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Tattooed Theist

MA in Apologetics or MDiv?

4 posts in this topic

Hey guys, my name is Joe.

I'll be graduating this May with a BA in Ministerial Leadership. I'm VERY interested in apologetic, but I'm also VERY set on getting my PhD in either Theology or Philosophy.

What I'm torn on is should I go ahead and get an MA in Apologetics even though I wont have really any language exposure before the PhD? Or would it be smarter to go through the MDiv program that usually has more extensive language programs.

I could also do the MA in Apologetics (assuming the PhD accepts it as a prerequisite, and then study languages on the side. But I feel like the in class would be much easier to learn from.

 

Any help is appreciated, I need to start applying SOON! 

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Questions you should ask yourself:

1. Is there a particular denomination you want to get it in? (Like, I have a BA in Theology from a Catholic college and as a Catholic I'd want to attend a program which adheres to Catholic teachings.) What is expected specifically from those programs?

2. What do you want to do after you graduate with the degree? Do you see yourself teaching, going into ministry work, or preaching (if applicable to your religious beliefs)?

3. If you don't have funding for the MA, are you willing to take out loans?

Just some thoughts to help you!

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On 12/4/2016 at 10:26 PM, Tattooed Theist said:

Hey guys, my name is Joe.

I'll be graduating this May with a BA in Ministerial Leadership. I'm VERY interested in apologetic, but I'm also VERY set on getting my PhD in either Theology or Philosophy.

What I'm torn on is should I go ahead and get an MA in Apologetics even though I wont have really any language exposure before the PhD? Or would it be smarter to go through the MDiv program that usually has more extensive language programs.

I could also do the MA in Apologetics (assuming the PhD accepts it as a prerequisite, and then study languages on the side. But I feel like the in class would be much easier to learn from.

 

Any help is appreciated, I need to start applying SOON! 

If you want to do a PhD in Philosophy, you need to do an MA in Philosophy, and you need to do one at a well-ranked program to have the best shot. If theology is your aim, then either of those degrees could work, though it depends on your intended PHD field of study which will be more advantageous. I would say the MDiv is the better track because of language exposure, and because funding tends to be better in MDiv programs. You should be looking at programs like Duke, Princeton Sem., Notre Dame, etc. The Religion and Philosophy forums will have a lot of resources for you to help answer your query more in depth. 

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I echo @menge. When I started looking into the best program for me (I was looking at MDivs, MTSs and MAs in Religion/Religious History for reference), I was told by most people that the only reason you should get an MA in Apologetics is if you are wanting to take some interesting classes and learn things that may benefit you in your ministry or day-to-day life. It is not typically considered a degree that will set you up for much further graduate study (you could probably leverage that degree in pursuing entrance to a D.Min program, but not a PhD). I say that with the caveat that you will always be able to find folks who take a nontraditional route- it is certainly possible that an MA in Apologetics could help set you up for a great PhD program, but I think it's fair to say that would be unorthodox.

As was mentioned above, that's perfectly fine, depending on what your professional/ministerial goals are- but if you are interested in a career in the academy, you may be better served in looking toward MDivs. Since those programs typically have a large spiritual formation and/or ministerial training component, it may be the case that you can use that time to discern the right path for yourself afterward (while taking languages, etc too). For what it's worth, MDiv programs seem to usually offer the best financial aid (at the Master's level) in Religion/Religious Studies anyway. 

I think the schools listed above are a good place to start, too (although it depends a great deal on a variety of factors, not the least of which is your theological persuasion. Are you wanting to study in a confessional community? Evangelical? Mainline Protestant? Denominational school? Something else? etc). 

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