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2019 MDiv MTS MA Applications

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14 hours ago, xypathos said:

What are you wavering on? They're both great schools (obviously).

Harvard gave me more money, but I think the New Testament faculty at Yale might be better suited to my interests. I don't know how much that matters at the masters level, though. 

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On 3/29/2019 at 12:53 PM, JHubbs said:

Harvard gave me more money, but I think the New Testament faculty at Yale might be better suited to my interests. I don't know how much that matters at the masters level, though. 

What are your career goals? Do you have aspirations of getting into a doctoral program?

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9 hours ago, exegete said:

What are your career goals? Do you have aspirations of getting into a doctoral program?

I do! I hope to be applying out for doctoral programs the fall semester of my second year in either degree, so developing faculty relationships is a huge priority for me. 

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Hi @JHubbs,

 

Harvard’s top NT faculty just left for Yale, so to me the decision seems pretty clear. Also, Yale MAR students in New Testament pretty regularly run the table on admission to top PhD programs. Some of that may be changing with recent faculty retirements, but it looks like they’ve already made a great replacement hire for Attridge.

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9 hours ago, JHubbs said:

I do! I hope to be applying out for doctoral programs the fall semester of my second year in either degree, so developing faculty relationships is a huge priority for me. 

Then I would strongly advise choosing Yale, if you can make it work financially. I am personally aware of multiple people getting into good NT doctoral programs with a YDS master’s both this year and last year. YDS has a really good track record for that. And with Laura Nasrallah moving from Harvard to Yale, the NT department at Yale is getting strengthened just that much more.

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Hello, all! So I'm new to forum and am planning on applying for admission to divinity school in the fall for Fall of 2020. I'm reaching out to see what your experiences throughout the admission process were like.

I'm only 23 and in my second year in professional life. I work in undergraduate admission. I have a pretty average undergraduate GPA but a quite expansive resume. I'm looking at YDS, Duke, Emory, SMU, Union, Wake Forest, and Iliff, specifically. I've considered Vandy and Princeton, and maybe HDS.

I don't really have any resources to have the conversation with anyone near me so I'm hoping you guys can be of some support and offer advice, and stories. I've read through a lot of the spread already. Thanks, y'all! (I'm an Episcopalian from Louisiana, by the way). 

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Welcome @TreyDavis! I'm glad to answer whatever questions you may have, as countless others will be too!

That's quite the spread of schools! Different geographical areas, denominations, academic specialties, etc. What are you looking for out of a school and where do you see yourself, if you could put yourself there?

North Carolina is home for me so I can speak to WFU and Duke from multiple perspectives, inside and outside their halls.

Considering that you're an Episcopalian and a solid episcopal seminary isn't on the list (YDS has BDS, I know but slightly different beast), what are you aspirations? 

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1 hour ago, xypathos said:

Welcome @TreyDavis! I'm glad to answer whatever questions you may have, as countless others will be too!

That's quite the spread of schools! Different geographical areas, denominations, academic specialties, etc. What are you looking for out of a school and where do you see yourself, if you could put yourself there?

North Carolina is home for me so I can speak to WFU and Duke from multiple perspectives, inside and outside their halls.

Considering that you're an Episcopalian and a solid episcopal seminary isn't on the list (YDS has BDS, I know but slightly different beast), what are you aspirations? 

Funnily enough, my priest and I decided that divinity school may be the better option because there are so many other things I want to do outside of just being a rector of a parish. So many Episcopal seminaries are filled with students going into the priesthood as a second or third career oftentimes. I grew up with a very ecumenical background, so we decided div school with a certificate or concentration in Anglican/Episcopal studies was the best route.

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Hey, has anyone had or heard of someone who has had success in getting more money from one of the Ivies? Because of Yale's strong NT program, I've asked them for more money (Harvard gave me full ride + stipend). They basically said they couldn't do anything right away, but would get back to me after the 15th. Does this bode well? Poorly? 

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36 minutes ago, JHubbs said:

Hey, has anyone had or heard of someone who has had success in getting more money from one of the Ivies? Because of Yale's strong NT program, I've asked them for more money (Harvard gave me full ride + stipend). They basically said they couldn't do anything right away, but would get back to me after the 15th. Does this bode well? Poorly? 

