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MonkeyMagic

PhD Applications Fall 2019 Season

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Our PhD application deadlines are fast approaching now. I think it is time to start a new thread for this year's application cycle. Where are you applying and in what field (and even perhaps your research interests)?

I'm applying for PhD programs in Hebrew Bible, and this year is my third attempt...Currently, I'm considering applying to: Brandeis, Brown, Chicago, Emory, NYU, and Yale. I may add some schools while finalizing the list. My research interest is basically the composition of the HB against its wider ANE context. 

Looking forward to hearing from you. Best of luck to y'all!

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On 9/11/2018 at 10:52 AM, MonkeyMagic said:

Our PhD application deadlines are fast approaching now. I think it is time to start a new thread for this year's application cycle. Where are you applying and in what field (and even perhaps your research interests)?

I'm applying for PhD programs in Hebrew Bible, and this year is my third attempt...Currently, I'm considering applying to: Brandeis, Brown, Chicago, Emory, NYU, and Yale. I may add some schools while finalizing the list. My research interest is basically the composition of the HB against its wider ANE context. 

Looking forward to hearing from you. Best of luck to y'all!

Sounds like a good list! You should throw Notre Dame on there as well!

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Hi - I’m also applying to HB PhD programs. This is my first attempt and am applying to Yale, UNC, Emory, and Princeton. I have some other schools on the list, but need to do some more research.Good luck to everyone!

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Looking at programs related to history of early Christianity, especially in terms of Christianity in its Hellenistic context, pagan-Christian interactions, Gnosticism, Coptic Christianity...

Most interested in U. Chicago and Princeton so far, but also looking at U. Texas, UC Berkeley, Yale. If anyone has helpful suggestions for those programs or other programs I might be interested in, I'd greatly appreciate them.

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I am applying to Theology or Philosophy of religion.

I am currently working on my Master degree in Theological Studies at Vanderbilt. I am applying at NYU, Emory, Fuller, Princeton, Harvard, Emory, and I am thinking of Duke as well. I am also going to take the GRE test during the next two weeks. Hopefully, I will do well. 

What do you think the good GRE score? And the good GPA for a Ph.D.?

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On 9/21/2018 at 11:31 PM, Pizzas of Eight said:

Looking at programs related to history of early Christianity, especially in terms of Christianity in its Hellenistic context, pagan-Christian interactions, Gnosticism, Coptic Christianity...

Most interested in U. Chicago and Princeton so far, but also looking at UT. Texas, UC Berkeley, Yale. If anyone has helpful suggestions for those programs or other programs I might be interested in, I'd greatly appreciate them.

UT or Princeton probably matches your interests the best. Between Luijendijk and Pagels at Princeton, all of your interests are matched. UT has Geoff Smith whose Coptological work is impressive, and I've heard he is very easy to get along with (this goes an unbelievably long way in a student's overall enjoyment of a program). Add to Smith's expertise in papyrology and Coptology, Friesen's interests in Asia Minor and Revelation and White's work in mystery cults and you've got one of the strongest (maybe THE strongest) program for someone wanting to study early Christianity in its Hellenistic context. I have heard that White is nearing retirement. I don't know specifics, but it is a rumor that started floating around recently--it might be worth e-mailing current students there to see if there's any truth to it. Yale is still undergoing its transition. Attridge is as a matter of fact retiring and would likely not be available to incoming students to work with--he is set to retire at the end of the academic year and will remain available for 3 semester's per the University's policy. There's a podcast around that details these plans. You would still have Sterling, but I have heard he is more or less strapped to his job as the dean of Yale's divinity school. Their last two NT hires (Dinkler and Lin) have done little to make the program attractive to people with your interests. Stephen Davis is tremendous and his work is stellar, but his interests are in Shenoute, which might align with what you like within Coptic Christianity, but Attridge is the one who teaches the Nag Hammadi corpus every other year, which seems more in step with what you do. Doerfler also doesn't align with your stated interests. 

