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sacklunch

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  1. Like
    sacklunch got a reaction from amam in PhD at average Grad School: What's even the point?   
    I'll echo many of the comments above, especially Joseph and telk. First, it's worth emphasizing one of telk's comments:
    "It's not that the top schools have the brightest students, it's that they have the resources to provide the structure with the best guarantee of success. The list of schools that fit this criteria is very short. Depending on field, it can be as few as 3 and as many as 20, many of which are obvious (Ivies), but not necessarily so."
    This is the gist of it all. FWIW, I am at a tier one (for a PhD) and I know many others at a tier two in my subfield (late antiquity). Those at the latter are just as gifted and motivated as the rest of us; but their funding is awful and their teaching requirements are unreasonable. The last statistic I read was 20% of those with PhDs in the humanities have a tenure track job. The rest are either adjuncts or working outside academia.
    The only thing I should add to the helpful comments above is that, regardless of whether you are at a top school, you should only do a PhD in the humanities if you are okay with the possibility (some would say inevitability) that you will never work in academia. Even if you "make it" the sacrifices you will have made produce very real consequences, personal and financial. But at least for me--and I suspect others here as well--doing a PhD at a good school offered better financial prospects than had I done something else, at least for 5-6 years. Had I not done the PhD my "salary" with a BA and two M* in RS would have no doubt been lower than my current and rather generous stipend. But had I gone to a second tier school this would not likely be the case; the much lower stipend and bloated teaching expectations would have made it much more difficult financially and personally (and, in turn, would have hindered the already bleak prospects of securing any permanent job). In short: only do it if you are okay with "walking away" from academia at the end of the PhD and only if you are compensated sufficiently. 
  2. Like
    sacklunch got a reaction from Mr. David Jay in Best University for Theological Studies   
    You need to focus on the masters at this point. The rest will come. You will learn, I think, that there is no "unbiased" education in the humanities. As for finding a doctoral program that isn't liberal. They exist, but they are not well regarded outside of theological circles. If you want to be a professor at a (semi-)conservative Christian school, those doctoral programs would set you up well enough. I don't know the job market in that sector at all, but my guess is it's about as bad as the rest of the humanities (maybe slightly better, given the large numbers of seminary students in the USA). In short, the kinds of jobs you want may well not exist when you're finishing up--assuming you even get into a funded doctoral program. 
  3. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to xypathos in PhD in Religion   
    I concur with @Averroes MD - getting into a PhD program in Religious Ethics without specific coursework in that field, probably won't happen.
    If you want to study religious ethics at Harvard's Committee on the Study of Religion you'll need to look through their faculty and find one that has a field in relation to yours.
    Columbia doesn't have a divinity school but Columbia University has a very close relationship with Union Theological. The latter does have a PhD program where you can specialize in ethics, and you'll see Columbia and Union students taking courses at the other school.
    I will also add that Columbia University has their own program in Religious Studies with a strong emphasis throughout Asian religions so I know they'll have faculty that will be of interest to you. We just don't get a lot of posters interested in Columbia and I don't think I've personally met a Columbia grad (I think they're exceptionally strong in asian and broader ME studies and I'm just not in that arena so it's ignorance on my part).
    I think I agree with Averroes MD's comments regarding your degree from Chicago's Graham School. Religious Studies, and the academy at-large, is largely still an old white man's club and part of that is pedigree and not intentionally misrepresenting yourself. People from Graham and Harvard Extension have gone on to great PhD programs, just be mindful of how you represent yourself.
  4. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to Averroes MD in PhD in Religion   
    Hi there.
    Harvard Divinity School no longer has a PhD program and there is no such thing as Columbia Divinity as far as I know.
    To be very honest, I think your chances at a fully funded PhD program in religion are just about nil. 
    But, that's OK! I don't mean to discourage you but basically alert you to the fact that you need to first get a master's in the study of religion before thinking about a PhD.
