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  • Gender
  • Pronouns
    he, him, his
  • Location
    Boston, MA
  • Interests
    Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, Early Christianity, Jewish/Christian apocalypticism, demonology, Zoroastrianism, ancient Israelite religion, ancient Near Eastern religions, ancient Near Eastern social history, comparative textual analysis, warfare in antiquity, imperial ideology, theories of trauma and affect in literature, Levantine archeology, Egyptology, Assyriology, magic and divination in antiquity.
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall

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  1. I understand that Hopkins takes forever to get back to people, and UCLA is having internal budget issues concerning non-Cali US admits, but should I consider myself out if I have not heard anything back from either of these programs by this point? Admittedly, I’ve been in contact with an NES program staff member at JHU, but they said there was no new information to offer. Any advice, y’all?
  2. I’m not very familiar with the inner workings of the department, but I can say that they don’t conduct interviews. Moreover, it is likely that their top choices for admittance were notified earlier in the month. I was contacted by a colleague who said that two of our mutual friends already received offers in my sub-field (Hebrew Bible). Lastly, I contacted the interim department head, Carl Ernst, and he notified me that I did not make it in to the program. With all things considered, I wouldn’t want to prematurely assert that if you didn’t hear back by now, you didn’t get in, but I also think that, given this info, your chances of admission are slim.
  3. For those who are interested, I heard from some trusted sources that the UC system is in a weird place right now and is only accepting in-state and international applications for their NELC program. Additionally, JHU is notorious for sending out acceptances and rejections super late; like "mid-March" late. That said, I still have questions about U of Michigan and NYU (Judaic Studies Dept). Does anyone know if they do interviews or when they typically respond with results?
  4. I graduated with my MA from there last spring. They tend to send out responses between now(ish) and the end of February. One colleague of mine, who is currently studying in their department, didn’t receive their acceptance until Feb 26th, which was a Saturday, I believe.
  5. Congrats on the acceptances to Fordham, Emory, Chicago, Harvard, and Brown, everyone! I’m happy for y’all! I probably should have joined the forum earlier in the season to ask this question, but what do folks think about the religion department at FSU. I and a few close colleagues and faculty advisors have our opinions, but I would be curious to solicit the opinions of others here as I factor them into my final decision.
  6. I see. I think BU-STH might be sending out decisions this upcoming week, but don’t quote me on that.
  7. I’m 95% sure that all department of religion acceptances have already gone out. (I’m a grad student in the department.)
  8. Does anyone have insight concerning whether or not UNC, Michigan, or NYU perform interviews?
  9. I’m sorry to hear, y’all. A close friend of mine just got their rejection today as well. I’m sure you did the best you could. Applying to any Ph.D. program worth its salt (let alone Harvard) is a crapshoot.
  10. For those who might be interested, a colleague of mine just received an acceptance to the religion program at Harvard via phone yesterday afternoon. Perhaps they might be notifying their preferred candidates at this time. Too early to tell, however.
  11. Re your question about having too many degrees: So far as I have noticed, a number of academics in our generation are taking 3–4 years of masters-level coursework before pursuing a doctorate in religious studies. Even among a number of well-established faculty in the field, having a second master's is not unheard of (and by "second master's" I don't mean an MA that is awarded to Ph.D. students who reach ABD status). I imagine that having all the more research experience (and in my case language experience) can only help you with the admissions process and, ultimately, your marketability as a professor to religion departments upon graduation. Re your question about median age range for admitted students: It varies somewhat. But, in my estimation, applicants tend to be in their 20–30's. For example, two colleagues of mine got into their respective programs two years ago; one was 29 and the other 24. Another colleague got into a different program just last year; they were in their mid-late 30's. Coming into this application cycle, I will be 27. For me at least, language prep did factor in somewhat to how long I have been in school so far, but this is not the case for everyone. You also have to consider the prereqs of different religion programs and departments, life events that might impact one's decision to continue their education, and so on. We are all hiking the trails of academia at our own pace. If it will be useful, I will use some of my experience as an example. Last spring I was finishing up the second and final year of my first master's program (Hebrew Bible), and I was faced with a question that no aspiring academic wants to ask themselves: What do I do when all of my prospective schools have rejected my application? So, I sought some advice from a few mentors and they all steered me toward applying for a Master of Sacred Theology (known by its acronym, STM). Very few schools offer this degree or one like it. Often times it is offered by top-tier divinity schools. I applied to the STM programs at YDS and BU-STH. I got into BU-STH. Now an STM is essentially a one-year master's degree where you can take all manner of upper-level graduate courses. The important thing, at least for BU, is that a majority of these courses have to be relevant to your program focus (or major) and have to be taken at the university. A cool thing about BU is that it is part of a consortium of other graduate universities and seminaries across the Greater Boston area. This way, you have access to a wide range of course offerings from a variety of different institutions. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I studied Akkadian at Harvard NELC, took a doctoral seminar on the Minor Prophets at BC, and a seminar on ancient Jewish wisdom literature at HDS. To finish up the program, you can either take the standard final comprehensive exam or write a thesis. I opted to write a thesis for various reasons. From my experience so far, the STM program at BU is super flexible and will allow you to use your credit hours and program resources as best you see fit. In this year's application cycle, I bring to my file a full transcript from my first master's degree, a fall transcript for my second master's, another year of different ancient languages under my belt, and more coursework in areas of biblical studies with which I am unfamiliar. Compared to last year, my application looks a lot stronger, and as a result, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer from a top-tier program earlier in the month. Though I also received a rejection from a program I really wanted to get into and am still waiting to hear back from some other programs, I would not be in this position without this STM program. So, for a backup option, I highly recommend an STM.
  12. I used to be a touring musician before I embarked on my graduate education, so I typically play, write, and record music in my downtime to take my mind off things. It’s very therapeutic.
  13. I feel for you as well. When I was in my first application cycle last year, I felt a lot of the same frustrations. However stressful this time might be for you (and the rest of us applicants), I think you would be better off focusing on your current coursework (if you’re a student) or pouring your nervous energy into other outlets that help bring you some joy. What I have learned is simple: Just let the process happen; you will be notified when you get notified, ya know? No sense losing sleep over something that is out of your control. You did the best you could, and the rest is up to the divine round table... I mean selection committee. This is also worth mentioning: Even applicants with perfect GPA’s/GRE’s and pristine statements of purpose receive rejections. When a program looks at a file “holistically,” I don’t think they are looking for a spotless record but, instead, for a progressive trajectory in academic performance, which is corroborated by the statement of purpose and recommendation letters. Think about it: What is inspiring about a perfect GPA? Ok, cool, this person can get good grades consistently. But can they learn and improve? This is what I think a majority of programs are looking for: Does this applicant demonstrate the skills and preparation necessary to learn and develop as a scholar? Additionally, I take seriously (more than last year) when a program stresses their interest in candidates that are a “good fit” in their department. Do you ask the same questions they do? Will the methods of research and resources in the department enhance your work? Can you bring something new to a department that will likewise enhance the work being done there? With these questions considered, a department might be more interested in the good-but-imperfect GPA of a candidate who is a great fit over an applicant whose GPA is stellar but whose profile is uninspiring. Hope this helps!
  14. I agree with your final note, but only if one does not hear back, at the latest, by the final weekend in February. I have plenty of colleagues (myself included) who have received offers without programs making any contact, save for the applicant notifying their POI that their application was completed. To your note about Chicago: I understand that you had an interview when you applied, but is it necessarily the case that a program conduct interviews every application cycle? Also, did you apply to the divinity school or another school in the university? Perhaps the divinity school might have a different selection procedure than other schools.
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