Unless Yale is a must apply for some reason, I'd put that application money towards Harvard. You'd have Bazzana, King, and Nasrallah who all in some way fit your interests. Be sure to look into UNC. Ehrman and Plese can certainly oversee a dissertation in your stated interests, and Magness adds an additional component to the program that would enrich your time there considerably. Fordham has Fiano who is highly regarded in both Syriac and Coptic studies. There is also Peppard and Larry Welborne who do Greco-Roman backgrounds to early Christianity. If you do look into applying, you'd need to look at Arts and Sciences and not through Theology for the doctoral program in early Christianity.  Maybe Notre Dame? I think much like Yale, they are in the awkward years of trying to recover from retirements and whatnot. Fitzgerald is tremendous if you are wanting to do Hellenistic moral philosophy in early Christianity. BUT the rest of their Christianity and Judaism faculty are irrelevant for your interests. Amar retired a few years ago, and they have had his Syriac classes covered by a visiting instructor (not unusual, but also not great practice). Personally, I was keen on ND when I applied and my interests are in 2nd and 3rd century Christianities, but I ended up elsewhere. It wasn't a good fit for me, but maybe it is for you. 

I wish there were more programs that align with your interests. Most programs are ultimately theological in orientation, so Greco-Roman backgrounds and Coptology gets sidelined by the token Gospels and Paul scholars. Those programs might have some type of module or something occasionally to fill gaps for their students, but no one is there to oversee a dissertation on Nag Hammadi or Hellenistic influences on early Christianity. With your interests, I would seriously avoid settling for places that would require me to do something within the NT, not out of formal restrictions within the program, but on account of the lack of faculty with those competencies. On the other hand, if your interests are more general than the above description you give, then the places you could apply lengthens dramatically. 

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On 9/21/2018 at 10:31 PM, Pizzas of Eight said:

Looking at programs related to history of early Christianity, especially in terms of Christianity in its Hellenistic context, pagan-Christian interactions, Gnosticism, Coptic Christianity...

Most interested in U. Chicago and Princeton so far, but also looking at U. Texas, UC Berkeley, Yale. If anyone has helpful suggestions for those programs or other programs I might be interested in, I'd greatly appreciate them.

I'm going to second the recommendation to look into UNC. I took seminars at UNC while I was at Duke and they were great. 

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On 9/23/2018 at 8:53 PM, Onthenahar said:

UT or Princeton probably matches your interests the best. ...

Thank you so much for your detailed reply! My general lack of awareness comes from still being an undergraduate.

After writing this post and looking around online more I got more enthusiastic about Princeton for Luijendijk and Pagels, though I worry that Pagels will retire soon. A professor I have had mentioned U. of Texas, and you've made me more confident about applying there. I was iffy about Yale in the first place; thanks for dissuading me. I looked at Harvard and agree that there are more people relevant to my interests there. Do you know if Harvard's Master of Divinity program would be appropriate for a person like me? Their website made it seem as if it's meant for ministers-in-training. I'll be looking at UNC and the other schools that you mentioned.

From my layman's knowledge, I agree with you about the focus being heavily on New Testament; I would add that a lot of energy seems to be spent on late-antique Christianity, but like you I'm more interested in Christianity from its origins up to fourth century, and even then not so much on theology. I've been looking at history and classics programs as well, but I haven't found much. Thanks again for your help.

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14 hours ago, Pizzas of Eight said:

Do you know if Harvard's Master of Divinity program would be appropriate for a person like me? Their website made it seem as if it's meant for ministers-in-training.

You may want to look into Harvard Div's MTS. It's a year shorter and specifically aimed for those who are considering further academic study.

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On 9/25/2018 at 6:06 PM, Kuriakos said:

I'm going to second the recommendation to look into UNC. I took seminars at UNC while I was at Duke and they were great. 

Keep in mind that Ehrman is on a 2 year sabbatical and likely retiring soon. Might be good to ask him how open he'd be to advising students in the coming years.

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Hey guys,

I am only applying to one PhD program this cycle, Brown University in the RAM track. I am particularly interested in Late Antique Christianity, especially Syriac studies. Would anyone be interested in an SOP swap?

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On 10/6/2018 at 7:49 AM, Pierre de Olivi said:

Hey guys,

I am only applying to one PhD program this cycle, Brown University in the RAM track. I am particularly interested in Late Antique Christianity, especially Syriac studies. Would anyone be interested in an SOP swap?

