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Everything posted by sacklunch

  1. Yes, it's fine to ask them about 'improving chances,' but frame it differently: just ask them what, to their mind, makes a competitive applicant; this way you don't convey any sense that you think to have an advantage just because you are speaking with said person. For what's it's worth, I don't think these kinds of conversations are worth much, besides getting an idea of a) is that person able to take a student the cycle you are applying and b) does said person still study/research the things you think they do (some folks change their research interests radically, and their online/publication data has not yet caught up). Also, talk to said person's current/recent grad students about the program/what makes a competitive applicant (i.e. look at their backgrounds); this is a far better idea of what you will be up against when you apply than whatever guarded advice said adviser is willing to give up to you.
  2. FYI the attached flyer is 'unavailable.' Also, anticipating potential confusing, this is a notice that UNC-CH is now offering a specific Hebrew Bible-track PhD. Correct? At first, I thought this was a fellowship for visiting graduate students or postdocs.
  3. sacklunch

    Post M.Div - MTS

    Some good recs above. Funding aside, your best option would be an MA in Classics et sim., given your area of interest. I assume that is out of the question, since most folks in your situation don't have the level of Greek and especially Latin required to enroll in those programs. If you do though, Tufts has a well-respected MA in Classics and I believe it has good-ish funding? BC used to have an MA in Greek (classical), which may allow you to come in without any/much Latin (no clue on funding). An MTS after the MDiv is not so out of the ordinary, as you note, but just make sure the MTS allows you to opt out of most/all of the fluff (e.g. you don't need to be taking required, intro to bible). Languages are of course the biggest hurdle for PhD entry in your field (and thus my rec for a Classics MA); so again, make sure the MTS program will allow you to take (many) language courses. As others said, don't waste your time with the ThM (zero funding and only a year).
  4. I don't think Duke requires a Hebrew exam for NT track; check the GPR handbook or ask someone in your subfield/adviser. You might check the course list or check with Melvin Peters to see if the class 'rapid reading in Biblical Hebrew' is offered sometime in the next year or two. I'm at Duke (GPR PhD), so feel free to PM me, though I'm not in the NT track.
  5. It's possible, though as pathos said, not likely. That said, if anyone has a chance at doing so, it's applicants working in "modern" subfields, i.e. you. The reason it is rare for many of us, is because we have the problem of studying enough languages, which is not much of a problem, in comparison, for those doing research in modern, esp. American (i.e. English-language) history/religion. For better or worse, many applicants for doctoral work in religion have a divinity M* degree, because honestly most of them have 'faith' commitments. For worse, this has resulted in the expectation that all applicants should also have at least one M* degree, divinity or otherwise, because so many applicants have them (even if one wants to pursue a doctoral degree not requiring specialized, language training). This is unfortunate, since I think most divinity degrees, even at the 'top' schools, are essentially post-baccs. My rant aside, I suggest looking into, beyond religion PhDs, history departments et sim. Spend a lot of time looking at the backgrounds of current doctoral students at the schools of interest. What kind of degrees do most of them have? That will be a far better measure than the anecdotes given here.
  6. sacklunch

    Questions to ask

    Re above, while I completely agree, this may be off-putting to the professor. But you should ask current graduate students at said school about this. Again, we should hope that all advisers would care about the mental well-being of their students, but the reality, at least from my experience, is that most academics have never had to think much about it and I suspect that some even think it is completely outside their role as adviser/mentor. If that is a deal breaker for you, then fair enough, many others will happily--or unhappily as the case may be--pretend as if their advisers have no bearing on their mental health. Again, speak to the graduate students. They/we are easy to read.
  7. I can't offer anything terribly specific, but you might check into schools that have joint programs between MDiv and e.g. MSW, like the Duke and UNC Chapel Hill program. I recall them being around four years, but that may open the right kind of doors.
  8. It's important to note that MTS programs are not especially competitive, but ND's MTS is. It's also important to ask what was your major/s? If it's in e.g. a STEM field, then things change considerably. Inflation is a known issue at top schools, especially in the humanities, but I doubt anyone will be pulling out their calculator to adjust your GPA accordingly. For what it's worth, I think it will slightly hurt you, but in the end having that Ivy for undergrad will mean a great deal to many American academics, regardless of what it may or may not say about you and your academic progress/prospect.
  9. You might post in the philosophy section, if you haven't already. The expectations, biases, and so on, of fields varies wildly, and often even within the same subfield between schools. Thus, an MDiv may not be all that odd if you are applying to a doctoral program in 'philosophy' at one school, but at another you will immediately be disregarded. Find graduate students doing the kinds of things you want to study and ask them. Be wary of what anyone tells you who is not a) in a doctoral program currently (or has finished within the last few years) and b) not in a (sub)field you see yourself in.
  10. sacklunch

    Am I ready?

    They may not, honestly, at least in the Divinity School (I very much doubt 'German for reading' is offered there over the summer, but probably is in Yale's Graduate School).
  11. sacklunch

    Am I ready?