    Additionally, based on your major, it seems that your master's degree was from UChicago's Graham School (equivalent to Harvard's extension school). I think it can come across as misleading when you say UChicago full stop, although maybe others disagree with me here. Whatever the case, all of this reinforces what I said about the need for a master's degree in the study of religion. This is not just so you can stand a good chance of admission but also to learn about the basics of the degree program... Most importantly of all, you will get a better idea of if you really do want to traverse this path to begin with.
    Your knowledge of Sanskrit is definitely a huge plus. You should use the extra time to learn another language as well. French or German is good, or another research language. 
    Finally, you should be aware of how grim the job market is.
    Having said all that... Good luck!
  5. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from marXian in UVA PhD Acceptances   
    In my opinion, this is the time to overhaul PhD programs in the field. Even before the pandemic few of us were getting tenure-track jobs. Nowadays--and I suspect this won't change much in the next five years, if ever completely revert to pre-pandemic times--basically no one is getting a job. telkanuru is right on both accounts. Top programs are not dealing with reality, at least the reality facing nearly all PhD grads, no matter program ranking. These programs exist in institutions with excess. And I can't really blame those departments. If I was faculty at UVA I would be happy to continue on the way things have been for decades, regardless of whether tenure-track jobs have trickled to nearly zero. I would also be happy, as all R1 departments are right now, to train my doctoral students for jobs that don't exist and to continue enforcing the idea that a PhD in religion/et sim. is only meant--only really matters--if it prepares you for those jobs that no longer exist. 
  6. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from jujubea in The Nitty Gritty on Organization, Productivity, etc.   
    I also have a few "master" notes/bibliography documents: e.g. I have a master secondary sources bibliography for my dissertation (word document) and also use Endnote online, which is split up into different research groups. I other documents for ancient sources: e.g. what editions I follow, citation methods (for authors like Galen this is essential), etc. Other documents record phenomena of potential interest down the road (I work in papyrology, so e.g. I have a document recording sigla of interest in papyri I encounter).
    I must say in response to jujubea that I am not envious of all that physical paper-collecting! I tried something similar for a few years and ended up with more than was feasible to manage. Not only that, but I made more mistakes--juggling multiple books side by side, attempting to keep them flat with multiple weights(!). I much prefer scanning everything, reading and annotating on my ipad with ipencil (which automatically saves and takes the place of the pdf on my computer) and then doing my juggling electronically. I have 4 monitors, so that helps as well, but I find myself making less mistakes and checking references far faster. Plus, you can OCR documents/books after scanned and then search text for keywords, which is a great benefit for those many books without (good) indices.
    cheers
  7. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to Deep Fried Angst in Society of Biblical Literature Panel for Prospective Students of Color   
    To Be or Not to Be: Why Pursue a PhD in Bible?     This will be a luncheon webinar aimed at recruiting more minoritized scholars into biblical studies. The webinar is a follow-up to the recent #BlackScholarsMatter symposium and is co-sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature and Forum for Theological Exploration.     Panelists will discuss why one should pursue a PhD in Bible, how to position oneself for it, support structures one can avail to succeed in their PhD program, and the various available career paths in the changing landscape of theological education.     The webinar is scheduled for 31 October 2020, 1:00–2:30 pm (EST) and is free for students of color interested in pursuing a PhD. Registration will be limited to 100.   Registration for this event is now full. Please check back on this page after the webinar has concluded for video of the event.       Eligible participants will receive complimentary registration to the 2020 Annual Meeting and may order their own meal and be reimbursed by SBL for up to $25.*   Each registrant will also receive a copy of one of these books:   Jesus in Asia by R.S. Sugirtharajah (Harvard University Press) The Dawn of Christianity by R. Knapp (Harvard University Press) Reading While Black by Esau McCallley (InterVarsity Press) A Multitude of All Peoples by Vince Bantu (InterVarsity Press) Christ in Latin America by Samuel Escobar Brown Church by Robert Chao Romero (InterVarsity Press) Theological Formation: Making Theology Your Own by Mark Ellingsen (Mercer University Press) A Biblical, Historical and Theological Guide for Students by Kathryn Muller Lopez, et al. (Mercer University Press) The Edward Wimberly Reader: A Black Pastoral Theology edited by Mary Clark Moschella and Lee H Butler (Baylor University Press) Church in Color: Youth Ministry, Race, and Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. by Montague R. Williams (Baylor University Press) Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond by Nijay Gupta (Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf & Stock Publishers), with a new chapter “Advancing Towards a More Healthy, Diverse, and Inclusive Academy.” We are grateful to Harvard University Press, InterVarsity Press, Mercer University Press, Baylor University Press, and Wipf & Stock Publishers for their support.     SBL is gathering information from several PhD programs about their application process and the support they offer minoritized students to succeed in the program and during job search. This information will be available on the SBL website.  
