A Rich History of Preparing Christ-Focused, Scripture-Driven, Ministry-Ready Graduates
Baptist Bible Seminary was established in 1932 by a group of pastors and educators led by Dr. Richard J. Murphy. At its founding, the school only offered a three-year Bible degree to fulfill 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.” The founders insisted the new school be strongly biblical and that it keep high academic standards, a goal that still remains.
The 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 the school permission to grant Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Religious Education degrees. In 1967, the Bachelor of Sacred Music degree was approved.
When the school was founded, it had an enrollment of only 40 students. As more and more students began seeking a solid biblical education through Baptist Bible Seminary, the school gradually began buying and constructing buildings of its own. It became apparent in the 1960s, however, that the school would need an entirely new campus to provide a home for all of its incoming students. In 1968, then-Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton helped Baptist Bible Seminary move to its current, beautiful campus in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
That same year, the Association for Biblical Higher Education granted accreditation. 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, Pennsylvania) was given in 1984.
The school’s Board of Trustees prepared to start a post-baccalaureate program that would become a recognized theological seminary. In September of 1972, Baptist Bible Seminary was launched with 23 students and three professors. The seminary began offering a Master of Divinity in 1975; gradually more degrees were added, such as: Master of Theology (1980), Master of Ministry (1987), Doctor of Ministry (1992) and Doctor of Philosophy (2000) and Master of Arts (2012).
In 1989, non-seminary graduate studies were launched when 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. The Master of Science in Counseling Ministries was added in 1996, and later changed to a Master of Science in Counseling in 2012. More graduate degrees were added, including the Master of Arts (2007), Master of Arts in Literature (2012) and the Master of Business Administration (2023).
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. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice was added in 2018. All undergraduate students earn a double major; 100 percent earn a Biblical Studies major in addition to the career major of their choice.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offered the first online course through BBS in the fall of 1997. Two graduate school courses were also made available. That next spring, 13 online seminary courses were in place. By the summer of 1998, the library catalog was entirely online. In the Spring of 2002, WebCT became the school’s online course management software, replaced by Moodle in 2008. Schoology has been the university’s learning management system since 2016.
Today, students can choose to earn a degree completely on campus, completely online or in a hybrid combination. On the undergraduate level, fully online programs include an Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Counseling, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Bible. On the graduate level, the Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Literature, Master of Business Administration and Master of Education degrees are offered entirely online. The Master of Science in Counseling degree is primarily online with some required on-campus modules, or students can complete the program on campus. Baptist Bible Seminary’s the Master of Ministry, Master of Divinity and Master of Arts programs are offered entirely online or on campus. Both Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy programs are offered in a hybrid module format.
The school achieved university status with the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2015, and the name changed to Clarks Summit University in 2016. With nearly 80 programs available in associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels; on campus, online or hybrid formats, the offerings at CSU have greatly expanded, while the original purpose to prepare students for serving Christ has remained the same. Clarks Summit University prepares Christ-centered, career-ready graduates.