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sacklunch last won the day on July 21 2022

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  1. I don't know exactly what it means, but I suspect the poster is conservative leaning, which is of course why they want to head to the U.K.! No coursework, no teaching, will allow one to keep their beliefs protected. Luckily, doing such a program, as a U.S. citizen, all but ensures zero academic job opportunities (esp. permanent ones).
  2. Too many questions/variables here. So, it depends. You say competitive application, but don't say competitive program. Both? Give some examples of programs you're interested in. This forum is slowly dying, it seems, so you are probably best reaching out to current faculty and especially grad students at schools of interest and simply asking. Most people on here are hopeful applicants, such as yourself, and thus take their recs with some caution.
  3. Latter. They will get a much better impression of you in person (and you of them). Also, you will be fresh on their minds when apps are actually under review (Dec-Jan-Feb). If you meet via Zoom this summer it will be 6+ months until they review apps.
  4. Unfortunately I think the best answer is: any job you can get and one that does not require an MDiv (or related M*). Chances are you have a humanities bachelors, so not much help there. Those of us with PhDs are having a hard time finding full time employment that pays over 40k yearly, so I can't imagine trying to find something decent that also leverages an MDiv without any pastoral element. If you're able you might try to get another masters (state school? scholarships? something cheap-ish), but obviously in a field that isn't dead/dying.
  5. I have a somewhat different experience, but broadly speaking I fully support xypathos's words. Coming from the religious studies side of things and having no "religion" to speak of myself (some days agnostic, on my best days atheistic), I think there are more shared between these fields (religious studies and seminary) than not, within and outside the classroom. Nearly all religious studies scholars studying Judaism and Christian are themselves part of the tradition they study and many of them have some kind of seminary/divinity degree (e.g. I have an MTS and PhD in Religion). So it is common in my experience to find this "pastoral" element within religious studies classrooms. Perhaps it shouldn't be present, but it often is. Of course it is considered required for seminary, which creates a different dynamic between student/teacher. To the other point, my experience is that nearly everyone who completes an MDiv stays within the Christian tradition. It's very rare for people to leave, though many swap one tradition for another (e.g. classic move going from Protestant to Eastern Orthodox). Most people in seminary are not even open to the possibility of leaving Christianity entirely, which is strange I think, only in that such an attitude is rarely found in other disciplines (economics?). It's an exclusive environment designed, I think, to let you fall, get back up again, over and over; but by design you're rarely, if ever encouraged to consider whether or not you should abandon your faith. Some people on here might say they have/did consider the possibility, but having been around divinity students for over a decade now and teaching some in that environment I just don't think most ever truly consider leaving. While I do think this is problematic situated within the methodologies/theories/practices as found in graduate education at most universities, I understand the reasons.
  6. In that case I think you might be able to swing getting into a program. Marquette is a really good program from what I've heard and is also not terribly competitive when compared against the big names. Note that jobs these days are almost nonexistent. Most of the recent PhDs I know from top schools cannot find permanent positions and have been on the market for 3+ years. But if you're open to teaching part time while doing something else I don't think it's entirely foolish to pursue the PhD. Normally I am opposed to the UK PhD option for Americans, since Americans with UK PhDs are generally looked down upon (usually because they paid for the PhD, admission is much easier, etc.); but in this case I don't think it's an awful option, assuming you don't have to take out loans. A better route would be something like Marquette, which would be funded and be seen as academically rigorous while also demonstrating you can work/teach in a theological tradition. The Jesuits are a really safe bet; secular and religious academics generally like their programs. So you might also look at BC, SLU, Regis, etc.
  7. As everyone has said, it's illegal for them to discriminate. Will they? Yes. Will you be able to prove it? No. I have heard faculty straight up say they don't like taking old/er students (above around 30). This is at top schools, while I imagine lesser ranked schools, including most state programs, will be much different. Before anyone can really offer any input we need to know: a) what field/subfield you're in, b) which programs/schools are you interested in, and c) what you want to do after the PhD.
  8. Fair enough! This forum is far less active than in years past. You might have better luck finding current students through social media and asking. Good luck!
  9. Search function. There are dozens of threads discussing the topic.
  10. Neither have terribly difficult admissions. In fact, compared to most M* programs, their acceptance rates are unusually high even for non-elite schools (e.g. acceptance rates are lower at many MA's in Religion at state schools in the USA than at YDS, HDS, et sim.). My guess is that acceptance rates are now higher than they've been in decades, since so many people are a) pursuing degrees that lead to a real job (the MTS is primarily useful for continuing onto a Ph.D., which will certainly not guarantee a relevant job post graduation) and/or b) realizing that an M* degree and to a certain extent higher ed degrees in general are not worth pursuing unless you're studying to acquire some kind of technical degree (STEM) or unless you're following those degrees that can, mostly, secure high paying and in demand professional careers (MBA, JD, etc.).