    I mostly agree with what is said above. I would question how much Hebrew matters more than other languages. It really depends on the school/department, but my opinion is you are no worse off than not having studied Latin or even Coptic or Syriac, which, in my opinion, are more useful than (classical) Hebrew for NT. Again, where you study and what you hope to study is crucial in answering this question. I can't speak to the preparation expected for your interests, but my hunch is that many of the people whom you have asked these questions cannot really either. Keep in mind that whatever recommendations you may hear, they are very likely heavily influenced by the particular subfield of said people. The best avenue here, I think, is to find graduate students doing the kind of research you want to pursue and simply ask them what their background is and then adjust your academic plan of attack accordingly.
  12. The above comments are spot on. You are overestimating the credentials of the average adjunct. Having a doctorate period will qualify you for such work at many small colleges, especially CC. As for your cake-eating-it-too: tier 1 PhD and pastoral/adjunct prep. No, honestly, I don't think that's realistic--but see marX's rec. above for other options.
  13. It's good that you're addressing these issues now. If you are not willing to pay and your interests are pastoral leaning, then I honestly don't think you have a chance at any of the top UK schools (for a doctorate). I could very well be wrong here, so please someone correct me if you think differently. But, perhaps more to the point, none of the UK programs you have mentioned are meant to prepare you for your primary interest (pastoral work) and actually will not help you much if at all for your secondary interest (teaching). There is plenty of good, funded programs in the US that suit your two interests, but they are not PhDs, but rather DMins, ThDs, and the like. For better or worse, the latter are less often offered at tier 1 schools (and if they are, those degrees can often require very different things of their students), so you may be left applying to those outside.
  14. As said above, there is little point in doing this because a) funding is zero and b) time is inadequate. If you find yourself needing a second M*, you are far better off applying to another MTS/MAR, obviously elsewhere. This is not uncommon and many of us here have done so (myself included).
  15. As pathos said, you are aware of the potential, or perhaps inevitable problems, so I suppose you can apply and see what happens. Your best bet is to find current US students/recent alums in both programs and ask them; beyond actual specifics, you will get closer to the reality than here. Either degree will get you high fives in a local cafe, but, as already said, neither has much hope of getting you a tenure track job at many (most?) research universities (including those well outside the R1) in North America.
  16. These are fair worries; but really if you have studied religion/religious studies/history/classics/et sim. at a good (rigorous) undergraduate school, I think you will find that all US divinity schools are a bit lacking in this regard. Because many of the students have no background in this and related fields, the courses may necessarily feel too "introductory." Mileage varies, of course, and depending on what courses you take (dependent largely on requirements that may/may not let you opt out of certain courses) you may have a very different opinion on the "rigor" of your school vs others in your program. Speaking purely from the gut (so others please correct me if you feel differently), I think many students interested in pastoral ministry do not, generally speaking, share your concern (or at least not as much?), which leads me to think you may be somewhat disappointed with the level of challenge no matter where you go. But I may very well be wrong about this. MarX may have some good insight.
  17. If you are or think you will largely remain in the field of theology (I admit I'm not entirely sure what that means), then PTS being more "seminary-y" could be a good thing; my experience is Duke Divinity is more or less similar to PTS in that regard. Duke's Graduate Program in Religion (PhD) is a different animal entirely; there is room for interest in 'theology', but most of the subfields (my own included) have absolutely zero interest in 'theology'; we consider ourselves historians, classicists, etc., but most of us, as most folks in religious studies PhD programs elsewhere, consider 'theology' something unfit/inappropriate for non-seminary degrees. But, really, my .02 is put most of that out of your mind. Your interests will certainly change wherever you go; and not only that, but the job market is so hilariously bad in all subfields of higher learning in the humanities that there is no real way to prepare yourself. Excluding money et sim., you should just go where you feel comfortable. In the end, the academic route will probably not work out for you, just as it will likely not for myself and most others; but you might as well be happy and enjoy your learning environment while doing so.
  18. That's a tough one. If you can, tell us a bit more about the kind of work you see yourself doing in a doctoral program. You mention patristics/late antiquity, but depending on your particular interests, one's expected preparation can vary quite a bit. You rightly mention your need to focus on languages. This should be a priority, regardless of where you see yourself fitting in late antiquity. One year of Greek isn't enough; you need at least two, but three is what you should aim for. Latin may be something to pick up, even if during the summer as an intensive course. Syriac is not taught regularly at any of those schools, as far as I know, though perhaps maybe at HDS? There are people at all three schools who have studied the language, but I'm not sure if they are/can teach(ing) the language. As an alternative, you could begin to study classical Hebrew or Aramaic (though the latter can often assume training in the former). My suggestion is that, if possible, take any intro/intermediate language class outside of any seminary: e.g. continue your Greek in a department of classics etc. The language courses in most seminaries are quite simply not as rigorous as undergraduate language courses (seminaries usually incorporate modern "theological" components, etc., which are not directly useful for the study of ancient history). Every M* program has rules on what, if any, undergraduate courses you can take, so plan accordingly; this means you may end up taking extra classes (with the language course not counting, but essential for getting into a good doctoral program in this field). If it helps, I studied at BC, took classes at HDS, and am now doing my PhD at an R1 (I work in late antiquity, roughly); feel free to PM me with specific questions. good luck friend
  19. Go to Chicago. For what it's worth, Chicago Div has a reputation of being less-seminary-y than all other divinity schools/seminaries in the USA (including HDS), which in your case is a plus. But, really, a full ride + stipend is rare anywhere, and especially so at Chicago, which is notorious for giving less money than the other R1's.
  20. sacklunch

