Apply to Cairn University

or submit the Common App (fee waived for Cairn applicants)

Undergraduate Admissions Requirements

All Cairn University students must have professed a faith in Jesus Christ as Savior as evidenced by providing a personal testimony that details this faith. By submitting an application, students acknowledge the University’s doctrinal position and standards of conduct as outlined in the Statement of Faith and Community Life Covenant.

Students come to Cairn from many different backgrounds.  Find the admissions requirements that apply to you from the list below.

First-Time Students

Applicants coming to Cairn directly after graduating from high school or who have never attended college or university before are considered First Time students.  First Time students are admitted to the University on a rolling basis.

Application

Submit the Undergraduate Application for Admission (either online or print) OR The Common Application, along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

Essays

Compose one essay that addresses the following:

Please share your testimony of trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior, and how that has impacted your life and made you excited to study at a place like Cairn University. (500 word minimum)

Transcript and Test Scores

Cairn University is “test-optional.” While “test scores” not required for acceptance, students who believe their SAT/ACT/CLT scores represent a strong, positive component of their academic portfolio may still submit them as a core element of their application package. Students can submit official academic transcript(s) and SAT, ACT, or CLT* scores.

Download the Transcript Request Form. Use Cairn code #2661 for SAT and #3658 for ACT *CLT scores only accepted for non-Education majors. Email scores to admissions@cairn.edu.

Additional Requirements

  • Students applying to any program in the School of Music must audition for entrance. View School of Music Audition Requirements
  • Students applying to any Visual Arts program (Graphic Design, Studio Art, Pre-Art Therapy, and Community Art) must submit a portfolio. View Portfolio Requirements for Visual Arts Programs
  • Home Schooled Students

    • Submit a transcript of subjects studied, as well as grades and a cumulative grade point average; this must include the signature of the person who prepared the transcript. If the transcript does not include grades, an explanation of the method of evaluation must also be included. View an example of a transcript
    • Send an official copy of your transcript, with graduation date, after graduation. Although not required, an independent evaluation of academic progress by a qualified educator may also be included with the transcript.
    • Send proof of graduation at the completion of senior year unless GED scores and GED diploma are submitted. Home-school high school diplomas issued by the student’s parents are acceptable proof of high school completion.

    GED Applicants

    Submit an official transcript of completed secondary school work, a copy of the GED diploma, and an official statement of test scores. GED scores must be 2400 for a standard score total, with a minimum average of 480. GED students who have been out of school for at least 7 years DON’T require SAT or ACT scores.

    Early Admission

    Students with outstanding abilities and academic records may be eligible for admission during their senior year of high school.  An application should be submitted at the end of your junior year of high school.  Acceptance is determined based on a strong three-year high school academic record, as well as junior year test scores.

    • Submit a written statement of the reasons for pursuing early entrance.
    • 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 Cairn.
    • Submit a written statement of endorsement from the applicant’s parent(s) or guardian(s).

    Transfer Students

    If you have already begun your education at an accredited college, university, or Bible institute, the courses you took will be evaluated for transfer credit to the academic programs at Cairn.  A number of specified Bible and/or Doctrine courses are required to be completed at Cairn; all candidates for traditional undergraduate degree programs are required to complete a minimum of 60 Cairn credits. Transfer students are admitted to the University on a rolling basis.

    If you are transferring into the University, you must have attained a minimum 2.2 GPA in previous college work.  Specific majors may require a higher GPA.  The amount of transfer credit you will receive is determined upon receipt of your official transcript from the institution(s) where you have completed post-secondary work. You may also need to provide course descriptions and/or a course catalog from your previous school.  Courses in progress cannot be evaluated until official documents are received.

    Application

    Submit the Undergraduate Application for Admission (either online or print) OR The Common Application, along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

    Essays

    Compose one essay that addresses the following:

    Please share your testimony of trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior, and how that has impacted your life and made you excited to study at a place like Cairn University. (500 word minimum)

    Transcript and Test Scores

    Cairn University is “test-optional.” While “test scores” not required for acceptance, students who believe their SAT/ACT/CLT scores represent a strong, positive component of their academic portfolio may still submit them as a core element of their application package. Students can submit official academic transcript(s) and SAT, ACT, or CLT* scores.

    Download the Transcript Request Form. Use Cairn code #2661 for SAT and #3658 for ACT *CLT scores only accepted for non-Education majors. Email scores to admissions@cairn.edu.

    Re-entrant Students

    Students who have not attended classes at Cairn for one semester or more will need to complete specific application procedures. Re-entrant students are admitted to the University on a rolling basis.