  11. Fair enough. Though, as an attorney, you not only were making good money for years before starting the MDiv, but, should the MDiv have been a professional dead end, you could have returned to your law career and been much better prepared to pay off whatever debt you acquired during the MDiv. In the case of the OP, they would be leaving - without any professional/medical credentials - to begin a +/- decade worth of schooling, acquiring what may well amount to be 100k+ in debt, in order to join a career that excludes +/- 95% of applicants. The academic path in the humanities has gone from risky to simply foolish in the past decade.
  12. I hope others will chime in, especially those of us on the other side of the PhD, but in my opinion it would be a serious risk to make this transition. Now, before I go all doom and gloom, it is important to hear more about what you actually want out of an MA and PhD. You say enter into conversations of interest, but that doesn't tell me how you hope to earn money. You say doctoral program, so you might have in mind ThDs, in which case you may have an interest in more practical careers. Such careers are still relatively abundant, so far as I know, but I'm not in that world directly so I will leave others to comment. As for the other path, academia, please do not attempt to join our ever-shrinking, hapless ranks. The last well-reasoned (published) statistic I read (published about a year ago) was in the range of c. 2-5% of humanities PhDs are getting tenure-track jobs. That means 95%, or more, of us graduating now are not really doing what we are trained to do. To be fair, a good number of that 95% is teaching (adjunct hell), which certainly comprises a large part of what we are trained now to do. But such careers, if you can call them that, are not sustainable and in my experience the majority of folks who end up doing this burn out after a few years (you can imagine why, with many adjuncts earning less than their graduate stipend and without health insurance). In other words, if you begin the academic path you will almost certainly be forced to change careers after what will amount to be 8+ years of education from now (MA 2 years, PhD 6 years average). Like most of my peers and after roughly 15 years of studying (BA, three masters, PhD), I am making that painful transition now. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat more privately. Good luck.
  13. I doubt it will make much, if any difference. Many folks will be applying the same time they begin the thesis, so there isn't much point if that's your timeline. On the other hand, if your timeline is such that you will have finished the thesis, or completed a substantial bit by the time you apply, and you don't have a suitable writing sample, then yes I can see the advantage of staying on for the thesis. In general, however, a thesis will be much longer than the required sample. In short, there isn't a clear answer and in my experience such options offer no lesser/greater success rate for doctoral admissions. We tend, naturally, to torture ourselves over these sorts of options/paths, while the people reading your application will skim over what seemed to us some essential bit of our training. The best path forward is to talk to current doctoral students and faculty at the specific schools you're interested in and just simply ask what stands out (*note this will vary from scholar to scholar within one department). Make sure you reach out to current doctoral students at the schools you're applying to. They are always ready to spill the beans.
  14. Unless it's a free masters, run away; even it's free, you should probably run away. I followed a similar path (two terminal M* degrees, another on the way to my PhD), though I had a higher average. After I got into and finished a top-ranked PhD. I understand the feeling of failure if you do not continue. I remember that feeling well; it kept me going for years. And now I'm transitioning out of academia because there are no permanent, tenure-track jobs. Well, there are a few, but with hundreds of people applying to one job, the odds are stacked against you. Nearly all the people I know who finished a PhD at a top program in the last few years are making the same transition. For whatever reason, no one at the top M*/PhD programs really discusses the reality post-PhD (I'm a postdoc at an R1 now - I am still in the loop). And no one on this forum does because most are applicants/hopefuls. I suggest you make that inevitable transition now, rather than ten+ years down the road. Good luck
  15. The reason is that it's basically impossible to be a successful academic in such fields without devoting yourself (almost) fully, including sacrificing your personal life and other career goals. If you end up going career + part-time adjunct, you will be working for pennies as an adjunct and sacrificing most of your free time to do so. And the classes you teach part time may be entirely virtual (many without any real teaching involved) and will almost certainly be teaching undergraduate survey courses. You can publish on the side, but it's extremely difficult to do so without being plugged into the academic world full time. It becomes more difficult year after year post PhD because you realize you're increasingly distanced from the secondary (and even primary) sources. That and without institutional support you can't quickly access sources if at all because of paywalls.
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