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PhD Applications Fall 2019 Season

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11 minutes ago, notpartofyoursystem said:

I guess it’s worth repeating again: people with near perfect stats—including language prep—get rejected all. the. time. It is a crap shoot. No one is guaranteed admission. No one is entitled to admission.

While the above scenario does happen, generally, people with great stats do not get totally shut out from an entire round of applications, at least not "all--the--time."  Telling people this does them a disservice, since there may be a part of their application that needs to be remediated.  True, FIT IS EVERYTHING.  But going 0-6 with not even a W.L. MAY point to a deficiency or a suspect LOR.  It's not helpful to be so mechanical in regurgitating the sanctimonious, canned answer that even "great candidates get shut out completely sometimes."  Yes, this is true--but if your numbers are great and you're getting shut out totally, chronically, it's time to "rethink your inks." 

However, a sample size of 6 apps is not great, and so N.P.O.Y.S.'s post might carry more weight in this instance.  Notwithstanding the digression, how is your language prep?

Edited by rejectedndejected

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I majored in Classical Studies in undergrad, so I have a strong background in Latin and Greek.  I'm conversational in Spanish and I have a year of introductory Hebrew.  

I have not yet studied French or German, though I am confident I would have German in hand before matriculation.  

I've gotten feedback from a few POI's in last year's cycle; some of whom encouraged me to apply again. Others who suggested that while my application was very strong, it would likely leave me persistently just on the outside looking in.  

Some of that is a matter of field-- I am primarily interested in historical theology, which means that some schools would prefer that I apply in theology and some in historical studies.  Some of it is a matter of fit.  Some of it is a matter of background, during my M.Div., I had to take classes oriented both to my (developing) academic interests and to my ordination requirements.  When I began my masters, I thought that any further academic pursuits would be in NT. So, I have a lot of NT and a lot of Theology, and a lot of Classics knowledge, but not a lot of classes in pre-reformation historical theology.  

The point of my sharing is not to find all of the deficiencies in my own application. It is to say that people with good stats, research skills, clarity about their project, and strong recommendations do, in fact, strike out.  

I don't know enough to know whether my experience is widespread. I do know that many of my POI's have reiterated what a complex process it is, and that many, many admittable applicants are turned down each year.  

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On 11/20/2018 at 2:35 PM, notpartofyoursystem said:

I guess it’s worth repeating again: people with near perfect stats—including language prep—get rejected all. the. time. It is a crap shoot. No one is guaranteed admission. No one is entitled to admission.

I would resound this. Also worth noting, most departmental websites are putting on somewhat of a face with modern language-prep skills, specifically in German. Don't get me wrong- Decent German skill will really make your application stand out and you should train it as much as possible. But, from what I've seen a lot of students at higher institution schools in my field either fall in one of two categories- they lived in Germany and have perfect German skills, or they've done some but are still struggling to keep it up and pass the exam by the time the test is due (and hence, have to end up taking German anyway upon admission). The latter seems to be more prevalent; albeit, those generally struggling with German often have training in other languages to offset that, such as Akkadian, Ugaritic, Turkish, Persian, etc. 

 

Schools can also be more lenient with language exams than they put on. Like, they may say you need this language by the end of the second year; but, ask the students- they may be a lot more lenient. Now that being said, you don't want to push off your languages until before A-exams or comps, because then you'll be in a bit of trouble. But still, it illustrates that the demand for language skills often seems higher on the application page than they are in reality. 

Edited by Almaqah Thwn

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Okay, so I'm applying to a school with an application deadline of December 1. I submitted my official transcripts a week and a half ago through the ordering system of my undergraduate institution, but the application portal still says they have not received the official transcripts. Should I be worried and if so is there somebody I should try to get in contact with? I don't want to be overbearing, on the other hand.

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Pierre, it seems that most programs allow applicants to upload unofficial transcripts initially. But I assume the school you're speaking of isn't one of them. It can't hurt to contact someone...the website should list admissions staff or a program assistant you can contact.

Good luck! I'm also not appreciating the Dec 1 deadline. Still need to make some tweaks on my writing sample!

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Hey everyone. Another New Testament applicant here. Like others, it looks like I'll be applying broadly--to at least 10 schools. My areas of interest in the NT are the Gospels and historical Jesus studies. I have the following schools on my list. Are there any top-ranked ones I'm missing?

Harvard, Yale, Princeton U, Princeton Theological Seminary, Duke PHD and THD, University of Chicago, UT Austin, Vanderbilt, Emory, Baylor, and Notre Dame.

I know, I know: lots of schools and application money. Still, acceptances at top programs are tough to get!

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Blindobserver111,

 

You are unlikely to be a good fit at all those institutions. The profile of an admitted student at Harvard, Chicago, or UT will look rather different than that of an admitted student at Princeton Seminary or Baylor.

 

DO you have specific faculty at each of those 10 schools with whom you’d like to work? Do they publish on the Historical Jesus/synoptic gospels?

 

Are you aware that Yale’s NT faculty are all junior at the moment? Have you reached out to Laura Nasrallah or Karen King to ask if they have any interest in advising dissertations on canonical texts? What about at Princeton U or at UT Austin? I don’t know many faculty/grad students from these schools whose work concentrates on canonical gospels, and I know even less who work on Historical Jesus, though this might be owing to the fact that I don’t work in these fields.