    https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/ToBeorNottoBe.aspx
  8. Like
    sacklunch got a reaction from NTNerd in UVA PhD Acceptances   
    In my opinion, this is the time to overhaul PhD programs in the field. Even before the pandemic few of us were getting tenure-track jobs. Nowadays--and I suspect this won't change much in the next five years, if ever completely revert to pre-pandemic times--basically no one is getting a job. telkanuru is right on both accounts. Top programs are not dealing with reality, at least the reality facing nearly all PhD grads, no matter program ranking. These programs exist in institutions with excess. And I can't really blame those departments. If I was faculty at UVA I would be happy to continue on the way things have been for decades, regardless of whether tenure-track jobs have trickled to nearly zero. I would also be happy, as all R1 departments are right now, to train my doctoral students for jobs that don't exist and to continue enforcing the idea that a PhD in religion/et sim. is only meant--only really matters--if it prepares you for those jobs that no longer exist. 
  9. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from Pierre de Olivi in UVA PhD Acceptances   
    I may be misunderstanding you, so feel free to correct me if you think I am. But I am speaking specifically about doctoral students, not faculty, in RS (and other fields in the humanities). Basically all doctoral students at R1 schools in our field are "leeching" off of more profitable enterprises within the university. Yes, PhD students help some with TAing, but at least at R1s this is a very small part of what is expected of you. To your point, there are of course ways to measure the performance of doctoral students in RS--exams, e.g.--but most of what we produce/do is not actually profitable to anyone outside of the student herself/himself. In other words, I don't think doctoral students in R1 humanities departments can exist in this private-sector model you speak of.
  10. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from dr. telkanuru in UVA PhD Acceptances   
    In my opinion, this is the time to overhaul PhD programs in the field. Even before the pandemic few of us were getting tenure-track jobs. Nowadays--and I suspect this won't change much in the next five years, if ever completely revert to pre-pandemic times--basically no one is getting a job. telkanuru is right on both accounts. Top programs are not dealing with reality, at least the reality facing nearly all PhD grads, no matter program ranking. These programs exist in institutions with excess. And I can't really blame those departments. If I was faculty at UVA I would be happy to continue on the way things have been for decades, regardless of whether tenure-track jobs have trickled to nearly zero. I would also be happy, as all R1 departments are right now, to train my doctoral students for jobs that don't exist and to continue enforcing the idea that a PhD in religion/et sim. is only meant--only really matters--if it prepares you for those jobs that no longer exist. 
  11. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to dr. telkanuru in UVA PhD Acceptances   
    This isn't actually a good thing. Schools who have looked at the current situation and decided to take more graduate students either
    1) Have little connection to reality,
    2) Can't function without grad student labor, or
    3) Both.
  12. Like
    sacklunch got a reaction from NTNerd in The Nitty Gritty on Organization, Productivity, etc.   
    I also have a few "master" notes/bibliography documents: e.g. I have a master secondary sources bibliography for my dissertation (word document) and also use Endnote online, which is split up into different research groups. I other documents for ancient sources: e.g. what editions I follow, citation methods (for authors like Galen this is essential), etc. Other documents record phenomena of potential interest down the road (I work in papyrology, so e.g. I have a document recording sigla of interest in papyri I encounter).