    MDIV to MTS

    I disagree with some of the above comments. Of course, it depends on the PhD program and one's subfield, but many 'top tier' programs accept students with an MDiv (and without any other M* degree). Many also accept students with only (one) MTS/MAR. If you decide to do another masters, my advice is not to do a ThM or similar degree, since: 1) they are usually completely unfunded and 2) a year isn't enough time given your current 'problem' (i.e. uncertain what you want to specialize in). Again, it depends on your subfield (or what you think you want), but you are far better off doing an MTS/MAR or an MA in religion/religious studies (or related field). Either way, it is essential that your second M* allow you freedom in coursework, since you have already done all the MDiv 'fluff' and you don't want to repeat (and repay for that). A ThM will allow that freedom, but if you hope to transition straight from the program, again, you will be applying to PhD programs before the end of your first semester at said program (and, again, consider the funding issue). In the end, you may well end up having to pay (loan) for much of the degree. Anyways, without more information on what you (think you) want to do, we can't really help you.
  21. ND's MTS is hands down the most competitive 'top' program of the kind, followed I would say by Yale's MARc. ND's MTS is fully funded and comes with a small stipend. As for posted numbers, consider the kind of person who even posts on this forum; it attracts a certain kind of applicant and all the more so for the results page. For most of us, it's too painful to type out those average/bad scores. Or people are misrepresenting their numbers (lying). Prolly a bit of both.
  22. Your GPA is fine. Divinity schools, even those at the top, regularly accept students with such grades, especially for the MDiv. I don't know the stats, but I would say you have a better chance at getting into Duke or Harvard's MDiv than, say, a religious studies MA at University of Kansas. Last stats I saw, MDiv acceptance at such schools wavers between 40-60% year to year.
  23. I have also studied at JTS and it's far from a yeshiva. It's fairly close to the environment you might encounter at e.g. PTS, but obviously the interests at JTS lean rabbinic rather than, say, biblical studies. I can't say that I know anyone with a PhD from JTS. It has a very good reputation, but is so closely associated with Jewish Studies/rabbinics that I suspect having a PhD from there would limit you to certain kinds of jobs. This may be fine for you, but it's something to consider. If the funding situation is as DavidMM says, then you might consider/apply elsewhere. If you want to do rabbinics, you could very well apply to Columbia and take lots of coursework over at JTS; and there are of course lots of top rabbinics scholars at other unis without any official religious affiliation.
  24. Your interests are very wide, which is understandable given your background. Attending GC will have wildly different outcomes, as far as your interests and future prospects, than will say BC. I can't speak to the field(s) of Ethics, but I can for biblical studies. Distance learning for languages is difficult, though less so for ancient languages, since most of what they teach in divinity schools is a passive form of learning within a very narrow literature (i.e. only reading the Hebrew Bible or Greek New Testament). I can't say for certain, but my guess is that if you're limited to distance learning, Catholic and secular schools have less biblical studies than Protestant schools. Well, before I ramble more here, tell us what you want out of this, end game.
  25. If you're from the USA (assuming you are), then, yes, you will likely get in; it's just you have to pay for it. I don't know your situation with the military, but I doubt they would pay for any of it (not covered under G.I. Bill?), since it is unrelated to internal, military advancement (e.g. becoming an officer). Don't let the prestige fool you. It is, of course, a great school; but American academics know that Oxford and the like almost always accept Americans (esp. for a masters), since we can take US federal loans to enroll. This means that when they (PhD admissions folk) look at your CV and see Oxford, they will immediately assume you paid for it and then wonder whether you went there because you weren't 'good enough' to get into a good school here for an 'elite' MA. I should be clear that I don't think such assumptions apply to students with impressive backgrounds: e.g. if you went to a well-known UG school in the US (or simply had good grades) and/or the same for your first MA, they (PhD admissions folk) might indeed assume you paid for the Oxford masters, but what follows--that you weren't 'good enough' to get into a program in the country and thus had to pay your way into an elite school--would not cross their mind. This is all rather speculative, and it is actually probably wrong if you intend to apply to PhD programs outside the usual R1 schools. Tell us more about what you actually want to study (or think you do) and where for the PhD.
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