Single Status Update
Hey yall! I am wondering about Grad School. I want to become a theology professor (probably of biblical and systematic theology), and I am trying to decide what Master/PhD program would be best. Current College GPA: 4.0. I am beginning to look into Harvard Divinity School and their theology program, but how does Harvard compare to, say, Yale or Duke, Princeton, Emory, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. I would identify as a more conservative evangelical Christian, and I realize that some of these schools are known to be theologically liberal, but that is not a concern for me as I am more interested in what they can offer in terms of academic rigor. Thanks for the help!
- Show previous comments 6 more
BenLinus6, this isn't a post intended to have a debate about my faith and your apparent lack thereof, I came to this forum seeking advice, why does it matter to you anyway? Why be unnecessarily rude? What's the point? Just move on to the next forum, and let those who can offer advice do so.
Follow you dreams, as long as you're happy
What kind of school do you want to teach at in the future? Also, are you open to going through the process and not teaching anywhere in the future, since there are so few theology prof positions available? If your desire is to teach at a more conservative Christian school in the future, then going to a place like Harvard Divinity School, while it may challenge your beliefs, will not help you find employment at conservative Christian schools. Also, you only listed two possible outcomes of studying at a more "liberal" school, but there's also a third: you will graduate after having rejected your conservative Christian faith. Don't discount this as a real possibility, as I have witnessed it myself. Also the schools you listed are very diverse across the theological spectrum. Some, like Harvard, would be hostile to your evangelical beliefs, while others would be more open to them (like Duke).
It is increasingly common to find theology/biblical studies PhD students with two masters. I think a good fit for you might be Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. It's a conservative evangelical seminary where you can pursue an MA, and it's also part of the Boston Theological Institute, meaning you could take courses at Harvard Divinity School and other Boston schools while you're there. If you wish (following your professors' advice and guidance), you could also go on to another master's after doing a master's at Gordon Conwell. I know a lot of students who have graduated from Gordon and gone on to top PhD programs.
The most important thing at your stage is to really consider why you want to pursue what you want to pursue. Are you willing to possibly take on a lot of debt for a master's, then go on to a grueling PhD (if you get in somewhere, which in itself is not guaranteed), only to graduate after 5-6 years without a job? This is not a nightmare scenario; it's the norm. Are you willing to do that? Are you open to going through that, simply because you enjoy the study and research of theology or biblical studies, and not because you firmly believe there is a tenure-track position waiting for you at the end? You can't go into this process thinking that there will be a professor position at the end. You have to do it first and foremost because you are passionate about research and the academic study of theology.