History - Clarks Summit University
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CSU’s History

A Rich History of Preparing Christ-Centered, Career-Ready Graduates

Originally named Baptist Bible Seminary because the school only offered a three–year Bible degree, CSU was established in 1932 by a group of pastors led by Dr. Richard J. Murphy. Its original purpose of preparing men and women to serve Christ as they carried out the biblical command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” has not changed. The founders insisted the new school be strongly biblical and that it keep high academic standards. Through the years, the school’s leaders have continued those goals. Our current motto, “Christ-Centered, Career-Ready” indicates high regard for God’s Word as well as a commitment to excellent academics.

A three–year Bible program was in place during the early years of 1932–1947. In 1947, four–year programs in a variety of disciplines were added. A few years later, the Regents of New York State granted a temporary charter, and in 1954, they gave permission to grant the Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Religious Education degrees. In 1967, the Bachelor of Sacred Music degree was approved.

At that time, the school used the facilities of First Baptist Church, Johnson City, New York. As the number of students grew from the original 40, additional buildings were purchased. In the 1960s, the administration and the board of trustees saw clearly that the school needed a new campus. When the present site in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, was purchased in 1968, this vision became a reality.

During 1968, the Association for Biblical Higher Education granted accreditation, and in early 1969, the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved the same programs and degrees offered in New York. In addition, they approved the Associate of Arts degree. In 1971, in order to accurately reflect the courses of study offered, the name of the institution was changed to Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania. In 1982, the institution was authorized to grant the Bachelor of Science in Bible degree. Accreditation from the Middle State Association of Colleges & Schools (Philadelphia, PA) was given in 1984.

The launch of Baptist Bible Seminary

For many years, the Trustees prepared to start a post-baccalaureate program that would become a recognized theological seminary, and in September 1972, the seminary was launched with 23 students and 3 professors. Initially offering the Master of Divinity (1975) and Master of Theology (1980) degrees, the seminary now also offers the Master of Ministry (1987), Master of Arts (2012), Doctor of Ministry (1992), and Doctor of Philosophy (2000) degrees.

Graduate Programs Added to College

In 1989, the Pennsylvania Department of Education granted approval for the college to offer the Master of Science in Christian School Education degree. In 2010, that degree was renamed the Master of Education. In 1996, the Master of Science in Counseling Ministries degree program was approved, and in 2007, the Master of Arts degree was approved. In 2012, the Master of Arts in Literature was approved.

The Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Bachelor of Sacred Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Bachelor of Science in Counseling degrees were added in 2012. That same year, the Master of Science in Counseling Ministries degree was renamed Master of Science in Counseling. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice was added in 2018.

The Distance Education Department of Baptist Bible College & Seminary offered the first online course through the seminary in the fall of 1997. Two graduate school courses were also made available. That next spring, thirteen online seminary courses were in place. By the summer of 1998, the library catalog was entirely online.

Current Degrees offered at CSU

There are several degrees on all levels offered online. On the undergraduate level, there is an Associate of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Science degree, a Bachelor of Science in Counseling degree, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, and a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies degree. On the graduate level, the Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Literature, and Master of Education degrees are offered entirely online. The Master of Science in Counseling degree is mostly online with some required on-campus modules. For the Seminary, the Master of Ministry, Master of Divinity, and Master of Arts programs are offered entirely online. There are also several doctoral courses available.

The school achieved university status with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Trustees changed the name to Clarks Summit University in 2016.

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