    I must say in response to jujubea that I am not envious of all that physical paper-collecting! I tried something similar for a few years and ended up with more than was feasible to manage. Not only that, but I made more mistakes--juggling multiple books side by side, attempting to keep them flat with multiple weights(!). I much prefer scanning everything, reading and annotating on my ipad with ipencil (which automatically saves and takes the place of the pdf on my computer) and then doing my juggling electronically. I have 4 monitors, so that helps as well, but I find myself making less mistakes and checking references far faster. Plus, you can OCR documents/books after scanned and then search text for keywords, which is a great benefit for those many books without (good) indices.
    cheers
  13. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to xypathos in I am lost on how many courses to take in my first semester   
    Even if you rate yourself a workaholic, I'd never encourage someone to take more than three courses their first semester. The work expected of you is going to be higher than as a M* student. On top of that, and this is school dependent, but you're going to be encouraged to take on administrative responsibilities too - sitting on a committee (mostly), and probably other small things. All of this is in addition to balancing social and personal responsibilities.
    Start at three and see how you feel in the spring. Keep in mind though that as you get settled into the program they tend to ask more of you.
  14. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from Duns Eith in PhD program with Gnostic roots of Christianity folks   
    The reason I did not address the question directly, and I suspect the same for the others, is that it is too vague. "Gnostic/Pagan roots of Christianity" may strike some as nonsensical or, in light of scholarship on earliest Christianity in the past few decades, backward looking. So it's hard to recommend any scholar in particular. But, really, this forum is not terribly great for these kinds of questions--I wish it were, but most of the posters and conversations lean toward M* applicants. You are better off a) researching yourself using department websites, google books, jstor, etc. and then b) emailing current doctoral students/scholars in the subfield/s you see yourself in. 
    Re languages, Syriac isn't going to get you very far in "gnostic studies"; there are a few wildly understudied Syriac texts with "gnostic themes" (forgive the imprecision) recovered among the magnificent remains of fourth-century Roman Kellis, but unsurprisingly these are Syriac-Coptic texts, which again brings up the importance of Coptic for studying "gnosticism." But, still again, "gnosticisim" may mean something very different to you than it does me (so you know I'm not completely full of it: I'm writing my doctoral dissertation, mostly I work in Greek papyrology, but I continue to work heavily with the earliest surviving Coptic texts).
    I am honestly happy to hear you are optimistic! You will without doubt face age discrimination; take some time to browse the current doctoral students at any of the schools you mentioned. I can almost guarantee that none of them will have a single student over the age of 40. The reality, then, is you will probably have to complete a doctoral degree at a lesser known school, which will likely mean no funding or very limited funds, and so on. It really does pain me to type this out, because I know how painful it is to hear you 'can't' do something because of conditions beyond your control. I hope I am wrong and I really do wish you the best of luck. 
  15. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to Kuriakos in Which way to take? Old Testament and ANE   
    Baylor would not be a good fit for this sort of thing, nor does it belong in a list with a bunch of fundamentalist institutions
  16. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from rheya19 in Early Christianity PhD exam reading lists   
    I'd be happy to share mine, though not sure how much use it would be. I work in later antiquity as well. Shoot me a PM if you want and ill email you.
     
  17. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to marXian in Applying to Grad School this Fall (MA; PhD) - How to Best Prepare?   
    Hey there, I recently finished my Ph.D. (Northwestern, 2019) in roughly your area of interest (phil of religion) and have some thoughts.
    First, I'm not going to tell you not to pursue this based on how bad the job market is. Other people here will. But people told me the same thing 10 years ago when I was first looking at Ph.D. programs. If you're an RS major and you've had any conversations at all with faculty mentors about grad school, I'm sure (I hope) they told you this. It's really, really, really hard out there. I don't pretend to know what it will be like 6-10 years from now, but chances are it still won't be great. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea to pursue grad school, but you must go in with eyes wide open. I applied to over 80 jobs last year while I was finishing my dissertation, preparing for defense, and then after I defended. I was really lucky to get a full time teaching job, but it literally fell out of the sky a week or so before I was going to start applying to retail jobs, and it's at a community college on the other side of the country from where my family and my wife's family are from. We're okay with this, but some people would not be. You have to weigh all of this. Go in fully aware that the chances are stacked against you for getting even a full time gig at a community college.
