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Found 10 results

  1. Hi all, I'm a current college student applying to MTS programs and am feeling unsure/could use some insight. I'm a senior at a pretty well known/prestigious liberal arts college; I am a philosophy major with extensive humanities coursework and a decent GPA (3.75), but I'm worried that admission to Divinity School might be unrealistic. I grew up very religious, altar serving, attending mass and Sunday School every week, but after coming out as trans (and receiving backlash) I backed away from my faith and the Church. I have recently regained interest in the academic study of religion (after being exposed to philosophy of religion), but I have -- for the above reasons -- unfortunately never taken an actual religion class. And I haven't been involved in any religious extracurriculars because of this distance from my faith. However, I've been super involved in both LGBTQ/trans and disability studies during my undergraduate career, as well as serving on behalf of such communities in my free time for the past five or six years. My whole "pitch" to divinity schools is that I hope to tie my recent return to faith and religion in with my existing engagement with transness and disability through academic religious studies. This is an honest (and I think pretty good) angle to approach my personal statement from, but I'm worried that A) My experience may not be traditionally "Div School" enough for Div Schools, and B.) This focus on transness and disability might be too "boo-hoo," i.e. not conventional enough, for these programs. I've chosen these schools all for their openness to studying these topics in their MTS programs, but I am concerned my purpose in pursuing Div School might just be too focus on these topics instead of the proper, traditional academic study of religion -- which I still definitely am. (This is mainly related to Reason A, and the fact that I haven't had decent, recent exposure to religion for the reasons explained above.) At an admissions information session last week, I recall one of the Divinity School admissions reps saying something along the lines of "We've all been discriminated against, had trauma, don't give us a sob story in your personal statement." This was kind of off-putting to me, but I think this academic interest of mine comes from an honest and legitimate place, and not solely (or really at all) from "trauma" or an "anger" from being discriminated against. It is simply an interest of mine and a way to engage with my spiritual growth and the wellbeing of fellow trans folk around me. (Yet another abiding concern I've had when drafting my essays.) I'm applying to BU, HDS, Union TS, UChicago, Vanderbilt, and Yale. Might I have a chance at these programs given all this...? I know nobody can give a definitive answer, but I wonder whether anybody familiar with admissions processes might be able to offer any advice. Sorry for the long post. I'm mostly done with applications but am feeling a level of stress and apprehension I hadn't before. Thanks in advance for any insight -- any and all is appreciated. Have a nice Saturday! Peace.
  2. Out of the evangelical seminaries in the US, which ones are known as the most rigorous or academic? I'm aware that often the conservatives seminaries are not considered rigorous compared to the mainline divinity schools. However, which school(s) would offer an education the nearest to the rigor of a non-evangelical seminary? Is there a spectrum you could provide of rankings? I am particularly interested in Old Testament programs on the Master's level, but general comments of academic rigor on any level (including PhD) would be helpful. I've heard that possibly Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, at one point was known to be more rigorous; possibly Wheaton? What about Southeastern Baptist Seminary or Denver? Are Fuller or Gordon-Conwell considered more rigorous, or even Dallas Theological Seminary?
  3. Good morning everyone, New member here who has been a long time lurker. I am a third-year student at a small and little known TRACS accredited Bible college who intends to enter into an MDiv program for ordained ministry (military chaplaincy) in the evangelical tradition. A caveat however, is that I fell in love with scholarship in the first year of my studies and acquired a very strong desire and drive to go into academia after ministry. Thus, at some point I will go for a ThM/STM then a PhD/ThD in Theology, Hebrew Bible or New Testament. After spending a generous amount of time reading threads on here and other places, I have garnered that institutions such as Princeton Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School and the University of Notre Dame are considered top tier, while evangelical schools trail far behind. I started to recognize some of this in that I was left wanting in many areas from my own school. I am quite confident that an MDiv from PTS (if I were admitted) would be viewed with immense suspicion by the denomination that I intend to serve in. Accordingly, I have sought and have narrowed my choices down to two schools which I believe would give me sufficient ministerial preparation while providing an at least decent academic preparation and yet would not be a roadblock to ordination. They are Fuller Theological Seminary and Beeson Divinity School. I will be applying to both, but I would like to know, from your point of view and if possible from schools like those mentioned above, which of these two institutions has the better academic reputation? Which will actually better prepare me for the kind of study that I am seeking in the future? Are there any other institutions that I am missing? I considered Gordon-Conwell Theological Semimary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School but I have heard that their commitment to biblical inerrancy is often seen as a hindrance. Also, if you think that I should go to an institution like PTS or YDS, I would like to hear you out on that aswell. Finances are not an issue as I will be using my GI Bill. Neither is distance since I am willing to move. I am also aware that the professor job market is absolutely horrid. Nevertheless, I want to do high level study because I am so interested in those fields and I enjoy having my beliefs challenged. Thank you for all of your time and help!