    Transcript and Test Scores

    Request official transcript(s) from each college/university attended since leaving Cairn.
    Download the Transcript Request Form. Use Cairn code #2661 for SAT and #3658 for ACT *CLT scores only accepted for non-Education majors. Email scores to admissions@cairn.edu.

    International Students

    International applicants must follow all application procedures for traditional first time students or transfer students (if you are transferring to Cairn from another University).

    Application

    Submit the Undergraduate Application for Admission (either online or print), along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

    Essays

    Compose one essay that addresses the following:

    Please share your testimony of trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior, and how that has impacted your life and made you excited to study at a place like Cairn University. (500 word minimum)

    Transcript and Test Scores

    Submit official academic transcript(s) and standardized test scores.
    Learn more about acceptable international transcripts and TOEFL score requirement/waivers

    Visa

    F-1 Student Visa applicants must submit the application for Form I-20. Note: Citizens of certain countries (such as Canada) are not required to have a U.S. visa in order to enter the U.S.
    Download the Form I-20 Application

    International Student Application Deadlines

    Submit your application materials by the following deadlines:

    • May 1st for students entering in the fall semester (August)
    • September 1st for students entering in the spring semester (January)


    Visit the International Admissions pages for detailed information on international student admission to Cairn.

    OneLife Students

    OneLife is partnering with Cairn University to offer college credit for participation in their 9 month gap year program. 

    OneLife Pre-qualification

    Students must first complete OneLife’s pre-qualification process, from application through interview. Once a student qualifies for the OneLife program, they may proceed to Cairn University’s application process (below).

    Application

    Submit the Undergraduate Application for Admission (either online or print) OR The Common Application, along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

    Transcript and Test Scores

    Submit official academic transcript(s).
    Download the Transcript Request Form

    Home Schooled Students

    • Submit a transcript of subjects studied, as well as grades and a cumulative grade point average; this must include the signature of the person who prepared the transcript. If the transcript does not include grades, an explanation of the method of evaluation must also be included.
    • Send an official copy of your transcript, with graduation date, after graduation. Although not required, an independent evaluation of academic progress by a qualified educator may also be included with the transcript.
    • Send proof of graduation at the completion of senior year unless GED scores and GED diploma are submitted. Home-school high school diplomas issued by the student’s parents are acceptable proof of high school completion.
    • Submit a bibliography of high school literature and an essay written by the student.

    GED Applicants

    Submit an official transcript of completed secondary school work, a copy of the GED diploma, and an official statement of test scores. GED scores must be 2400 for a standard score total, with a minimum average of 480. GED students who have been out of school for at least 7 years DON’T require SAT or ACT scores.

    Dual Enrollment On-Campus Students

    Cairn has created dual enrollment programs and offerings that allow current home-schooled and local high school students to satisfy both high school graduation and college credit requirements while taking classes on Cairn’s campus. Learn more about Dual Enrollment.

    Application

    Submit the Undergraduate Dual Enrollment Application for Admission along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

    Essays

    Compose one essay that addresses the following:

    Please share your testimony of trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior, and how that has impacted your life and made you excited to study at a place like Cairn University. (500 word minimum)

    Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst (BCaBA) Students

    A post-baccalaureate student has already earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and is returning to college to complete additional undergraduate coursework. Students interested in studying TESOL (ESL) or receiving Act 48 credit at Cairn University must formally apply to the University and fulfill the admission criteria identified below.

    Transcript and Test Scores

    Request final, official transcript(s) from each college/university attended. Submit a schedule and description of additional courses to be completed before entrance to Cairn. If you have completed less than 15 college credits, you must also submit official secondary school transcripts and SAT, ACT, or CLT* scores.

    Download the Transcript Request Form. Use Cairn code #2661 for SAT and #3658 for ACT *CLT scores only accepted for non-Education majors. Email scores to admissions@cairn.edu.

    Additional Information for Non-Matriculation Status

    • Non-matriculating students may be reconsidered for matriculation at a later date. To change your status, you must notify the Admissions Department and the Registrar concerning your intent to matriculate.  At that time, you will need to complete the application procedures and requirements.
    • 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 complete the application process and be accepted into a program in order to continue taking classes at Cairn.

    Post-Baccalaureate/Continuing Education Students

    Students interested in completing Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) coursework at Cairn University must formally apply to these programs and fulfill the admission criteria identified below. 

    Transcript and Test Scores

    Request final, official transcript(s) from each college/university attended. Submit a schedule and description of additional courses to be completed before entrance to Cairn. If you have completed less than 15 college credits, you must also submit official secondary school transcripts and SAT, ACT, or CLT* scores.

    Download the Transcript Request Form. Use Cairn code #2661 for SAT and #3658 for ACT *CLT scores only accepted for non-Education majors. Email scores to admissions@cairn.edu.

