reporting faculty member, depending on the severity of the offense.  The decision of the faculty member will be communicated in writing to the student and reported to the Office of Student Life, which is responsible for maintaining student conduct records. The incident will result in an official disciplinary record for the student(s).

  • Warning
  • Requiring student to redo assignment, re-take exam, etc.
  • An “F” on the assignment or exam
  • Reduction of course grade
  • Failure for entire course
  • Combination of any of the above sanctions.

Multiple or additional offenses (in the same or other courses) will bring, in addition to the above academic consequences, disciplinary action by Student Life.  Further, students with third offenses may be subject to disciplinary dismissal from the University.  A violation of the Academic Integrity policy discovered after the conferral of a degree is grounds for withdrawal (rescinding) of the degree.  Any dispute arising out of charges of academic dishonesty should be resolved through the process set forth in the Academic Grievance Procedures as outlined in the Student Handbook.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the University may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. The University considers some information to be directory information, which may be disclosed to others without student permission. This includes items such as name, address, telephone number, email address, dates of enrollment, classification, degree(s) received, awards, honors, program of study, previous institutions attended, date and place of birth, participation in activities, height and weight of members of athletic teams, and photographic image of the student. However, if a student does not want this information released, he or she must fill out the Request to Withhold Directory Information form. This form must be filled out each year by October 15 in order for the University to withhold this information.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education (Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920) concerning alleged failures of Cairn University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Curriculum Philosophy

Because Cairn University is a biblical university, the undergraduate baccalaureate degree programs are structured to provide every student with a thorough grounding in Bible and theology. In the 33 divinity credits, which include 30 credits of specified Bible and theology requirements, the English Bible and the major doctrines of the Christian faith are studied. Depending on the professional program, additional Bible and theology credits may be stipulated for graduation.

The curriculum also provides the student with a complementary foundation in arts and sciences through a knowledge of the history, language, behavior, expression, and thought of both past and present cultures. The curriculum in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been planned to develop the student’s intellectual resources, thus aiding in the formulation of a biblical world and life view. Courses have been carefully selected to achieve these purposes and to complement the student’s professional goals. Students take a cross section of arts and sciences subjects, totaling 33 credits.

To complete the undergraduate curriculum, most students specialize in an elected professional area. These professional programs are designed to equip the student with a foundational knowledge of the history, philosophy, content, literature, and skills in each respective field. In the four-year programs, at least 27 credits are devoted to professional study; however, departmental requirements of particular arts and sciences courses promote further strengthening of the professional program. The curricula in these professional programs provide a balance of theory and skill courses. Electives allow students to adapt the program to a specific area of vocational interest.

Under the direction of the chair of each professional program, classroom study is complemented by required field experience. Also, in conjunction with the chairs of the professional programs, the University Ministry Center designs, implements, and oversees field experiences of service and witness for each student.

In the single-degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, BS in Bible, BS in Business Administration, BS in Education, BS in Youth and Family Ministry, or the Bachelor of Music degree, at least 120 credits are required for graduation. Double-degree programs require additional credits for graduation and offer the BS in Bible degree and one of the previously listed professional degrees. Certain programs are available in a dual-level format in which a student concurrently earns both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

Curriculum Divisions

The undergraduate academic areas of the University are organized according to the following schools and departments:

Degree Completion Program

School of Business

School of Divinity

School of Education
Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Department of Secondary Education
Department of Health and Physical Education
Department of Special Education

School of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Humanities
Department of Sciences
Department of Social Sciences

School of Music

Course Numbering System

The University code for course identification uses a three-letter prefix, identifying the subject field or content, and a three-number combination, indicating the normal year the course should be taken (100 courses in freshman year, 200 courses in sophomore year, 300 courses in junior year, 400 and 500 courses in senior years). A course whose number begins with 0 does not count toward graduation, but may have credit value. The three-letter prefix codes for courses are as follows:

CHD/Children’s Ministries
CHM/Church Ministries
CIS/Computer and Information Systems
COM/Communication Arts
CRJ/Criminal Justice
ECH/Early Childhood Education
HON/Honors Program
HPE/Health and Physical Education
MAB/Music - Applied Brass
MAC/Music - Applied Composition
MAG/Music - Applied Guitar
MAO/Music - Applied Organ
MAP/Music - Applied Piano
MAS/Music - Applied Strings
MAV/Music - Applied Voice
MAW/Music - Applied Woodwinds
MAX/Music - Applied Percussion
MEN/Music Ensemble
MJB/Applied Jazz/Pop Brass
MJG/Applied Jazz/Pop Guitar
MJP/Applied Jazz/Pop Piano
MJS/Applied Jazz/Pop Strings
MJV/Applied Jazz/Pop Voice
MJW/Applied Jazz/Pop Woodwinds
MJX/Applied Jazz/Pop Percussion
ORL/Organizational Leadership
PMN/Pastoral Ministries
RCT/Recreation and Tourism
SCI/Natural Science
SOC/Social Science
SPE/Special Education
STM/Student Ministries
TSL/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
YTH/Youth and Family Ministry


Dual Enrollment

On Campus & Cairn Online

Cairn University provides motivated, talented, and Christ-centered high school students with an early opportunity to take college-level courses at deeply discounted tuition rates and experience a biblical university environment while still enrolled in high school. For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at visits@cairn.edu or 215.702.4235.

Partner Schools

Cairn University offers college credit courses in conjunction with numerous high schools. The high schools that have a dual credit agreement with Cairn are: Calvary Academy (Lakewood, NJ), Calvary Christian Academy (Dover, DE), Claritas Classical Academy (Bryn Mawr, PA), Conestoga Christian School (Morgantown, PA), Covenant Christian Academy (Harrisburg, PA), Dayspring Christian Academy (Mountville, PA), Delaware Valley Classical School (New Castle, DE), Delmarva Christian High School (Georgetown, DE), Greenwood Mennonite School (Greenwood, DE), Harrisburg Christian School (Harrisburg, PA), Ichthus School (Indonesia), International Christian High School (Philadelphia, PA), Phil-Mont Christian Academy (Erdenheim, PA), Plumstead Christian School (Plumsteadville, PA), Providence Classical School (Huntsville, AL), Red Lion Christian Academy (Bear, DE), Redeemer Classical School (Keezletown, VA), Shalom Christian Academy (Chambersburg, PA), The Christian Academy (Brookhaven, PA), The Cornerstone Christian School (Manchester, CT), The King’s Christian Academy (Callaway, MD), The King’s Christian School (Cherry Hill, NJ), The Wilberforce School (Princeton, NJ), Veritas Scholars Academy (Lancaster, PA), West Shore Christian Academy (Shiremanstown, PA), and Wilmington Christian School (Hockessin, DE). Students in these high schools who are interested in pursuing dual enrollment should contact their high school guidance counselor.