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  1. Yeah, but Wissenschaft means something different by "science" than English typically does.
  2. My biggest advice for preparing to start a PhD program is enjoy your summer—you won't have too many years left that you don't have to be doing something. This is a chance to refresh a bit, especially if you're coming immediately off an M*. Get back to speed with reading, sure—return to books you already know to help get sea legs back, if you need it. Do some experiments in writing to limber up, including creative writing exercises. But remember that a PhD is a marathon, not a sprint. If you over-prep, you're going to hit December and be burnt out already. Be kind to yourself.
  3. It really depends on the US school you're talking about. At Duke, Yale, Notre Dame, JTS, etc., theological projects are common—if not the expectation—in fields called "theology" or "ethics." In those same fields at UChicago or Harvard, a more historical or social-critical tack is more normal. Part of the upshot of the less stark theology/religious studies divide @marXian was noticing is that there's a huge amount of variation from program to program, from field to field, and advisor to advisor—which can be great for doing your own project with some degree of freedom to explore, but also in unsaid or unclaimed expectations about how "the thing we're all doing" should in fact be done. These can come out in, y'know, one-on-one meetings, committee conversations, or oral exams...
  4. A hearty echo of @sacklunch. Folks mentioning having multiple M*s are right, to an extent, about the "normalcy" of such things. But the order here does matter. There's a difference between having, saying, a couple of MAR/MTSs and or having an MDiv followed by an MAR/MTS. But the order MTS followed by MDiv is somewhat confusing as a choice, unless it is because of ordination requirements (with which schools differ on their comfort). The common shorthand here on gradcafe of just saying "master's degree," with no distinction between the actual pedagogical differences of MDivs vs. MAR/MTS vs. STM/ThM is deceptive. Because, as @sacklunch pointed out in less explicit terms, the MDiv is a generalist degree while the MAR/MTS (except in cases like Duke or Yale's comprehensive MAR) is specialized. The movement from generalist to specialized (MDiv --> MAR/MTS or STM/ThM) or specialized followed by more specialized (MAR/MTS --> MAR/MTS or STM/ThM) makes sense on a trajectory towards the PhD, which is highly specialized. The movement from specialized to generalist (MAR/MTS --> MDiv) does not make as much sense, and will raise questions. If you are applying to a more top-tier school to balance out what you perceive to be a less rigorous conservative seminary*, then you should apply to the MAR/MTS. * Note that this is a common assumption that isn't well-founded. There are a number of PhD students at Yale, Duke, Princeton, Chicago, and other top-tier schools whose M* come from "conservative" institutions. Having a degree from a conservative institution does not disqualify you from admissions from a top-tier program.
  5. Very much agreed on all the above. Before any piling on of extra things to do, do this. I make it a habit to take one entire day off a week, except in the direst of straits. Go to a museum, watch a movie, wander around a park, sleep, work on a puzzle, anything. Sabbath was commanded for a reason, and it's a commendable practice. Academically, make sure to explore outside of your area of study, even if your program doesn't require it. I don't just mean occasionally looking at something closely related but by someone in a slightly different field. I mean totally different. Take a whole class that has (apparently) little to do with what you think you want to do. The deeper you get into a PhD, the greater the pressure to nano-specialize in your field. While this can be good for rigor, I can see my colleagues increasingly incapable of thinking or talking (even casually, socially) outside of their narrow scope. This runs in the face of humanities/liberal arts scholarship, and can actually really make your scholarship suffer by closing yourself off. Coursework is likely the freest you'll be for years to come in being able to do your own exploration, and by the time you're at the dissertation, it could be too late. A final word: work on your writing. The state of academic writing is truly terrible. Prose can be impenetrable. Conference papers bore to tears. Read really great writers, starting with fiction writers especially. And write regularly yourself. Do creative writing exercises. Keep a writing journal. Not for academic writing, but for experiments in writing. I promise, despite the weirdness, it does wonders. And if you're able to communicate your thoughts more beautifully, persuasively, artfully, all the better for your scholarship.
  6. A reminder for those on waitlists that the first-round admittees have until April 15 at most places to accept or turn down an offer. The schools aren't intentionally messing with you. They have to wait to see where cards fall, and will get to their waitlists when the can. I know it's anxiety-laden, but there's nothing you can do. Go do some physical exertion, read a good novel, get your head elsewhere.
  7. For what it's worth, note that Harvard is on Spring Break this week so there are not classes being held and many faculty are off-campus. The school is closed and buildings are locked on the weekends, so you'd only be able to see the outside.
  8. Lots of people do this, especially those with additional sources of income (i.e. partners). Lots of the cheap housing in the cities of Boston and Brookline themselves (less so in Cambridge and Somerville) are filled almost entirely with undergraduates, which makes living somewhat further out more appealing. If you don't need to be on campus every day, that's definitely more appealing. That said, if you're looking at a suburb where commuting in requires a car (rather than public transit), you'll end up having to deal with traffic, scant parking near campuses, likely parking tickets (which is how a lot of cities get revenue), potentially paying a lot for parking at home, high property tax on automobiles, insurance, gas, etc.
  9. You will be paying likely a lot more in Back Bay/South End than in Dorchester. To the point where I think it's probably not comparable, especially on a grad school budget.
  10. At least in the case of all the theology PhD students I know, it's been almost entirely primary texts. As with everything, it depends. Some faculty are much more invested in comps being about reading all the classics; some are more invested in knowing the "state of the questions," which require more secondary texts.
  11. One emendation on this. The D.D. in the US is an honorary degree, and not an earned one. It is usually conferred by universities on distinguished alumni, on graduation speakers, on major figures in public/academic life in the field of religion, or (for Anglicans and Catholics, at least) on bishops. As for Catholic Pontifical Universities, in theology they offer 3 degrees: the S.T.B. (Bachelor of Sacred Theology), roughly equivalent to an M.Div.; the S.T.L. (Licentiate of...), roughly equivalent to the Th.M./S.T.M., a prerequisite to teach in Pontifical Universities and for admission to the doctorate; and the S.T.D. (Doctor of...) , roughly equivalent to the Ph.D./Th.D. Pontifical Universities have three faculties (philosophy, theology, and canon law), and each has this basic pattern of the "higher" bachelors (Ph.B., J.C.B., S.T.B.), the licentiate (Ph.L., J.C.L., S.T.L.), and doctorate (Ph.D., J.C.D., S.T.D.)—this is a style of degree sequence common outside of North America.
  12. Emory sent out their acceptances awhile back. If you have heard anything yet, odds are not good unfortunately.
  13. Waltham is cheaper than other options, but you're right that it is boring. Lots of Brandeis grad students live in Cambridge or Somerville and take the commuter rail from Porter Sq to Waltham.
  14. Yeah, living in Newton is not ideal budget-wise, and living in Brighton isn't necessarily great for a family of four (though you might find something decent). I might look at some neighboring towns, especially if you'll have a car. Watertown isn't terribly far away and is much more reasonable than other places. Jamaica Plain (in Boston) may also work, but would require a bit more maneuvering.
  15. I would just make sure that the online degree is from an accredited, non-profit institution. If the degree isn't accredited, it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Also, you might think about contacting admissions folks at schools you're thinking about applying to and getting their takes. Additionally, if you're in Boston (as your location says), Harvard Extension might be worth considering rather than a purely online degree.
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