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Dear Gradcafe Community, This is my first post as a newly registered member of gradcafe. I have followed several threads here and found helpful advice, so I thought I would try my own question. I am going into the final year of my M.Div. program, hoping to continue on to a Ph.D. in patristics. But I have a dilemma. I am not sure whether I would be a very viable candidate for a top-tier Ph.D. program and am wondering what to do. I say this for a couple reasons. First, my languages need some work. I have about four years of Greek between undergrad and divinity school, but it is almost exclusively in Koine. I will have one year of Latin, but will need to work on that. And, I have yet to learn French or German. Furthermore, I have almost no background in classical studies/ancient philosophy (excepting my own independent study). And finally, both of my degrees are from evangelical institutions. On the upside, I have extensive coursework in the history of Christian thought and have taken several graduate seminars on patristic figures in particular. I also have strong LOR's from profs with good connections to some of the schools I am applying to. With all of this in mind, should I go ahead and apply for competitive Ph.D. programs in early Christian history/theology or should I take a couple years to do a funded M.A. that will allow me to work on my languages and fill the lacuna of classical studies/philosophy background? Furthermore, if I do apply to doctoral programs and am rejected, will this negatively affect my chances if I apply after having completed an M.A. to the same programs? I apologize for the length of this, but wanted you to have the specifics. To make this already lengthy question even more tedious, here are my stats: B.A. from Christian liberal arts college (3.94 GPA) M.Div. from evangelical divinity school (3.97 GPA) GRE: 730V/760Q 5.0 Greek (NT) 4 years Biblical Hebrew 2 years Latin 1 year Spanish 2 years