Cairn University


Becoming a Licensed Social Worker at Cairn

Cairn University appears in our ranking of the 35 Best Value Christian Colleges with CSWE-accredited Programs.

Since 1974, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has granted an accredited Bachelor of Social Work for Cairn University undergrads to develop the generalist resources for empowering at-risk people and confronting inequality headfirst. Directed by Dr. Lloyd Gestoso, the 2004 Faculty Member of the Year, the 132-credit, Christ-centered curriculum unlocks the LSW title by introducing domestic and global practice methods. Courses like Welfare Policy and Cultural Diversity nurture personal mentoring from faculty with 100+ years of combined experience at a 14:1 ratio. Extra credits can finish the Dual BS in Bible/BSW or BSW/MS in Nonprofit Leadership. Upper-division majors complete at least 250 intensive practicum hours at Parkside Recovery, Oaks Integrated Care, Crefeld School, Rivington House, Girls Incorporated, and more. Other opportunities include serving in Uganda, becoming Urban Ministry Scholars, joining Chi Beta Sigma, minoring in BCaBA, and attending the Biblical Integration Conference.

About Cairn University

Cairn University was officially born in 1951 when the Bible Institute of Philadelphia founded by W.W. Rugh in 1913 merged with the Philadelphia School of Bible opened by C.I. Scofield in 1914. Initially located in the YWCA, the Institute focused on three-year Christian ministry diplomas until the 1950s. By 1967, it had received a Commonwealth charter for Bachelor of Science education and regional accreditation. Forty-five years later, the PSB was renamed Cairn University and celebrating its Centennial anniversary. Endowed for $10.1 million, Cairn now attracts 1,505 Highlanders, including Social Work majors, from 34 states with 75 percent retention. Cairn University sprawls across a 115-acre Langhorne Manor campus in Pennsylvania's Lower Bucks County adjacent to Philly. Linked with 4,701 LinkedIn alumni, Cairn has graduated activists Willie Richardson, Rachel Saint, Cruz Cordero, and others.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Cairn in the top 187 Northern universities and 291 online graduate education programs. On Niche, Cairn has America's 127th most conservative pupils, 262nd safest environment, 931st most diversity, and 954th top value. College Factual crowned Cairn University the 41st most focused social work school. Forbes placed Cairn's Philadelphia metropolitan 83rd nationally for careers. PayScale calculated an average starting salary of $45,004 for Cairn alumni. For the North region, WalletHub positioned Cairn 201st overall. Washington Monthly picked Cairn University for the 121st best buck, 154th highest Ph.D. rate, and 178th most Peace Corps volunteers.

Cairn University Accreditation Details

In 2015, Cairn University satisfactorily passed a self-study review with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) to continue Level III accreditation for another decade under its fifth president, Dr. Todd Williams. Based just 25 miles southwest in Philadelphia, this six-state East Coast accreditor is authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to double check the quality of Cairn's 37 baccalaureate, 13 master's, and six certificate programs. The 2016 CSAC Institutional Academic Excellence Award winner is nationally accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) also reaffirmed the Bachelor of Social Work through February 2026.

Cairn University Application Requirements

Enrolling at Cairn University is considered "minimally difficult" by Peterson's since 98 percent of the 338 Fall 2016 applicants were easily accepted. First-year Highlanders battling for Bachelor of Social Work spots only matriculate after a high school curriculum with four units of English. Scoring at least 2400 on the GED with a minimum average of 480 would be a diploma equivalent. Freshmen present a mean GPA of 3.24, SAT mark of 1050, and ACT grade of 21. Sophomore and junior transfers are welcomed with up to 60 credits and cumulative averages above 2.2. Having sufficient academic progress means passing at least 67 percent of the credits attempted. International F-1 visa applicants, except Canadians, are asked to submit TOEFL paper scores over 520 or qualifying waivers.

Cairn University offers U.S. citizens flexible, rolling admission year-round, but remember that tuition is due August 1st for Fall and December 15th for Spring. International students must meet deadlines of May 1st and September 1st respectively. Hopeful Bachelor of Social Work entrants can now send the Undergraduate Application wholly online. The PDF form can be printed for mailing to 200 Manor Avenue in Langhorne, PA 19047 too. Please inquire further through or (877) 786-2728 if needed. The BSW application checklist generally includes these:

  • $25 non-refundable application fee payment
  • Official academic transcript(s) of coursework
  • Scores meeting the SAT or ACT requirement
  • One 500-word essay attesting to Christian faith
  • Signed Undergraduate Standards of Conduct form

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, Cairn University will charge Bachelor of Social Work majors $13,489 per semester or $26,979 yearly full-time. Studying part-time incurs $800 per credit for 1-7 credits or $1,107 per credit for 8-11 credits. Summer or Winter courses are discounted to $230 per credit. Undergrads are liable for the $300 activity fee each year. Living at the Langhorne campus' dorms like Souder Hall adds $5,389 for housing and $4,900 for unlimited access meal plans. During the Summer Session, rooms are rented for $110 per week. Cairn suggests budgeting $1,040 for textbooks and $1,968 for extra supplies. Annual bachelor's attendance equals $39,304 on-site and $29,501 with family. Students pursuing the Dual BSW-MS in Nonprofit Leadership pay $688 per credit for each master's course.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 95 percent of full-time Cairn Highlanders climb toward yearly financial aid packages averaging $15,412 apiece for $10.81 million total. University funds include the Merit Scholarship, Christian Worker Scholarship, Alumni Award, Honors Scholarship, International Student Award, Church Matching Scholarship, Word of Life Scholarship, and Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship. The Veritas Press Scholars Academy gifts $17,500 to Cairn University freshmen with minimum 1410 SAT or 30 ACT scores. High schoolers involved in Young Life reap $1,000 discounts. Veterans receive Yellow Ribbon Program awards up to $8,000 alongside GI Bill benefits. The PHEAA offers Keystone State residents the Pennsylvania State Grant, National Guard EAP, and Chafee Training Grant. Federal aid programs, such as the Pell Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, and Stafford Loan, are accessed with FAFSA code 003351. Work-study jobs from Masland Library to Chatlos Chapel also pay at least $7.25/hour.

Learn more about Cairn University at the Social Work Department website.