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About lovethequestions

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    South Bend, IN
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    NELC, Biblical Studies

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  1. Harvard NELC--Ph.D in Hebrew Bible and Assyriology.
  2. I've started taking Saturdays off. The whole day. I end up sleeping 12-14 hours of it, usually, but having a whole day to cook things (which is a big stress relief for me) and watch "How I Met Your Mother" and take walks is so much better for me than trying to do even 3-4 hours of work on Saturday and 4-6 hours on Sunday.
  3. I gave my recommenders a card and a jar of homemade caramel sauce. They all seemed pleased but surprised, so I think that a card would probably be just fine.
  4. In terms of publication--I have actually gotten the opposite advice on two separate occasions from professors (that is, they suggested I be cautious about publication). Their reasoning was that, whereas with conference presentations, if it goes poorly, it's over, when you've published an article, it will never go away. So if you have a less-than-mature scholarly perspective (as I know I still do) or even flat-out errors, those will count against you in your future career. Their advice was, present away; but be very cautious about what you seek to publish.
  5. I don't think anyone is necessarily lying. When I applied, all of the schools told me straight up that I would be competing against everyone in the applicant pool, not just other Assyriologists. I do get the sense that how badly the school needs students in a particular area influences which areas they pull from most heavily--but that's just one factor among many that makes up the magical question of "fit." If you're applying in a program that doesn't have any students in your field, that makes you a relatively better fit. Also, the professors you are talking to do not in fact see any of that money. Really, they just get asked to work unpaid overtime for the time they spend reading applications. Not that I feel particularly sorry for them...just pointing out that no one has any reason to deliberately screw you over.
  6. The father of a friend of mine, who teaches in academia, has said that in general (unless you are truly a wheel-inventor) it's almost impossible to get hired at an institution with a name that's more "prestigious" than the one where you earned your dissertation. So, if you do your Ph.D at a second-tier school, your job prospects are largely limited to second-and third-tier schools. From a third-tier school, you're competitive at third-tier and below, etc. There are exceptions to this rule, of course--but the only recent one I can think of was in an instance where the applicant had written what his advisor apparently called "the best dissertation he'd ever supervised." Said advisor is probably the top scholar in the U.S. for his subfield and has been teaching for over 30 years. So...yeah. I'm not endorsing this situation, btw. I can think of many reasons why this kind of attitude would make me less likely to want to teach at a so-called first tier school. But, well, there's a lot about academia today that I don't particularly care for.
  7. At a party this weekend, the students in my program discussed precisely this phenomenon (preponderance of beardage among grad student men). We determined that most, but not all men can carry them off, and came up with the following rules for growing a beard. 1) It has to be groomed (no Tolstoy beards). 2) It has to grow in evenly (no patchy beards, sorry). 3) It has to not make you look like a complete tool. (This one, I admit, is slightly more subjective. But I'm sure you can all picture the beards I mean.) On the other hand, I recently moved to the Midwest from the South. And if I were a dude, I think I would grow a beard regardless of whether I could pull it off or not, just to have the extra layer of insulation in the winter...
  8. It is rough. On the other side, I'm pretty sure Yale didn't have any Assyriology admits this year, only Egyptology. Not sure how these decisions get made.
  9. I would email whoever sent you your letter of acceptance, with the name of the school and the funding offer (since they'll need to know that in order to ask the school for more money anyway), and just be polite. If you make it clear that you're asking because it's not financially feasible for you to attend right now, they shouldn't take offense.
  10. As far as I can tell, graduate programs in Biblical Studies simply look for students who are smart, open-minded, capable writers and researchers. So you want your statement of purpose, especially, to make it clear that you're looking to do rigorous academic research and that you're well trained to do so. Admissions boards might potentially be wary of applicants without a classic liberal arts education, but your writing really will speak for itself. If you can show that you know the distinctions between biblical studies and theology, and between theology and apologetics, and that you know what you want to do and are applying to the right school to learn it, you should be all right. This probably goes without saying, but languages are key. If you haven't started Greek and/or Hebrew, and are able to take a class or two before you apply, definitely do so--I studied both as an undergraduate just because I thought they'd be fun, and was no end pleased to find that they gave me a real edge in my applications. My experience as a non-Catholic in a Catholic theology department has been that how you self-identify is far less important than how you treat others who think differently than you do. Even if a school has a strong denominational identity, it shouldn't make you feel like a second-class citizen if you're of a different faith background. Where tensions arise, IMO, is when people lack the patience and courtesy to listen to one another--and both people in the majority faith and those in the minority can be to blame for this. I mean, if the school lets you in, that means the professors think you belong there. From there, if other students (or professors) make you feel unwelcome, shame on them. BTW, I would recommend at least looking into Notre Dame. There are some wonderful New Testament and Early Church people here, and you get a phenomenal amount of face time with the professors for a master's student.
  11. I believe most secondary education job openings in religion are in schools with a specific denominational affiliation--so you might try the web sites of specific denominations (I know that the Episcopal Church's website has a link to a page with postings for chaplains and teachers of religion). Also check the National Association of Independent Schools website--they have a section for religion teaching positions. You will likely be more employable if you can demonstrate coursework in comparative religions rather than just in Bible. There aren't typically that many positions open, but it's certainly not hopeless, and a master's degree (especially if you can garner teaching or TAing experience) should put you in an okay position.
  12. I'm afraid this was less specific--but at UChicago's NELC program, out of "well over 150 applicants" I believe they admitted 3-5 students.
  13. Personally, I would be inclined to say, "if they're not guaranteeing it, I'm just going to assume it's not going to happen," and make decisions based only on what formal offers have been made.
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