Clarks Summit University

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This school appears in our ranking 20 Most Affordable Master's in Psychology Degrees Online: Private Colleges 2018.

Clarks Summit University was originally built in Johnson City, New York, in 1932 at the First Baptist Church for an inaugural class of 40 studying divinity. Thirty-six years later, it worked with 38th Governor William Scranton for a relocation to South Abington Township. Renamed the Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania, it gained regional accreditation in 1984. Dedicated to Peter 2:9, Clarks Summit University was officially born in July 2016. Generating $36 million yearly, CSU now attracts 1,220 Defenders from 29 states for independent, Baptist four-year liberal arts education. Online classrooms extend learning beyond the 17-building, tree-lined Lackawanna County campus near Forbes' 173rd best city too. During its 80+ years, Clarks Summit has trained 13,000 alumni like Mel Walker, Aaron Hixson, Michelle Hammaker, and others.

On Niche, Clarks Summit is crowned America's 25th best religious studies school with 88 percent job placement. College Factual placed CSU 851st overall and 72nd in Pennsylvania. SR Education Group ranked Clarks Summit University 18th among the country's cheapest online master's programs. Featured in The Abington Journal, Clarks Summit received 4.8/5 stars on for 100 percent recommendation. CSU was named #1 for theology online by Grad School Hub. PayScale calculated a median mid-career salary of $65,600 for CSU grads. According to, Clarks Summit is the 25th top Bible college. Chosen to host the 2017 LYFE Women's Conference, Clarks Summit University was also the fifth best online counseling school on College Choice.

Clarks Summit University Accreditation Details

In January 2016, Clarks Summit University performed a self-study evaluation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) to reaffirm the faith-related Level III accreditation for another seven years under its 10th president, Dr. James Lytle. Located just 131 miles south on Interstate 476 in Philadelphia, this six-state East Coast accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to ensure the quality of Clarks Summit's four associate, 30 bachelor's, and nine master's degrees. The Christian university has held Association for Biblical Higher Education approval since 1968. On-campus and online programs are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education too.

Clarks Summit University Application Requirements

Attending Clarks Summit University is deemed "minimally difficult" by Peterson's though just 76 percent of the 452 Fall 2016 applications were accepted. Post-grad defenders battling for online master's spots must finish four years of higher education first. Having at least nine credits of Bible or theology credits is expected. The Master of Science in Counseling specifically needs 18 credits of psychology prerequisites. Moreover, the online Master of Education tracks mandates an accredited bachelor degree aa and current teaching certification. Master's entrants must present a minimum 3.0 GPA, but the average is 3.49. Taking the Graduate Record Exam or its equivalent is optional. International students must score at least 550 on the TOEFL or 6.0 on the IELTS though. The seminary's Doctor of Ministry only considers candidates with 3+ years of experience.

Clarks Summit University created a priority deadline of May 1st and a regular deadline of August 15th for freshmen's fall entrance. Otherwise, admission is rolling until two weeks before the flexible term starts. Interested master's students create an online profile for submitting application materials. In some cases, extras are mailed to 538 Venard Road in South Abington Township, PA 18411. Please contact (800) 451-7664 or [email protected] for greater clarification. The typical graduate application attaches the following:

  • $40 non-refundable fee online or by phone
  • Official undergraduate transcript copies
  • Short answer responses on growth and goals
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae of experience
  • Typewritten, 650-word spiritual statement
  • Verification of teaching licensure if applicable

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2017-18, Clarks Summit University charged average full-time graduate tuition of $7,200 per year. Added expenses included the $250 confirmation deposit, $50 parking fee, $175 graduation fee, $200 portfolio assessment fee, and $200 teaching fee. Living at the South Abington Township campus' graduate suites in Shaffer or Common Hall cost $6,320 more. Luckily, CSU Online bills simple flat-rate tuition without hidden fees. The Master of Arts tracks are priced at $415 per credit. For example, Master of Arts in Bible majors pay $12,450 total for the 30-credit degree. Costs climb to $520 per credit for Master of Education and Master of Science graduates online.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 89 percent of full-time CSU Defenders share $4.81 million in yearly financial aid packages that average $10,605. University funds include the President's Scholarship, Dean's Scholarship, Provost's Scholarship, Impact Scholarship, Church Matching Scholarship, and Word of Life Bible Institute Scholarship. Alumni pursuing an Online Master of Arts get a discount to $315 per credit. The Christian Worker Discount cuts missionary costs to $365 per credit. Current or veteran Armed Forces members get the Military Discount for online Master of Science or Master of Education tuition of $420 per credit. Submitting the free FAFSA with code 002670 after October 1st opens Grad Plus and Federal Stafford loans. Some online master's, such as the Master of Education in Secondary English, are TEACH Grant eligible also.

Online Degrees Available

Clarks Summit University plans five eight-week sessions yearly for online students to quickly finish four associate, seven bachelor's, and eight master's tracks on Moodle. Its Baptist Bible Seminary also features online programs like the Master of Ministry and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. Flexible courses keep a 10:1 student-professor ratio for personalized mentoring rooted in the Word of God. Other benefits, such as the Online Resource Hub, Schoology app, Writing Center tutoring, IT Helpdesk, Murphy Memorial Library sign-on, and ABHE Discount, abound. Two sample CSU online master's degrees are:

Master of Arts in Literature

Directed by Dr. Brian Maxwell since 2016, Clarks Summit's Master of Arts in Literature deepens post-grads' hermeneutical skills for interpreting diverse texts from a Biblical worldview and contributing to cultural thought. The 33-credit, MSCHE-accredited curriculum spans 24 months from orientation to thesis defense with custom courses like Advanced Expository, Media Criticism, Selected Works of Shakespeare, and Narrative Genre.

Master of Science in Counseling

Reporting a 100 percent NCC exam pass rate, the Master of Science in Counseling admits Clarks Summit post-grads five times yearly for Biblical-based exploration of mental health with only one-week summer modules in South Abington Township. The 60-credit online plan organized by Dr. Lynelle Buchanan has six tracks: Addictions, Hospital Chaplaincy, Marriage & Family, Mental & Mood Disorders, Therapeutic Recreation, and General.

Learn about more online offerings, including the Master of Arts in Bible, Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction, Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministries, and Bachelor of Business Administration, at the Clarks Summit University website.