    Second, don't pay a single dime for grad school. Unless you're independently wealthy, taking out loans to attend an MA program is just a bad idea (an even worse idea for a Ph.D.) You can find well-funded MA programs and certainly any Ph.D. program that's going to position you for a job is going to have funding.
    That said...
    You're right that it's difficult to get into a PhD program straight from undergrad, but given your fields of interest, not impossible. I had two colleagues in my cohort (2012) who came straight from undergrad, one in each of the fields you're interested in. Honestly, you sound like a competitive undergraduate candidate. Depending on the program, if the fit is really good and you have a compelling project, I definitely think you have a shot.
    I do also think, however, that a funded MA will help you immensely in clarifying your interests and getting connected to the right people. In American Religion, I think this is especially important. Florida State has an excellent MA program with a great Ph.D. placement record and is especially strong in American Religion. Obviously places like Harvard and Yale would be well suited for either interest. 
    The most important thing for a PhD application is "fit" which is an ambiguous, frustrating term that's really hard to quantify. Basically, the adcom has to "feel" that you would work well given the resources of the department and the broader university. Sometimes it may seem like you are an amazing fit for a particular department but you get rejected outright (I felt this way about UVA--didn't even get waitlisted) and sometimes you might be surprised by a department thinking you're a good fit (I applied to NU at the last minute and did not think I had any chance). This is one reason why attending a "well-connected" MA program where faculty know other faculty in good PhD programs is helpful because they can potentially steer you in the right direction. 
    For MA applications, you're likely a very strong candidate at any MA program in the country. The divinity school programs are much easier to get into (typically) than a traditionally funded MA program (e.g. FSU, Miami OH, etc.) in part because a lot of students pay a lot of money to attend those programs. There's usually aid available at the higher tier programs (Chicago, Yale, Harvard, Duke, etc.) but they're not going to pay you a stipend or anything like that. At a place like FSU, you're going to get a modest stipend on top of a tuition waiver in exchange for TA work.
    In short, yes, you definitely need to start working on a personal statement/statement of purpose now, at least for Ph.D. applications.
    Hope that's helpful!
  18. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from Pierre de Olivi in PhD program with Gnostic roots of Christianity folks   
    The reason I did not address the question directly, and I suspect the same for the others, is that it is too vague. "Gnostic/Pagan roots of Christianity" may strike some as nonsensical or, in light of scholarship on earliest Christianity in the past few decades, backward looking. So it's hard to recommend any scholar in particular. But, really, this forum is not terribly great for these kinds of questions--I wish it were, but most of the posters and conversations lean toward M* applicants. You are better off a) researching yourself using department websites, google books, jstor, etc. and then b) emailing current doctoral students/scholars in the subfield/s you see yourself in. 
    Re languages, Syriac isn't going to get you very far in "gnostic studies"; there are a few wildly understudied Syriac texts with "gnostic themes" (forgive the imprecision) recovered among the magnificent remains of fourth-century Roman Kellis, but unsurprisingly these are Syriac-Coptic texts, which again brings up the importance of Coptic for studying "gnosticism." But, still again, "gnosticisim" may mean something very different to you than it does me (so you know I'm not completely full of it: I'm writing my doctoral dissertation, mostly I work in Greek papyrology, but I continue to work heavily with the earliest surviving Coptic texts).
    I am honestly happy to hear you are optimistic! You will without doubt face age discrimination; take some time to browse the current doctoral students at any of the schools you mentioned. I can almost guarantee that none of them will have a single student over the age of 40. The reality, then, is you will probably have to complete a doctoral degree at a lesser known school, which will likely mean no funding or very limited funds, and so on. It really does pain me to type this out, because I know how painful it is to hear you 'can't' do something because of conditions beyond your control. I hope I am wrong and I really do wish you the best of luck. 
  19. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from marXian in The Nitty Gritty on Organization, Productivity, etc.   
    Haven't read much about this program. You're using OSX I assume?
  20. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to marXian in The Nitty Gritty on Organization, Productivity, etc.   
