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PhD Applications Fall 2019 Season

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14 hours ago, formermary said:

hi, everyone! joining this thread to ease my anxiety as I wait! 

this is my first time applying to Ph.D. programs, and I fear that I am terribly underqualified! I applied to only Northwestern (American Religions), Princeton (Religion in the Americas), Temple, and Drew (Religion and Society). My primary focus is on Catholicism and abortion in the U.S. I came to the Ph.D. with a background in journalism and activism, having recently completed a book for a large Catholic nonprofit, but I lack a MDiv, Master's in Religion, etc. which makes me feel very underqualified! (I do have an MFA in Writing and currently, teach composition at a four-year university). 

I had an interview with Temple this weekend, and have been invited to sit in on a seminar by their department chair. 

Does anyone know if Princeton continues interviewing later in the cycle? And does Northwestern generally do interviews, too?

Since the 2014-15 cycle, Northwestern has typically done a Skype interview. Not sure if that has changed. The visiting weekend, however, has always been for admitted students. I know that the RS faculty is meeting next week to make final admissions decisions.

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1 hour ago, marXian said:

Since the 2014-15 cycle, Northwestern has typically done a Skype interview. Not sure if that has changed. The visiting weekend, however, has always been for admitted students. I know that the RS faculty is meeting next week to make final admissions decisions.

 

Good info. So, if I am reading your post correctly, if you have not received an invitation for a skype interview from Northwestern at this point, you can assume you did not make the cut?

Edited by cr615

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Reading these threads is so nerve-racking! Does anyone know if it's common practice or frowned upon to contact the graduate admissions office or the PoI to check on the status of one's application?

Anyone hear back anything from Duke or UChicago?

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10 minutes ago, theologynerd said:

Reading these threads is so nerve-racking! Does anyone know if it's common practice or frowned upon to contact the graduate admissions office or the PoI to check on the status of one's application?

Anyone hear back anything from Duke or UChicago?

I don't know that it is necessarily frowned upon, as I assume that professors know that people have different timelines to accept jobs, other PhD offers, etc., and people want to know where the process is at. 

This is my second PhD application cycle, and I only e-mailed one professor during the last cycle. What I will say from that experience is that I don't think reaching out will really give you a any clearer sense of where the process is at. I e-mailed the professor I wanted to work with in late February and they e-mailed back saying they were still deliberating. Of course, this wasn't technically a lie, although it is now clear I had not made the cut. I think they are still "deliberating" until they have filled their incoming cohort. 

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1 minute ago, cr615 said:

I don't know that it is necessarily frowned upon, as I assume that professors know that people have different timelines to accept jobs, other PhD offers, etc., and people want to know where the process is at. 

This is my second PhD application cycle, and I only e-mailed one professor during the last cycle. What I will say from that experience is that I don't think reaching out will really give you a any clearer sense of where the process is at. I e-mailed the professor I wanted to work with in late February and they e-mailed back saying they were still deliberating. Of course, this wasn't technically a lie, although it is now clear I had not made the cut. I think they are still "deliberating" until they have filled their incoming cohort. 

Seriously--like taking a shower in a horror movie, no good can come of it.  You either are funneled into talking to a detached and out-of-the-loop (and usually cranky) lower-ranking department staff-member, or are told by your POI that applications are still under review, and then you spend the rest of the week worrying if you have been marked as being "impatient" or "difficult,"  thus further impairing your already illusory chances of admission.

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1 minute ago, rejectedndejected said:

... your already illusory chances of admission.

 

Haha, noice! ? ????

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On 1/19/2019 at 8:05 PM, hannibal254 said:

Yes, please! Distractions and commiserations are super welcome right now.

I'm applying to programs in Early Christianity: Brown, UChicago, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. So far, I've had an interview with Princeton and have been accepted to Stanford (yay!!). Haven't heard anything from anywhere else, though.

 Others??

Hey, big congratulations on Stanford and Princeton!

Did Stanford interview you or did you just get an acceptance e-mail? I also applied there and am unsure of what to be expecting, or if I should just assume I've been rejected at this point.

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1 hour ago, rejectedndejected said:

Anyone have any thoughts on the theological studies PhD program at St. Louis University?