  4. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on Candler School of Theology (Emory University)? I've been accepted into the M.Div. program there with full funding, but I've also been accepted into a couple of other schools that I know are more well-known. While funding is a significant piece of the puzzle in deciding where to attend, I don't want to go someplace just because they're offering me 100% tuition, especially when I've received slightly less but comparable financial aid at a couple of other schools. I've done a bit of research on Candler, but I can't seem to find a whole lot of specific information on it. Answers to the following questions would be helpful: 1.) Is Candler a reputable school? Would a degree from Candler hold the same weight as a degree from someplace like Duke Divinity or Princeton Seminary? 2.) Would an M.Div. from Candler prepare and set me up well for Ph.D work later on down the road? 3.) Is connecting with professors and networking at Candler relatively easy or challenging? 4.) Anything about Candler that could a drawback or any red flags? Any thoughts?
  5. I'm looking for advice on M.Div. programs. I'm looking to attend a school that will prepare me to serve in a wide variety of denominations (I'm somewhere along the United Methodist-Anglican/Episcopal spectrum in theological orientation, but am pretty ecumenical), that will be intellectually stimulating and challenging, and that will prepare me for the prospect of future doctoral work. I am interested broadly in religion and society (more specifically ecclesiology, ethics, history, and sociology of religion). I've been accepted to the following M.Div. programs with solid financial aid awards: 1. Princeton Theological Seminary 2. Duke Divinity School 3. Candler School of Theology (Emory University) Any advice on which of these programs would be best based on what I'm looking for? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each at this point in time?
  6. I'm looking for advice on M.Div. programs. I'm looking to attend a school that will prepare me to serve in a wide variety of denominations (I'm somewhere along the United Methodist-Anglican/Episcopal spectrum in theological orientation, but am pretty ecumenical), that will be intellectually stimulating and challenging, and that will prepare me for the prospect of future doctoral work. I am interested broadly in religion and society (more specifically ecclesiology, ethics, history, and sociology of religion). I've been accepted to the following M.Div. programs with solid financial aid awards: 1. Princeton Theological Seminary 2. Duke Divinity School 3. Candler School of Theology (Emory University) Any advice on which of these programs would be best based on what I'm looking for? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each at this point in time?
  7. Hello, everyone. I am struggling to decide if I should go towards an MTS at schools like Harvard and Yale or go straight into a Ph.D. program. For context, I have a 3.20 cumulative GPA and have done very well in my Philosophy classes. Yet I think that if I go straight into a Ph.D. program, I would be missing out on the education that Divinity school offers. Age matters as well, since I plan to be on the tenure track. Going into a Ph.D. at 22 vs 24 could make a lot of difference in the long run. Since I want to get a Ph.D. in Philosophy, I am wary of how an MTS is seen in the eyes of the Philosophy department's admissions teams. There is the sentiment that if I decline an acceptance from HDS, I would be forfeiting a one in a lifetime opportunity. If any Philosophy PhDs or HDS alums can chime in, I would greatly appreciate it.
  8. I've been accepted into PTS and Duke Divinity. I'm pretty familiar with the theological framework of each institution, and what kind of quality of life I'd expect in each city. I've also received an 80% tuition scholarship and grant from PTS and 33-25% tuition grant from Duke. The standard need-based stuff from each school. My question here is: will either school do a better job preparing (perhaps qualifying) me for eventual PhD work in theology? I'm still figuring out what I'd like to do my PhD in but it would likely would be in theology (creation, anthropology, or eschatology) or early church history. I have an interdisciplinary interest in AI and music as well. The main thing that's holding me up now is that the PTS degree won't be coming from Princeton University, whereas the Duke Divinity degree will. I'm not sure that makes difference in the long run, but that's where my head is at. Any insight would be helpful!