    I defended my dissertation last April (2019). I used Scrivener to write my diss and then exported it to Word for my committee and when it was time to submit to ProQuest. 
    Advantages I saw in Scrivener:
    - I found it really easy to keep everything organized. Some of what you can do with Scrivener I'm sure you can do with Word. But I thought the layout of Scrivener was really easy to use. You can keep a menu open on the left that lists each section/chapter of your diss. However you want to break it down. Then what shows up in the writing window is whatever chapter you have selected. So you can flip back and forth between chapters really easily, re-order them really easily (if necessary), etc. This also allows you to very quickly keep track of any stats/targets that you need to keep track of (e.g. word count targets or restrictions you set for yourself, etc.)
    - FOOTNOTES. Scrivener keeps your footnotes listed on the lefthand side of the window making it very easy to find the notes you're looking for. I honestly never used Endnote or any footnote tracker because everything can be done in Scrivener. As long as you import/enter your bibliographic info as you go along, Scrivener does a very good job of keeping everything organized.
    - Scrivener has a "cork board" feature where you can "pin" notes to yourself, reminders, etc. It's basically a separate tab like the chapters that can be pulled up just be clicking on it. I found that much easier to use than a running list of notes in a Word doc (which I still had) or even a physical board. It also has a comments feature that's much easier to use than in Word.
    Drawbacks:
    - The major issue was exporting to Word sucked. I used Turabian citation style, but Scrivener doesn't have that as an option. Chicago is obviously very close, but even then, the export didn't get the formatting exactly right. The main thing was that all the footnote numbers were superscript and not indented at all. So when I did my final export for my committee before my defense, I had to go through and fix the numbers on 400+ footnotes. It didn't take as long as it sounds it might, but it was still annoying. Had to do it again after I cleaned it up for ProQuest.
    I'm starting a new book project now, and I've gone right back to Scrivener.  
  21. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to 11Q13 in Yale vs. Notre Dame   
    I'm biased perhaps, but I think your first move should be to follow the money. Notre Dame is offering you more, and it's also very cheap to live there. There is also a strong theology community at ND as well, and the department is looked up to and highly respected across the rest of the university, unlike Yale where they will think of you as those weird wizards up on the hill. 
  22. Like
    sacklunch got a reaction from NTNerd in The Nitty Gritty on Organization, Productivity, etc.   
    Me: sixth year PhD candidate, broadly ancient history, specialty papyrology (mostly Greek, lots of Coptic et al.), late ancient reading practices, scholars, Septuagint, ancient grammar, etc.
    I have toyed around with various word processors, but always come back to Word. My school has a paid subscription for OneDrive, which syncs remarkably well with Word, autosaves, etc., which makes it an easy choice. 
    Bibliography. This one is hard. I use Endnote online, mostly because my Uni has a paid subscription. I mostly use it to store and organize references related to my dissertation and books/articles I need/want to read at some point. But honestly, I didn't use any kind of software before my dissertation and I never found it to be a hassle. I suppose you could start using something like Endnote now, especially if it's free for you.
    Resources I wish I would have known about. Hmm...A big one that comes to mind is to invest in the cheapest new ipad and ipencil (or similar stylus--the new base ipad supports ipencil now, used to be only the pro). I was one of those people who hated reading articles/books electronically. But I realized that with the pencil, it feels basically the same as the real thing. The biggest advantage for me reading this way is I can pull up the article/book on my laptop/desktop and see my notes/highlights. This helps immensely when you are returning to certain references over long spans of time (dissertation work). Another tech item is getting more than one monitor, but the benefits of this are largely contingent on the kind of work you do (or will do). For me, I spend lots of time looking at digital images of papyri alongside text documents; I have to do a lot of transcribing, etc., and with only one monitor you will make mistakes. I doubt you are/will be doing this kind of work, but the benefits are still there even if you are only looking at multiple (modern) text documents.
    Language upkeep - good luck. How many languages? Dead and/or spoken? You will probably have to give up competency in some over time, increase competency in others. So it goes. 