    Application

    Submit the Graduate Application for Admission, along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

    Graduate Program Admissions Requirements

    All Cairn University students must have professed a faith in Jesus Christ as Savior as evidenced by providing a personal testimony that details this faith. By submitting an application, students acknowledge the University’s doctrinal position and standards of conduct as outlined in the Statement of Faith and Community Life Covenant.

    Application

    Submit the Graduate Application for Admission along with a $25 non-refundable application fee.

    Transcripts

    Submit official academic transcript(s) for all conferred degrees. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, university, or seminary, with a cumulative grade point average of 2.50* or higher. Applicants with a lower GPA may contact their admissions counselor about alternative means of demonstrating academic ability.

    Download the Transcript Request Form

    *Graduate Education programs, Business Programs, and the ThM program require a 3.0 GPA or higher.

    *Additional Essays, References, and Other Requirements

    Please see below for additional program-specific admissions requirements.

    Master of Arts (Religion)

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    Master of Divinity

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    3. Academic Essay: Choose an author, theologian, well-known ministry leader, or Christian philosopher and discuss how his/her views have shaped your thinking on a biblical text or theme that has significant meaning for you. What are its implications for pastoral ministry? (1000-1200 words)

    Master of Theology

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    3. Thesis Proposal: Introduce and discuss a thesis topic. (250-500 words)
    Interview and Additional Requirements

    Interview with program faculty. Contact your admissions counselor to schedule an interview.
    Demonstrate proficiency in Hebrew and Greek exegesis.

    Worship & Music (MA)

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)
    Audition

    Successfully pass an audition conducted online or in person. Review audition requirements.

    Master of Business Administration (MBA)

    Essay

    Submit the following essay:

    • Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (700 words)

    MS in Organizational Development

    Essay

    Submit the following essay:

    • Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (700 words)

    MS in Nonprofit Leadership

    Essay

    Submit the following essay:

    • Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (700 words)

    MS in Counseling

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    3. Cultural Awareness: Describe how interacting with diverse cultures will impact you as a Christian counselor. Explain what it means to communicate respectfully as a counselor when encountering varying beliefs, behaviors and backgrounds that differ from your own. (500 words)
    Academic Writing Sample

    Submit an academic writing sample of no less than 700 words. For those applicants who have been out of school for more than 5 years, an optional position paper on a topic related to Christian counseling will be assigned.

    Interview

    Attend a Group Interview. Contact you admissions counselor for available dates.

    MS in Education

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    MS in Educational Leadership & Administration

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)
    Resume

    Submit your resume.

    References & Assessments

    Submit two Academic/Professional References.
    Submit an Administrative Assessment Form and Self Assessment Form.

    Additional Documentation

    If pursuing Principal Certification concurrently with the MSELA, please submit the following additional documents:

    • a copy of valid state or ASCI teaching certificate
    • documentation of 5 years of professional experience in education, including school name(s); name and contact information for supervisor(s); length of employment; and nature of duties
    • a chief school administrator’s verification of five years of teaching experience

    Master of Arts (ABA)

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    MS in Special Education (Instruction)

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)
    Certification

    Submit a copy of your teaching certification/certificate issued by the state, government, or ACSI. Other types of teaching certificates may be submitted but are subject to University evaluation.

    Special Education Certification

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)
    Certification

    Submit a copy of your teaching certification/certificate issued by the state, government, or ACSI. Other types of teaching certificates may be submitted but are subject to University evaluation.

    Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    Graduate Certificate in TESOL

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    Post-Baccalaureate/Continuing Education Students

    A post-baccalaureate student has already earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and is returning to college to complete additional undergraduate coursework. Students interested in studying TESOL (ESL) or receiving Act 48 credit at Cairn University must formally apply to the University and fulfill the admission criteria identified below.  Questions related to these programs can be directed to your Graduate Admissions Counselor.

    LDi Fellowship

    Essays

    Submit the following essays:

    1. Personal Testimony: Describe your conversion to Christ, spiritual growth, and church involvement. (250-500 words)

    2. Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this field at this time. Please explain your current employment situation and your long-term goals. (250-500 words)

    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.

     

    As a prospective student, Cairn University’s annual security report is available to you upon request. This report is required by federal law and contains policy statements and crime statistics for the school. The policy statements address the school’s policies, procedures and programs concerning safety and security, for example, policies for responding to emergency situations and sexual offenses. Three years’ worth of statistics are included for certain types of crimes that were reported to have occurred on campus, in or on off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by the school and on public property within or immediately adjacent to the campus. This report is available online at cairn.edu/safety. You may also request a paper copy from the Office of Safety & Security or Student Life.