Clarks Summit University: Same Mission, New Name

Clarks Summit University is a fully accredited Christian university dedicated to biblical higher education in Pennsylvania. The Clarks Summit campus is located about 10 miles from Scranton, the largest city in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the county seat of Lackawanna County.

The school was known as Baptist Bible College up until recently when it achieved university status and officially changed its name to Clarks Summit University in July 2016. The trustees thought that removing the word Baptist would make the college more appealing to students from other denominations who may have never considered it, and would also remove any perceived religious stigma thus helping graduates starting their careers.

“When choosing our new name last year, we loved the analogy of looking out from the mountaintop summit, reflecting our geographic location,” said Mel Walker, vice president for communications and external relations. “We’ve long been known as ‘the school in Clarks Summit,’ so the modified name is naturally a good fit,” explained University President Dr. Jim Lytle. “The summit of a mountain is a wonderful vantage point,” Dr. Lytle concluded.

The Baptist Bible College name may be history, but the school’s trustees urge that their mission will stay the same. “We are still implicitly Baptist, that’s who we are, that’s in our DNA, that’s what our founding fathers wanted and all of that. But, we do think that there are places around the world where a religious tag might at least raise questions,” college official Mel Walker stated.

Nevertheless, at Clarks Summit you will be welcomed into a vibrant community of spiritually minded Christians who have a passion for making a positive impact worldwide.


An average class size of 18 students allows professors to cultivate relationships with their students and focus on individual learning needs and abilities. Undergraduate students can choose from more than 40 programs of study including degrees, majors, and minors.

Undergraduate students dual-major in Bible and a chosen area of concentration. Students earn a bachelor’s degree in their concentration area, such as a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. They may even choose to earn a Bachelor of Science in Bible.

A one-year Bible Certificate and two-year Associate of Arts are also available.

Graduate students can choose from three degrees: Master of Arts, Master of Education, and Master of Science in Counseling Ministries.

Baptist Bible Seminary offers students a blend of academic content and hands-on applications. The Seminary grants six advanced degrees: Master of Ministry, Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Master of Arts degree in Biblical Apologetics, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Philosophy.

Online distance learning is available for high school dual enrollment, undergraduate, graduate and seminary students. Several degrees can be earned totally online!

Student Life

56 percent of Clarks Summit students come from states other than Pennsylvania. The area around the university features a low cost of living and a high quality of life. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region of Pennsylvania ranks among the safest metropolitan areas in the nation.

Clarks Summit University is located on a 141-acre suburban campus. The site includes 17 major buildings, athletic facilities, and a 4.5-acre lake. It’s a beautiful setting as you can see in the photograph above. The campus sits in the foothills of the Pocono and Endless Mountains in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The area around Clarks Summit University boasts quaint towns and countrysides with plenty of all-season outdoor adventure, as well as urban shopping and culture. In fact, it’s only a short drive or bus ride to New York City and Philadelphia.

The unique design of the 11 residence halls on campus promotes community among students. Rather than a traditional dormitory style layout, the halls contain suites made up of three student rooms and one bathroom. Rooms are set up for two students each.

Chapel is held Tuesday through Thursday. All students and faculty meet for prayer, worship, and spiritual instruction. Chapel services feature faculty members, pastors, missionaries, students, and special speakers.

Socials and campus events enhance the community environment on campus. Hosted mainly by student groups, socials occur throughout the year.

The Music Department hosts multiple concerts and performances, and the Theatre Department performs two major theatrical events each year.

Special events that take place on campus include the Golf Classic (held in May), LYFE Women’s Conference (held in May and June), Teen Leadership Camp (held in July and August), and other camps and events for junior and senior high school students.

In addition, Defender Basketball and Soccer camps are offered for high school student athletes. Big Blue Basketball and Soccer camps are offered for elementary and middle school student athletes.

The Clarks Summit University Defenders field teams in several sports. Men’s teams include soccer, basketball, golf, cross-country, tennis, and baseball. Women’s teams include basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Clarks Summit University is affiliated with both the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III, and the Colonial States Athletic Conference.

Homeschooled Applicants

Clarks Summit University eagerly welcomes homeschooled students. In fact, over 13 percent of students come from a homeschool background!

Student Body Profile:
45.6 percent – Public High School
39.1 percent – Christian High School
13.8 percent – Home School
1.5 percent – Private or Other

Homeschool students are evaluated for acceptance based on a review of an application, transcript, test scores, references and essays. If you are a homeschooled applicant, you should send your high school transcript to Clarks Summit University. You are also required to take either the SAT or ACT test. Clarks Summit University does not require a state-certified diploma or a GED.

For more information about homeschooled students at Clarks Summit, see:

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