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Deep Fried Angst

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    PhD in Theology/Religious Studies.

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  1. It really depends on what level Hebrew class you get into. The most common graduate language courses are the introductory courses, which in your case may be redundant. However, an intermediate or advanced Hebrew course that works closely with a full grammar (Jouon, Waltke/O'Connor) would definitely be of service to you. Even if you hope to focus on NT in your PhD it is likely you will need to pass a Hebrew competency exam. And many departments are looking for Advanced competency in Greek and intermediate in Hebrew even from an applicant. Moreover, deeper knowledge of Hebrew through your MTS may help facilitate an easier transition to Aramaic or Syriac as research needs arise.
  2. While institutions may claim it to be possible, I would do an in depth search of current and recently graduated students from the institution to see if they have actually accepted any students with an M* degree (as @sacklunch also suggested). The language may simply be a carryover from times gone by when this was more the norm. That being said, you will also want to figure out the process, if there is one, of being able to be accepted into an M* program at the institution if your application does not acquire you a PhD spot and the level of funding available for said M* program.
  3. Ask about culture of the program. Conference travel support. What the program is doing to help prepare the students for the job market, apart from adding three letters after their last name. Get a better picture of the TAship program, if there is. Ask anything that can get the chair to brag on their program, the distinctives, why that person chose to work at that uni, etc. But definitely email a couple of the students in the program and ask them if you can buy them a beer and pick their brains. They will be more forthcoming with the goods and the bads of the program. As @theofan said, do your research. I read all 100 pages of my department's polices and procedures before I asked questions, and it paid off.
  4. A couple things. First, don't worry about the publication for now. Most pre-Ph.D. program publications are looked upon with skepticism, and it can hurt you down the road if it does not represent the best of what you can do. Second, your lack of Hebrew will hurt you, there's really no way around it. While I am not familiar with the minimum/suggested requirements for every program, most expect some level of proficiency in both languages (e.g., Baylor prefers 12 hours of your primary ancient language and 6 hours of the other when you apply). Even if there is not set requirement, you will typically have to test at a high level in both ancient languages in any program, adding another thing for you to learn in addition to other program requirements. Third, I agree with @ChristoWitch87 that you need to cast your applications wide and far. There is no guarantee for anyone to get in. Program size is shrinking (though not as fast as the job market). Apply to some STM or Th.M programs as well. Fourth, take this summer and learn German (or Hebrew) if you can. Use April Wilson's German Quickly or another such resource, and go for it. Fifth, you GRE analytical score will not help you. You may want to take it again and get over the 90th percentile. None of this is to be nitpicky, but schools get dozens of applications for a handful (or less) of slots. Building strong relationships with POI, letters of recommendation, and a great writing sample can get you far. But every application committee will need to find reasons to say yes or no. Lack of Hebrew and a less than 90% GRE percentile for some schools may give them a reason to say no.
  5. If your goal is to enter the pastorate, why do you want to go into these programs, given the enormous cost they will entail? Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of pastor's having as much education as possible, but the intense research nature of PhD programs is not always easily transferable to a local ministry context. If you are not yet serving in a pastoral role, this will become even more difficult. If you are going to have to take out loans to pay for three years of study and living in the UK, will you be able to pay them off of a ministry salary (in addition to whatever student loans you may currently have)? If your only role you want to have in the academy is an adjunct at a small Christian college, then, depending on the school, your role as a pastor in the community may be of more benefit to you than the name Cambridge or Oxford on your CV. Moreover, some schools are developing more academically minded D.Min. degrees designed to better integrate higher levels of scholarship into local ministry (I'm thinking of Northern's D.Min. in New Testament Context led by Scot McKnight). These would allow study and full-time pastoral responsibilities to coincide. I do not want to presume your context, but this is an option in some circles to lead to adjuncting while retaining a full-time ministry position. That being said, you seem aware of the downsides and the cost of UK programs. However, as you claim a pastoral focus, I would urge a cautious consideration of three years of an intense study in a non-MDiv setting as related to your overall goals.