  9. Hi all! I have been reading through the forum and have really appreciated the insight many of you have into the religious studies field and various programs. My post is a bit of a "what are my chances?" and "do you have experience with my situation?" hybrid. I am a current MA (Theological Studies) student at a local ATS-accredited seminary. I graduated with my BA in Psychology in 2011, and, after soul-searching and trying my hand in several psychology-related positions, I decided to return for a seminary degree in hopes of becoming a minister, author, and perhaps adjunct prof on the side. I am also considering the prospects of pursuing PhD studies down the road. I am now 26 credits into my MATS degree at a local, ecumenical ATS-accredited seminary and have decided to transfer for two major reasons: 1) My current seminary has a good reputation locally, but has become increasingly disintegrated. In the year I've been there, they have changed the seminary's name, revised the entirety of their curriculum, fired or lost several professors, dismissed and appointed a new dean, and are soon to change the physical location of the seminary. Many of these changes have been poorly implemented and badly communicated to the students. 2) I was serving as a volunteer ministry director for the past few years at a local independent non-denom church. Unfortunately, I experienced the two lead pastors as increasingly manipulative/abusive individuals, (garden variety pathological narcissists?), and decided to leave. After departing, I learned that a good friend (who also attended the church) was sexually molested by the aforementioned pastors. These leaders have been educated at my seminary and have mentored and taught there as well, so it has made the seminary itself a difficult place for me to be. Those things said, I still want to finish a degree and continue to pursue a ministry vocation. I find myself more at home in progressive evangelical or mainline protestant contexts and have narrowed my search for an MDiv program down to the below schools: Princeton, Vanderbilt, Emory (Candler), Wake-Forest, Union, Boston U. I am most concerned with the school accepting all (or most) of my transfer credits and hope to receive funding as well. I struggled a bit in undergrad with anxiety and depression, and ended up with a 3.4 GPA, though I had a 3.8/3.9 in my last couple semesters and a 3.7 Major GPA. When I took the GRE a few years ago, I had scores that landed me in the 88th percentile for Verbal, 61st percentile for Quantitative, and 60th percentile for Essay. My graduate GPA is 4.0. I have a publication in the works with an undergrad prof and have lots of service experience with nonprofits and churches. My questions: What are my chances of being admitted to the above schools? All of them accept transfer credit, but how likely is it that my credits will be accepted? Does anyone know the likelihood of funding for my situation? Are there any other schools you might recommend for my search? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated!
  10. Hello, everyone! I have been accepted at Harvard (Master of Theological Studies in Hebrew Bible - 2 years) and Yale (Master of Arts in Religion in Second-Temple Judaism - 2 years) Divinity Schools, my end goal being to gain admission to a top Ph.D. program. The deadline to decide is fast approaching, yet I am still so unsure... I strongly feel that Harvard would be a better fit for me in terms of its atmosphere, but the specific program to which I applied is a bit in flux (there is currently no Hebrew Bible professor, in the traditional sense. The search is on to find one, and other professors pick up the slack, but who knows how long that will take?). Additionally, both of the two primary professors with whom I would be working in the Divinity School will be on sabbatical at some point during my time there (one will be on sabbatical this fall, and the other will be on sabbatical for the entirety of my second year, after which time he may retire). Granted, I would be able to take classes and work with professors outside the Divinity School, as students are able to move fluidly between departments (primarily in the Near Eastern Languages & Cultures department, in my case). Yale, on the other hand, boasts a significant cohort of professors in my field within the Divinity School. At this point in time, the program there is more stable than the one at Harvard; however, I feel less drawn to its atmosphere, and less excited about it, to be honest. So, how heavily should I factor fit into this decision? Obviously, I know it would be hard to go wrong with either school, and I realize how lucky I am to be able to choose between the two. Any and all thoughts would be appreciated!
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