Conservative. Not very diverse. Recently went through some internal turmoil. They have an interim chair this semester, as the previous one stepped down mid last semester. I kid you not, the interim chair before this interim chair was someone with a biology background.....yes, biology.

 

To be fair, the scholars that they do have are solid. You will get a good, conservative, theological education. Not amazing, but solid and not looked down upon by anyone. 

Edited by cr615

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3 minutes ago, cr615 said:

Conservative. Not very diverse. Recently went through some internal turmoil. They have an interim chair this semester, as the previous one stepped down mid last semester. I kid you not, the interim chair before this interim chair was someone with a biology background.....yes, biology.

 

To be fair, the scholars that they do have are solid. You will get a good, conservative, theological education. Not amazing, but solid and not looked down upon by anyone. 

Thanks for the 411.  It seems that almost no one on here mentions STLU as a possible destination.  Why is this?  They seem to place their graduates quite well and St. Louis is a very livable city.  It seems like it would at least be on the level (as far as preffftige goes) as Baylor or Marquette...

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59 minutes ago, rejectedndejected said:

Thanks for the 411.  It seems that almost no one on here mentions STLU as a possible destination.  Why is this?  They seem to place their graduates quite well and St. Louis is a very livable city.  It seems like it would at least be on the level (as far as preffftige goes) as Baylor or Marquette...

Disclosure: I am at SLU right now, although in a different department. 

You are right. From what I know, all of their PhD graduates from last Spring have landed jobs. I don't know if these were all TT jobs, or even attractive jobs, but hey, that tells you something.

This isn't a scientific answer, but my interpretation on the matter. I think SLU, like the city of St. Louis, is often overlooked. It's a good school, but lives in the shadow of Wash U at the local level and Notre Dame and Boston College in the Catholic context. It's in a city, but its no Chicago. 

 

Edited by cr615

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6 hours ago, Pierre de Olivi said:

Hey, big congratulations on Stanford and Princeton!

Did Stanford interview you or did you just get an acceptance e-mail? I also applied there and am unsure of what to be expecting, or if I should just assume I've been rejected at this point.

Thanks!

I didn't have an interview, and I was notified by phone. Which field of study were you applying to?

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8 hours ago, hannibal254 said:

Thanks!

I didn't have an interview, and I was notified by phone. Which field of study were you applying to?

I applied to the Christianity track! I haven't heard anything by phone so far... I guess I'll just have to wait and hope

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1 hour ago, Pierre de Olivi said:

I applied to the Christianity track! I haven't heard anything by phone so far... I guess I'll just have to wait and hope

PMing you some details!

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Does anyone have details on the admissions process at Boston College? I am keenly interested in working with a couple of the professors in the Systematic Theology program, but wasn't able to visit and learn more about how their process works. With a project that sits at the juncture of Historical/Systematic theology, I'm curious how my application will be received.  

I see the one interview posting on the results page for an interview in Historical Theology, but was curious if all subfields work the same way and/or if all notifications had gone out.  

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What percentage of folks visit PhD programs before applying?  Does it actually help with admissions (if they like you)?  Or is it mainly for us prospective students, so that we get a feel for our compatibility with the milieu of a program?  How big of a handicap is it if we don't visit our programs of choice?

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9 minutes ago, rejectedndejected said:

What percentage of folks visit PhD programs before applying?  Does it actually help with admissions (if they like you)?  Or is it mainly for us prospective students, so that we get a feel for our compatibility with the milieu of a program?  How big of a handicap is it if we don't visit our programs of choice?

Someone else might be able to quantify the difference, but I can't. I would say that I think it can help in a few particular ways, but one has to weigh that against the financial and time cost of making it happen.  

I think in terms of admissions, it can serve as a way to add a face and personality to the otherwise impersonal application, and thereby help you stand out.  It also gives a chance to learn about what the program values in a way that can help tailor a personal statement to the distinct strengths of the school as seen from the inside.

I'm not sure that it's a handicap if you don't visit as much as it may provide a leg up to have some semblance of a relationship with scholars and familiarity with the program. 