  6. What @sacklunch said. The nature of divinity programs is that they do not presuppose a background in the field. That being said, no mater where you go you will find students who simply want to get through the program to get into ministry and those who want to get every educational opportunity out of the program, including those who from the moment they set foot in the graduate program know they want to go on to doctoral work. I will be blunt. At any school you listed you will be able to surround yourself with smart people, seeking a higher level of rigor in their studies than the baseline what needs to pass the curriculum requirements. Your professors will have office hours which you can ask questions and go deeper than what may happen in class. You will be able to choose the topics for your papers and write them to a higher level of standard than what the rubric requires. You will have the choice to choose between which professor you take a class with: the harder or the easier one. You are in charge of the level of rigor of your studies, not your school.
  7. This is sage advice. You cannot become a clone of your advisor and expect to do well. Moreover, if your advisor likes your dissertation too much, the much needed criticism that you need to develop your argument may not be there. You can write a good dissertation that is readily publishable with an advisor who isn't familiar with your methodology. I would say that broad interest ability as well as a reputation for being a good advisor is more important that being very closely aligned with what you want to do.
  8. Could you give some context as to why you are asking? What are your plans post this degree? If your plan is to get your MDiv and go into ministry, I would automatically say go to Duke because of both your tuition package and the cost of living at the other two will put in a much better financial place if you do go to Duke. You aren't going to get rich going into ministry, so might as well not put yourself in (more) student loan debt.
  9. As for pay rates, you may see a bit lower than what you would see on the coasts, but the cost of living difference is everything. Houses are sometimes 3x-5x cheaper in the greater area than you could find on the coasts. Seriously. I have friends who live in that area of AR and MO just so they can travel with all the money they save. The biggest thing for finding your fiance a job would be to look to Bentonville. Walmart has invested money in creating a start-up hub atmosphere in the city. I highly doubt that a computer programmer would have a hard time finding a job at a startup or an established company. . There is an arts scene. Definitely unique culture in the Bentonville-Fayetteville corridor than to much of the rest of the state. Enjoy the beautiful scenery. A free art museum (Crystal Bridges) and some of the best coffee around (Onyx Coffee Lab).
  10. @rejectedndejected Are you asserting that one should beware the Ides of March?
  11. One thing to be wary of is that every program that advertises itself as a one-year program is not in fact a one-year program. Many find that the ThM's at some schools required 2-3 years even though they are marketed as single year degrees. For instance Duke requires 8 courses and a thesis or comprehensive exams. With many to all of the courses at the doctoral level, I cannot fathom completing the degree in two semesters as advertised.
  12. I'll echo what @marXian said. Your percentile ranking is fine in quant. The schools that typically care about quant, only do so because the Graduate school as a whole does. A Big 12 school I looked at said, the average for the religion program was 60th percentile. I doubt most other schools would have a higher average in their humanities departments. And for cross grad school comparison, most graduate schools have enough math and science MA's to cover those in the humanities that score between the 60th-80th percentile, or even lower.
  13. Absolutely not. Only a fraction of people in our discipline, or any discipline for that matter, use GradCafe. Based off years I applied, I think there were only a couple of people applying to some of the schools I did, but I know there were upwards of 100 applications to each place. There is little correlation between here and actual numbers. Also, most people here apply to top places, aka, all the same schools. There will always be a ton of applicants at the top schools.
  14. Just a heads up, there is a possibility at Marquette for such studies as well with a PhD in Theology and Society.
  15. You have options. Attend the Summer Language Institute at U of Chicago. Go get a second MA, this time in classics. Apply to an MTS program for a second degree. If you study on your own, work on a writing sample that demonstrates you ability in languages. I know this seems frustrating and a long time to wait, but as the job market shrinks, so do PhD cohorts, and the level of the accepted applicant rises well above the baseline admission stats. For many who have not been preparing for this path since they were in undergrad, it can take two MA's or the like to get enough classes and language acquisition to be competitive in PhD applications. Also, if you have not yet contacted a POI at your prospective schools, do so. If you have a project they see value in, they may be able to help you over one hump in the application process. However, you cannot always hope for this. Get inside information from students who have been accepted to the programs you want to apply to on what they had to do to get in. Also, it takes a lot of qualified applicants multiple years to get into programs. Have backup plans in place. Every year you need to be able to significantly improve your application. Learn new languages, present at conferences, network, etc. Does this suck? Yeah. But a lot of us, until we got into the place you are, were not confronted with the reality of the current academic climate. There's no shame is deciding this isn't for you. But if you want to stick with this, you have to realize how difficult it is to get in, how meager the job prospects really are, and how taxing the whole process can be. Then you get to it and keep going at it.
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