I am also interested in swapping SOP. PM me if you would like to swap. NT track 

Edited by Simbbo

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I'm surprised this thread isn't popping off more at this point. I was a giant, shaking ball of neuroses at this point last year.

 

Kudos to y'all for keeping your cool!

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4 hours ago, KA.DINGER.RA said:

I'm surprised this thread isn't popping off more at this point. I was a giant, shaking ball of neuroses at this point last year.

 

Kudos to y'all for keeping your cool!

Is this a sign that not many are applying for PhD this year?

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3 hours ago, Honolala said:

Is this a sign that not many are applying for PhD this year?

Absolutely not. Only a fraction of people in our discipline, or any discipline for that matter, use GradCafe. Based off years I applied, I think there were only a couple of people applying to some of the schools I did, but I know there were upwards of 100 applications to each place. There is little correlation between here and actual numbers. Also, most people here apply to top places, aka, all the same schools. There will always be a ton of applicants at the top schools. 

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4 hours ago, Honolala said:

Is this a sign that not many are applying for PhD this year?

Honestly, the year I applied there was so much anxiety and misinformation floating around GradCafe that it seems to have become common wisdom in my circles that you should stay off the site while you're applying. Not sure how widespread that sentiment is, but it could account for less activity among the same number of applicants.

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13 minutes ago, notpartofyoursystem said:

Honestly, the year I applied there was so much anxiety and misinformation floating around GradCafe that it seems to have become common wisdom in my circles that you should stay off the site while you're applying. Not sure how widespread that sentiment is, but it could account for less activity among the same number of applicants.

It's been pretty widespread for a while I think. I remember people saying the same thing on this forum back in the 2012 application cycle.

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In the past two years I've been here, everyone usually comes around to post as soon as February/March comes around. People are usually in a scramble inquiring if others got interviews/acceptances/rejections. 

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BTW, I've noticed that GradCafe folks have a disproportionately high acceptance rate to the most prestigious and coveted programs.  Is this simply because Grad Café is mostly frequented by "gunners" and overly-zealous students, or because it's not nearly as hard as the numbers suggest to get in to top shelf programs (if you have decent "stats")?  I have always harbored an optimist's hope that at least 3/4 of applications received by TT programs are from people with 3.4 GPAs and 157V/145Q/3.5AW who are really really hoping that this is "their year," and that by comparison my plausible but non-redonkulous numbers will have a relative glimmer...

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I think it's more a matter of self selection than anything. Both because there are many zealous folks, and because those of us who haven't been admitted are less inclined to post.  

I submitted six applications last year. I have 168V/164Q/4.5AW, 3.7GPA BA from regional liberal arts school and 3.7 M.Div. from TT seminary and strong recommendations. I did not receive any offers or interviews.  

I am applying again this year, and I hope for different results. I retook the GRE in hopes of bumping up my writing score and I have been honing my personal statement and my writing sample.  

I've been out of school and serving in parish ministry for 6 years, so that's a bit different too.  

It really is a crap shoot. Best of luck to you!  

 

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2 hours ago, EarlyXianity said:

I think it's more a matter of self selection than anything. Both because there are many zealous folks, and because those of us who haven't been admitted are less inclined to post.  

I submitted six applications last year. I have 168V/164Q/4.5AW, 3.7GPA BA from regional liberal arts school and 3.7 M.Div. from TT seminary and strong recommendations. I did not receive any offers or interviews.  

I am applying again this year, and I hope for different results. I retook the GRE in hopes of bumping up my writing score and I have been honing my personal statement and my writing sample.  

I've been out of school and serving in parish ministry for 6 years, so that's a bit different too.  

It really is a crap shoot. Best of luck to you!  

 

How is your language prep?  Do you have German/French/Latin/Greek?  If not, that could have been the issue (especially with GRE and GPA like yours).

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1 hour ago, rejectedndejected said:

How is your language prep?  Do you have German/French/Latin/Greek?  If not, that could have been the issue (especially with GRE and GPA like yours).

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.

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