Edited by EarlyXianity

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Re: ND admissions process. I can confirm that how it goes is that each area reviews its own applicants and chooses who they want. There is a separate PhD committee that rubber stamps the choices after the area subcommittees have made their selections. The number of people accepted to each area varies. I can confirm that this year HC is getting 2. Can't say for the other areas. They invite roughly double the amount of people to interview as there are spots available. 

Re: BC admissions process. I interviewed with them. It was with three faculty members over Google Meet and only 20 mins. Kind of a weird way to do it instead of flying out the top applicants, but whatever... They said I would hear in a few weeks. 

Also, I heard that Duke's PhD received the lowest number of applicants in like 15 years and that most of the applicants were for OT. So it does seem like application numbers are down all around this year.

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Hi, all! I have been following this thread for a couple of years now as a sort of ‘fly on the wall’, but now I figured I would interact with y’all to take my mind off the precarious application waiting period in which we find ourselves.

A bit about me: I am currently halfway through my second master’s degree in Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East at BU School of Theology; The degree itself is a Master of Sacred Theology. I completed my first master’s in Hebrew Bible (MA) at Union Theological Seminary and did my undergrad work in Biblical Studies at Eastern University in PA. I applied to 5 Ph.D. programs last fall while at UTS and unfortunately did not get in to any. This time around, I applied to 10 schools. Here's to hoping for a better outcome this year. 

Re: ND application process. I am unsure how significant of a factor this is in the lack of movement among faculty in the section committees and overall Ph.D. selection board, but it is worth noting that the Theo Dept. suffered the sudden loss of a pretty bigtime endowed chair holder due to pancreatic cancer this December. Perhaps the loss of this key faculty member and the impact of his passing on the department might explain some of the holdup to a degree.

Re: Visiting prospective schools before applying. As others have said, visiting programs will not necessarily ensure acceptance, but it helps put a face and personality to a name on an otherwise generic application. However, folks should not stress about trying to visit every school or meet with every POI at AAR/SBL. I made that mistake last year and it really burned me out. 

That said, here is some advice I took from my mentors for the current application cycle: 

1) Try to visit campuses and meet with faculty only if the school is in the same city you live in or is (at most) a day trip away by car, bus, or train.

2) If you are studying in a city where there are one or more programs in which you are interested, try and take a course with your POI. That way they can get a basic sense of how you are as a scholar and individual, and you can determine what life might be like studying and working with them in the long-term. Needless to say, studying alongside current students in the department will help significantly in gaining inside information about the workings of the department.

3) Most importantly, whether or not you are able to do #’s 1 or 2, try to set up FaceTime and Skype meetings with POI’s whenever possible. This is a helpful solution to issues of time, cost, and distance for travel to a program, and it helps both you and your POI get a basic snapshot of what each other will bring to the table as scholars and individuals.

I hope these help!

In my world, I am very interested to hear about any movement concerning the Bible faculty at BC and the Middle Eastern Studies faculty at the University of Michigan. Anyone have any insight?

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FYI, Notre Dame letters are going out today and possibly some in the couple of days that follow. Some friends have gotten letters from CJA and HC. I have no idea about Liturgy, ST, MT, or WRWC.

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46 minutes ago, KA.DINGER.RA said:

FYI, Notre Dame letters are going out today and possibly some in the couple of days that follow. Some friends have gotten letters from CJA and HC. I have no idea about Liturgy, ST, MT, or WRWC.

Physical letters? Does this mean I have to start checking my mailbox? I typically only do that like 0.5 times a semester lol.

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19 minutes ago, anonymoususername said:

Physical letters? Does this mean I have to start checking my mailbox? I typically only do that like 0.5 times a semester lol.

Apologies. "Letters." Emails are going out today for some. It occasionally happens over 2, SOMETIMES 3 days.

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13 minutes ago, KA.DINGER.RA said:

Apologies. "Letters." Emails are going out today for some. It occasionally happens over 2, SOMETIMES 3 days.

Are all the people who have heard so far internal applicants? 

If memory serves from last year (and it may not or things may have changed–just look at how many schools were responding by snail mail a few years ago), the reporting process for internal and external candidates is different. I think that internal candidates get an email more directly and external candidates are processed through a system at the graduate school that takes more time.

Again, I may very well be wrong.

What's certain is that not having an invitation this morning doesn't mean that one will not come.  

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