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_Athena_

How important is fit for a Master's program?

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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!

Edited by _Ariadne_

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Hmmm... on the one hand, fit matters for a master's, especially if you want to have the best preparation possible for a PhD program. On the other hand, it's also important to be in an environment where you'll thrive. Are you able to pinpoint what it is about Yale that you didn't like?

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51 minutes ago, rising_star said:

Hmmm... on the one hand, fit matters for a master's, especially if you want to have the best preparation possible for a PhD program. On the other hand, it's also important to be in an environment where you'll thrive. Are you able to pinpoint what it is about Yale that you didn't like?

Thanks for your response!

The Yale Divinity School has a very Christian-oriented atmosphere, which is off-putting to me, personally. That is not to say that it trickles into every aspect of student life (and you can certainly take classes outside the Div School), but it would be more difficult to engage with the community there than it would be at Harvard, whose Divinity School is more interfaith and non-sectarian.

EDIT: I should also mention that I got the same amount of funding from both, so it's a non-factor. 

Edited by _Ariadne_

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