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

Admissions Information

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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. Extracurricular activities, church and community programs, and professional experience may 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 both benefit from and 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 and consent to the theological perspective of the University. Every applicant receives a copy of the University’s Statement of Faith and is asked to affirm their willingness to embrace the theological perspective upheld by Cairn 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 website (www.cairn.edu/apply) or apply via the Common App.

Campus Visits

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit the University to experience life on campus. This can be done both virtually and on campus 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 seeks to familiarize prospective students with Cairn and its programs, as well as to assist them in the admissions process. The staff encourage applicants to ask questions and to share interests and career goals with them. Contact information for the admissions staff can be found at cairn.edu/admissions/contact.

English Proficiency Testing

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must take the TOEFL examination (administered by the College Entrance Examination Board), the Duolingo English Proficiency Test, the SAT, ACT, or the CLT 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. For more information about the Duolingo English Proficiency Test or the TOEFL test, visit cairn.edu/admissions/international-students.

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. For example, an entrance into a program in the School of Music requires an audition and entrance into a visual arts program requires a portfolio. 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 International Baccalaureate Diploma (minimum score of 4), 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. 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 veterans’ education benefits. Contact the Financial Aid Office (215-702-4246) concerning benefits processing for these programs.


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 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.

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, written essays, application fee (if applicable), all required test scores (unless test optional), and transcripts. An interview may also be required in certain circumstances. 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.

Deferred Admission

Applicants who are accepted for a specific semester may defer their entrance for a semester without completing any additional paperwork, provided 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 freshman to senior years. 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), American College Testing (ACT), or Classic Learning Test (CLT) scores (CLT scores only accepted for non-education majors). SAT subject tests are not required. The applicant should achieve a combined score of 1,000 on the new SAT, with a score of 27 on the reading test and 480 in the math section; a composite score of 19 on the ACT, with a respective minimum allowance of 20 in English and 18 in math; or a CLT composite of 58 (non-Education majors only). 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. 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, or
    • The applicant is applying for admission under Cairn University’s test optional admission process.

Application Procedures

To apply to Cairn University, applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit an online application (or use the Common App) 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, with proof of graduation, must be sent after graduation).
  3. Request the official SAT, ACT, or CLT score report to be sent to the Cairn Admissions Department. (Use the SAT code number 2661 or ACT code number 3658 when registering for the tests to have scores sent directly to Cairn University.)

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, ACT, or CLT 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, as well as 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 respective degree program. 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 24 credits have been earned, an official high school transcript is also required.

Application Procedures

Transfer applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit an online application along with the non-refundable application fee of $25.
  2. Request final, official secondary school transcript (if fewer than 24 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 Cairn University.
  5. If fewer than 15 college credits have been earned (fewer than 30 for those desiring to be an education major), request the official SAT, ACT, or CLT 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.) Exemption for submission of test scores provided to transfer applicants who are applying for admission under Cairn University’s test optional admission process.

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 a new application, 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 1 for students applying for the fall (August) semester or September 1 for the spring (January) semester.

International applicants are evaluated academically to determine eligibility for admission for university-level study, as well as 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 US Embassy or Consulate and to enter the US with F-1 student status.

International applicants holding, or intending to hold, a US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) 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/international-students or contact the Cairn International Office:

International Office
Cairn University
200 Manor Ave. Langhorne, PA 19047-2990
United States of America
Phone: (215) 702-4244
Toll-Free (in U.S.): (800) 366-0049
Fax: (215) 702-4230
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 US high school diploma). Previous academic training should satisfy admissions requirements for university-level study.

Application Procedures

International applicants must:

  1. Complete and submit an online application 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-US academic transcripts evaluated by an academic transcript evaluating agency. Cairn prefers that transcripts be evaluated by World Education Services (WES) to determine their level and authenticity. Once international applicants have submitted their official transcript(s), they will be notified whether a WES 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 Duolingo English Proficiency Test, the SAT 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 tests with a minimum score of 17 on each section. The Cairn TOEFL school code is 2661.

    Duolingo English Proficiency Test: A minimum score of 95 on the Internet-based test.

    SAT: A minimum combined critical reading and math score of 920 on the old SAT, with a respective minimum allowance of 480 in critical reading and 440 in math, or a score of 1,000 on the new SAT, with a score of 27 on the reading test and 480 in the math section. The Cairn SAT school code is 2661. See the Admissions section of the Cairn website for any updates.

    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. Submit a fully completed application for a Form I-20.

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

Duolingo English Proficiency Test
Web: www.englishtest.duolingo.com

The College Board (SAT)
International Education
1233 20th Street NW Suite 600
Washington DC 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, Duolingo English Proficiency Test, SAT, ACT, and English speaking school 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, Duolingo English Proficiency Test, 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. Further, applicants who have successfully completed at least two years of high school at an international English speaking school and obtained their diploma may receive a waiver.

Satisfactory Test Scores and Remedial Coursework: Accepted applicants who obtained a satisfactory TOEFL, Duolingo English Proficiency Test, 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 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. An independent evaluation of academic progress by a qualified educator may also be included with the transcript and may be required at the discretion of the Director of Admissions. 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, as well as those who plan to transfer courses back to another college or university but do not intend to complete a degree program at Cairn, may request non-matriculant status. Non-matriculant students must complete and submit an online application 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 residence halls. 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 online application, but are not required to complete the secondary admissions forms or the test requirements.

Degree Completion Programs

In addition to the general requirements for applicants to undergraduate programs, admission to the Degree Completion programs requires the following:

  1. Submission of a completed online application, including essay, along with the non-refundable application fee of $25.
  2. Completion of credits from an accredited post-secondary institution.
  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.

Applications are processed through the Cairn Admissions Department.