 

At the risk of adding even more schools to your list, I’d recommend University of Toronto if you want to work on Historical Jesus. Perhaps also UNC Chapel Hill, though I hear Ehrman is all but retired at this point.

 

ON an unrelated note, does anyone happen to know what’s happening with Yale’s senior search in NT?

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On 12/12/2018 at 2:06 AM, blindobserver111 said:

Hey everyone. Another New Testament applicant here. Like others, it looks like I'll be applying broadly--to at least 10 schools. My areas of interest in the NT are the Gospels and historical Jesus studies. I have the following schools on my list. Are there any top-ranked ones I'm missing?

Harvard, Yale, Princeton U, Princeton Theological Seminary, Duke PHD and THD, University of Chicago, UT Austin, Vanderbilt, Emory, Baylor, and Notre Dame.

I know, I know: lots of schools and application money. Still, acceptances at top programs are tough to get!

Just a heads up, I’m a recent graduate of the GDR at Vandy and they haven’t accepted a new NT PhD student in years because of so much infighting in the faculty. From what I’ve heard, they won’t be taking any NT students for a very long time. 

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On 12/21/2018 at 10:34 AM, tdwightdavis said:

Just a heads up, I’m a recent graduate of the GDR at Vandy and they haven’t accepted a new NT PhD student in years because of so much infighting in the faculty. From what I’ve heard, they won’t be taking any NT students for a very long time. 

As a former VDS student myself, I want to stress that the stress within NT is pretty intense. They're still taking M* students with an interest in NT and the resources are solid but it's going to be an uphill battle and you should absolutely not count on there being a slot come PhD.

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Also as long as I'm here:

Hi, I'm Dwight. I'm doing another round of PhD apps (I think this is round 3? I lost count). Applying to Emory, Vanderbilt, UVA, BC, Marquette, and Fordham for theological studies. I have a MDiv from Beeson Divinity School and a MA from Vanderbilt.

So far, I've been contacted to interview at Emory. We'll see how the rest goes.

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On 12/27/2018 at 1:44 AM, tdwightdavis said:

Also as long as I'm here:

Hi, I'm Dwight. I'm doing another round of PhD apps (I think this is round 3? I lost count). Applying to Emory, Vanderbilt, UVA, BC, Marquette, and Fordham for theological studies. I have a MDiv from Beeson Divinity School and a MA from Vanderbilt.

So far, I've been contacted to interview at Emory. We'll see how the rest goes.

Best of luck to you.  What are you interested in/which sub-discipline are you applying to?

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On 1/4/2019 at 12:44 AM, Areopagitis said:

Best of luck to you.  What are you interested in/which sub-discipline are you applying to?

Thanks! I’m applying for theological studies. I work broadly speaking in theological anthropology. Specifically I work on embodiment and precarity, doing a liberation theology in conversation with queer theory. 

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Any movement for anybody yet? Interview requests? Anything?

I am currently in a PhD program in a humanities discipline and I am reapplying this cycle to religious studies, so I am unfamiliar with the timeline for the field's application cycle. I applied to UC Santa Barbara, Northwestern, UT Austin, and Iowa. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 1:05 PM, cr615 said:

Any movement for anybody yet? Interview requests? Anything?

I am currently in a PhD program in a humanities discipline and I am reapplying this cycle to religious studies, so I am unfamiliar with the timeline for the field's application cycle. I applied to UC Santa Barbara, Northwestern, UT Austin, and Iowa. 

I'm not sure on the timeline for those schools. I was invited yesterday to interview with Marquette view Skype, and I know of people who have been invited to interview at Emory.

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Hi all.  I am a New Testament applicant. I applied Emory, PTS, Baylor, Marquette, and McMaster University.

Thankfully, I received interview invitations from Emory and Baylor. It is very unfortunate that their invitation week schedule overlap. I know Marquette sent invitations for Skype interview. So, I guess I am not their first choice.

However, has anyone heard from PTS yet? It seems like that they sent invitation emails in early January last year.

Edited by Moon River

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17 hours ago, Geistsubjekt said:

Any movement on ND or Duke (esp. ThD)?

Nothing for ND. I don't even think I've heard about the professors meeting to discuss potential applicants yet. Interview weekend is usually late February so I assume the meeting to figure out who they're inviting will be soon.  Acceptances usually go out a couple of days after the interview weekend. 

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1 hour ago, KA.DINGER.RA said:

Nothing for ND. I don't even think I've heard about the professors meeting to discuss potential applicants yet. Interview weekend is usually late February so I assume the meeting to figure out who they're inviting will be soon.  Acceptances usually go out a couple of days after the interview weekend. 

I figured as much. I've heard that, historically, invitations go out on Super Bowl weekend. 

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Man. I'm looking through the 2018 PhD admissions cycle thread for religion and it seems like at this time this year there was a lot more activity both in terms of posting and interviews. Maybe that is a sign that it was a down year for applications? Pure speculation.

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Good luck to everyone out there! I've applied to at least nine programs in New Testament (Yale, Duke Phd/Thd, Emory, Baylor, UT Austin, SMU, PTS, U Chicago and Vanderbilt). I've had interview requests (thankfully) from Baylor, Emory, and UT Austin. Other than that, it's been silent. I have it on good authority that PTS hasn't sent out invites yet. 

Edited by CartesianDemon

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