Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone!

I'm looking to apply to some M.Div programs next Fall (2019) and need some advice regarding what schools would be a good fit and what my chances would be of getting into them. I've spoken with a couple of professors at a few different schools, but I'm hoping that this forum could help fill in the gaps.

My criteria are the following:

1) Generous funding (*highest priority)

2) Solid academic reputation that would increase chances of getting into a funded Phd program in Theology/Historical Theology

3) Not hostile to conservatives (I'm a progressive evangelical of sorts)

4) Not evangelical (I'm really interested in more mainline theology--Neo-Orthodoxy, Post-liberlism, etc.)

5) Not in Texas or Florida : )

Relevant Info on Myself:
B.A. Liberty University - Pastoral Leadership & Biblical Exposition (w/Koine Greek Minor) - 3.8 GPA
M.A. Liberty University - Executive Leadership (Business) - 3.9 GPA
 
Research Interests: Contemporary/modern theology, existentialism, theology of Karl Barth/Emil Brunner, nature of Christian revelation, pneumatology
Career Goal: professor, writer, pastor
Current Career/Experience: Completed two ministry internships, substitute teacher at a high school, currently head of sales and marketing for a small start-up
Current Church/Theological Affiliation: I'm attending an evangelical Presbyterian church (EPC), although my theology aligns much more with mainline Protestantism
 
Programs I'm Interested In (order of interest):
1) Princeton Theological Seminary
2) Yale Divinity School
3) Boston University School of Theology
4) Candler School of Theology
5) Union Presbyterian Seminary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Princeton Seminary would be a good fit for you given it meets criteria 1 very well in particular. Theres also a natural connection w/the Presbyterian church, although I don't know how important that is to you/its a PC(USA) school anyways.

Union Presbyterian is a fine school in a nice city, but it would not be as easy to get to a PhD program from there. 

The rest of the list is good, but you might want to consider Duke Divinity or Wake Forest, especially since you're in NC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello! I work at Union Presbyterian Seminary, and I'm happy to talk to you more about our program. We offer 100% tuition scholarships to all of our MDiv students with the possibility of receiving more aid on top of that. Most of our students leave with $10,000 or less in debt. We do offer a solid theological education with some of the best professors in the country.  As we have just ended our PhD program, we have a library was created around PhD work. We also offer a ThM which sets up many students up to receive PhDs. The ThM does have to be done after the MDiv. Let me know if you'd like to learn more! We can set up a chance to chat. I would suggest no matter what that you make time to visit some of the institutions. These are all fairly different schools set in different types of locations. Visiting will also give you a better feel of the institution as a whole. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BU offers at least 70 percent funding for all M.Divs (many receiving 100 percent funding and a stipend) and there are quite a few "progressive evangelicals," both on faculty and among the student body. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there,

 

I’m no theologian (I work mostly with New Testament/Second Temple Judaism), but I have quite a few friends in the theology world, especially post-liberalism. Two quick pieces of advice:

 

1. Make sure there are senior scholars working within your interests with whom you can take several courses and from whom you can eventually get a recommendation letter. This is crucial for PhD applications generally and especially for you, I think; those lines on your CV from Jerry Falwell’s institution will take strong endorsements from respected scholars to ease the anxieties of faculty at top-tear PhD programs.

 

2. Visiting schools and meeting with prospective faculty is a really good way to get a sense for the program. I’d also recommend meeting with junior faculty who might have a better sense for the school’s culture (they’re often the profs teaching the most courses anyway). Ask them about where their recent grads go for doctoral work (i.e. are they going to regional seminaries or to Yale, Duke, etc?)

 

In terms of particular schools, I’d also recommend Duke, though you might wish to read another forum post on this site about some troubling issues with its divinity school. Yale has three of the most influential systematic theologians (Volf, Jennings and Tanner) in the country, so I’d strongly encourage you to apply there, as well. Other options: I think there’s a seminary in Louisville that gives full tuition waivers to all its applicants. Princeton Seminary gives good tuition rates, especially to Presbyterians, though I’m not sure how rigorous the program is these days. Other schools people in theology seem to like: Vanderbilt, Chicago (good funding here as well), Notre Dame (funding + evangelical-friendly), Cambridge (a different kind of thing here, but Sarah Coakly is very highly respected in theology circles), Union Seminary in New York.

 

Hope this helps. Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add on the point of postliberal theology (which of course is a vague and contested term), I'd add Wycliffe (which is part of U Toronto) would be very good since they have a few prominent Lindbeck students workings out of that tradition (Joseph Mangina and Ephraim Radner). 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@SemperDiscentes

I don't think anyone has addressed your chances of being accepted into these schools. From my application experience this past season (2018/19), I believe you have excellent chances of getting into every school listed. Moreover, I think you stand to receive at least partial scholarships from most of these institutions. I graduated from a no-name state college with a degree in an unrelated field and got into the schools I was interested in. On paper, you appear much more qualified.

As for any anti-conservative bias in admissions - this is either negligible or non-existent at the M* level. In my interviews and admissions essays, I was pretty honest about my southern-evangelical background and intent to go back into that tradition and, again, I can't point to a single instance in which that info was used against me. Now, PhD admissions could be entirely different and getting a job post PhD almost certainly involves overt politics - but that doesn't appear to be something worth worrying about at this level.

It sounds like you and I have similar interests and backgrounds - my list had the same priorities and requirements.

1. Yale

2. PTS

3. Duke

4. Fuller

I eventually chose PTS for their MDiv program, so PM me if you want to discuss admissions further. Or better yet, find someone on here who has actually been through it already (@Rabbit Run?) .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, JDD said:

@SemperDiscentes

I eventually chose PTS for their MDiv program, so PM me if you want to discuss admissions further. Or better yet, find someone on here who has actually been through it already (@Rabbit Run?) .

 

Yeah, I graduated from the M.Div at PTS so I know the scene; feel free to PM if you have questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of good advice on this thread. (I can personally attest to @Rabbit Run's wealth of knowledge on this subject- he was really helpful to me when I was in the application cycle).

I'm at PTS for the MDiv right now and it sounds like it would be a good fit for you, at least based on the info you shared. PM me if you wish to speak further about it. Also, if you're interested in the Presbyterian route, Union Pres could be a good fit. There are several students here who visited and loved it there; their funding and faculty have a good reputation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would throw in Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. It's definitely on the more progressive-end of evangelicalism. They have partnerships/scholarships for students who need funding, have had success getting their alumni into reputable PhD programs, and allow you to take courses at other schools in Boston/Cambridge (from BU, BC, and Harvard). Let me know if you have any questions about it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for all of this information and advice! This has been really helpful. I'm still thinking Princeton would be the best fit for me. I've narrowed my list down to four schools:

1) Princeton Theological Seminary

2) Yale Divinity School

3) Boston University School of Theology

4) Union Presbyterian Seminary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.