  23. Upvote
    sacklunch reacted to xypathos in Summer Language courses for credit?   
    CUA is offering their Semitic courses online this summer: Syriac, Coptic. Armenian, Ethiopic, Arabic (focus on Christian Arabic literature).
    Princeton will continue to offer German, French, and Latin for reading exam purposes - online. At $525/course it's rather affordable.
  24. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from Pierre de Olivi in Yale Divinity vs. State University   
    Re the original question, you need to look carefully at the course requirements for the MARc and see what you can or can't get out of. I know the MARc has exceptions, but I don't know what they are. If the program requires you to take a bunch of fluff--i.e. anything that isn't specific to ANE studies--you may consider the other offer. YDS has a good name, yes, but not really in ANE studies (note I'm not talking about Yale U, which is entirely different). I'm not saying YDS bad, far from it, just that faculty working in ANE studies tend to be much more interested in how good your language skills are, ancient and modern, field experience, specialized coursework (epigraphy, e.g.). You can get some of that at YDS, or at least via Yale U, but you may get stuck taking classes that are more introductory; even if you don't have to take X number of intro classes, you should check how many classes they will let you take outside YDS (there may not be enough classes available at YDS in your specialty for any given semester). The introductory nature of divinity courses is really the biggest problem, I think, for successful entrance into a good PhD program in any field of ancient history. They are not really designed to prepare you for this, or at least that is a very small part of what a divinity school can offer. The top ANE PhD programs, including Yale U, are not going to give a hoot, e.g., if you have a MARc from YDS, but you took a bunch of intro/unrelated classes. They would be far more impressed with someone who has an MA from a good state school who did more advanced/focused research. And honestly even if you have, on paper, 'advanced' classes from YDS or the other usual divinity suspects, certainly Duke, less so HDS and Chicago, they may be skeptical that those classes were up to the same rigor as a non-divinity school. I can say I have walked into a few 'advanced' language classes at a few big divinity schools and was surprised, at first, at the level (lack) of intensity. Faculty know this.
  25. Upvote
    sacklunch got a reaction from pax et caritas in Being Catholic at Harvard Divinity School   
    If you go the non-academic route, then I have no doubt HDS would look better on a resume. Would it make a huge difference? I doubt it. If it didn't say "Divinity" it might, but, honestly, that label throws about every red flag possible to folks working in the professional world. Even others with grad degrees from the same top schools with divinity schools are sort of confused, if not at times alarmed/put at unease, when they meet people with a divinity degree. It feels antiquated to them, backward thinking, the odd duck in the larger, increasingly secular university culture in the US, which is especially acute at top schools. I'm not saying the divinity students/graduates are marginalized per se at these schools. They are better off than most folks, professionally speaking. But how much better off is say, person 1 with only a BA vs person 2 with a BA from the same school as person 1 + a M* from HDS? In the non-academic professional world, outside of 'theological'-jobs, I would argue not really better off at all. In fact, I am positive that certain employers would rather hire the first person, because they may think that person 2 will just not fit in with the other types of folks in a professional environment--e.g. person 2 may have inappropriate conversations at work (related to god/s, and so on). Now, I am not saying person 2 would do any of those things or even that the folks s/he works with wouldn't want to have those conversations, only that a hiring manager may assume any one of those things. This is mostly hypothetical. But I do know a few people with M* from top divinity schools, including HDS, who did not want to work in 'theological'-job-world upon graduation. They either didn't get into PhD programs or they didn't have an interest in them. So what do they do? Whatever they can. A few of them have jobs they love, a few don't. What they have in common, generally, is their M* didn't help them much professionally. And, I can recall a few of them relating experiences of unease during the hiring process because their divinity education.
    You may rightly be wondering why you haven't read the exact kinds of things I am typing elsewhere on this forum (or perhaps you have?). I think the answer is that most of the people on here either a) don't bother to come back and ramble on after they have already 'made it' (this forum is about getting into graduate school, more or less) or b) they are firmly entrenched in 'theological'-job-land and thus these issues are largely irrelevant for them. Okay, enough rambling. Back to the dissertation.
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