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About MarthUser

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    United States
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    American Religious History

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  1. The benefit of going to Columbia is that it’s also close to Princeton, Yale, and UPenn where other Americanists can assist you/help expand your network. Which century are you working on for American religion?
  2. I wonder if it might be helpful for your to pursue some level of seminary training to see how far your interests go (as opposed to a divinity or theology school, though these are good options as well, a seminary training might be more attentive to the spiritual formation-dimension of your congregation that your theological education can help with). There, you can get basic exposure under the guidance of professors who can help you think of career paths aligned with your interests. For some evangelical churches I've been to, they give paid-internships to folks to teach Sunday School (at both th
  3. In the past two years I've been here, everyone usually comes around to post as soon as February/March comes around. People are usually in a scramble inquiring if others got interviews/acceptances/rejections.
  4. I would say it might be to your advantage to pursue a Ph.D. in English instead. Part of this is because from most of what I've observed in most religious studies departments, they've often taken more ethnographic(anthropological or sociological), historical, or philosophical/theological methodologies over literary analysis. On the flip-side, you'll find people in English departments who do religion quite well and are read by people in religious studies departments. Some scholars that do religion and literature in English departments include Emily Ogden at UVA and Sarah Rivett at Princeton. You
  5. So because I do history of religion, it requires familiarity with working in archives, familiarity with historiography (how previous scholars wrote about the subject), and knowing how to use primary sources to build a historical argument. Despite being in a religion department and not having a strong-scholarly argument regarding the category of "religion," my admission into the department revolved around having the tools to do the research required by my sub-field, not necessarily just having a good thesis/proposal. My seminary professors emphasized the importance of languages for Biblica
  6. At the base-level, having a strong Master's-level GPA and good GRE scores is important. Undergraduate GPA might not be too important. I had a barely 3.0 undergraduate GPA (granted it was in a completely different discipline and I accounted for this low GPA in my personal statement) and was able to get into a top-tiered PhD program. In my first year of applications, I was rejected from all schools I applied to (even low-tiered seminary PhD programs that offered no funding). Second-round, I got interviews at half the schools I applied to (about 12) and was accepted into four strong programs
  7. My sense from other Theology/Philosophy folks (and even some Biblical Studies folks) is that not having languages does not disqualify a candidate. They might expect you to draw up a plan on your personal statement on how you will address the lack of language skills, but having it also doesn't make you a strong candidate either. With regard to your GRE scores, I would say a 164 Verbal is pretty good and should already establish you as a viable candidate. Professors who review your file and select students seem to rely heavily on how a candidate would "fit" into their department, and "fit"
  8. I came out of an MDiv program, but it was from a seminary not a divinity school like HDS. Before I was able to get into a program, I had to take that supplementary year of a ThM to better develop my research skills that would better prepare me for a PhD program. Because PhD programs are research-oriented and MDiv programs aren't all structured to produce researchers, it may fall on you to prove that you have the chops to do it well. My sense from having taken classes at HDS is that it doesn't seem like there's much of a difference between the MTS and MDiv programs in the course flexibilit
  9. Given the metrics you've shared (GRE and GPA), I would say you're a very competitive candidate. That being said, being competitive does not mean you're a strong candidate for a particular department. As others have already echoed, it all comes down to more subjective factors like "departmental fit" and your research interests. What might help is if you use the SOP as a way to tell your story, incorporating the challenges you've faced along the way (accounting for your undergraduate and graduate shortcomings) with the evolution of your interests over the years, leading up to what you hope
  10. In my own experience, a recommendation from Professor A would go a long way. I’ve had interviews where they asked me about classes I’ve taken with my Professor A recommender, showing that for most programs name recognition gets your application to stand out above the others.
  11. I would say evangelical-seminary professors inhabit the space between “academia” and “ministry” which might be what you’re looking for. Some are in ministry, some are not. Some are pastors while teaching, others are directors of think tanks or of other projects while teaching. They publish but mainly in Christian journals and publications. They teach others in the same faith background without the pressure for interdisciplinary respectability that shapes religion/history/philosophy departments. 1. Pastors positions typically require an M.Div. because it’s a well-rounded degree. It gives t
  12. Everyone already mentioned the disadvantages of an MDiv. I want to echo them. However, I also want to highlight a key advantage of an MDiv: you're exposed to the various ways of potentially studying religion within a particular religious context. MDiv classes allowed me to sample all of them and to get a feel for which one I can truly invest time in. I was originally interested in studying either the New Testament or some variation of the sociology of religion. However, I realized that I didn't have too much interest in either the language, ancient history, or archaeology that would help
  13. I can only speak from my own field American Religious History. Top history programs rarely (if ever) admit students coming in with a religious studies Masters program. In my own experience, I had two Master's degrees in the study of religion and when I applied to History departments, they almost always recommended I go through their Master's program first and then reapply to their PhD program. However, some history programs in religiously-affiliated schools like Notre Dame and Baylor University are more open to students coming in with an MA in religious studies. Methodologically, scholar
  14. I know of some people who have finished their generals but not yet finished their language exams. It varies by department/school, but for some programs I'm familiar with, it would seem that the language requirements might simply be a formality with a seemingly strict deadline that's only loosely enforced. Perhaps check with your advisors to see how strictly they hold you to the language-requirement deadline.
  15. I want to echo @xypathos's remarks about BTI and the realities of living in Boston. Given the cost of living, most folks commute into the city so you may want to factor that into your decision-making. One key benefit is that a lot of BU School of Theology folks cross-register with Harvard Divinity School, Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry, and Boston University's religion department. However, it would probably help to look at the strengths of the program. If you're looking for a theology/philosophy emphasis, perhaps you should look into Boston College's program as well. Alt
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