They're waiting to see: 1) if any of their big offers go elsewhere or 2) if they have enough scholarship/endowment funds leftover to bother with another redistribution to those that accepted. #1 happens so sometimes their stipend offers go to a secondary candidate. While I was at YDS we never let the runner up candidates know that they're on a list for boost to funding. Too many broken hearts :( #2 almost never happens. It's far more likely that they'll bank the funds to earn a little extra $ over the school year. The argument is usually that runner ups didn't wow them enough on the first pass so it's unlikely that anything has changed. So, they'd rather save the money for next year on the off chance that they want to extend an additional 100% + $ offer to a candidate.

TL;DR - I think it's unlikely that they'll increase your offer.

Edited by xypathos

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 Sorry for all the questions today, but here's another for anyone willing to answer: I'm deciding between a fully funded and stipeneded MTS at Harvard and an 80% funded MAR at Yale. Because I have a working spouse, Yale is affordable without loans. I'm hoping to move on to doctoral study in New Testament and Christianity after my masters. Though Yale has a better NT faculty, I keep hearing about the Boston Theological Institute from folks at Harvard, and the opportunity to work with great NT scholars outside of Harvard (like the faculty at Boston College). Does anyone with experience of HDS know if the BTI should factor in to my decision heavily? Yale itself has a better NT faculty,  but Harvard + all of Boston seems like it could even it out.  

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3 hours ago, xypathos said:

They're waiting to see: 1) if any of their big offers go elsewhere or 2) if they have enough scholarship/endowment funds leftover to bother with another redistribution to those that accepted. #1 happens so sometimes their stipend offers go to a secondary candidate. While I was at YDS we never let the runner up candidates know that they're on a list for boost to funding. Too many broken hearts :( #2 almost never happens. It's far more likely that they'll bank the funds to earn a little extra $ over the school year. The argument is usually that runner ups didn't wow them enough on the first pass so it's unlikely that anything has changed. So, they'd rather save the money for next year on the off chance that they want to extend an additional 100% + $ offer to a candidate.

TL;DR - I think it's unlikely that they'll increase your offer.

Thanks for the scoop! 

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From an affordability level New Haven, is much cheaper to both live and navigate than Boston. I actually prefer New Haven over Boston, especially if you are going to have to live, say 30-40 minutes away. At YDS, it’s very conceivable that you might be just blocks away from the school ....

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13 hours ago, JHubbs said:

 Sorry for all the questions today, but here's another for anyone willing to answer: I'm deciding between a fully funded and stipeneded MTS at Harvard and an 80% funded MAR at Yale. Because I have a working spouse, Yale is affordable without loans. I'm hoping to move on to doctoral study in New Testament and Christianity after my masters. Though Yale has a better NT faculty, I keep hearing about the Boston Theological Institute from folks at Harvard, and the opportunity to work with great NT scholars outside of Harvard (like the faculty at Boston College). Does anyone with experience of HDS know if the BTI should factor in to my decision heavily? Yale itself has a better NT faculty,  but Harvard + all of Boston seems like it could even it out.  

As a current BU PhD student, I love Boston and take advantage of BTI extensively. I also know that HDS students don’t take advantage of BTI as much as BC and BU do, since we often take language courses at Harvard that aren’t offered elsewhere (especially Coptic). Through BTI, you can definitely take advantage of scholars like David Frankfurter at BU or people at BC. However, it’s worth considering the difficulty of getting from Harvard to the other side of the river (there’s no direct train and the buses are hit or miss) and the time it takes (I loose about 45 minutes to an hour in the commute between Harvard and BU). That being said, Yale is the place to go for New Testament, especially after they hired Laura Nasrallah away from Harvard and I hear rumors that they want to continue to build their department. Yale also might look more favorably on accepting PHD from their masters program, I’m not sure, but it’s worth considering Since you are only considering a masters at HDS, they still have great scholars, including Karen King, but I’d advise against considering Harvard for a PhD because a lot of their faculty are on the older side. There’s also definitely a difference of attitude and culture between YDS and HDS which is worth considering. If your working spouse can get a job in either city, rent in New Haven will be significantly cheaper than Boston and Cambridge. I think at the end of the day, you should look at the list of faculty at both school and see who is more interested in the fields you are.

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17 hours ago, JHubbs said:

Because I have a working spouse, Yale is affordable without loans.

Since you can make Yale work financially, I would say there’s no reason to go elsewhere. I know Harvard’s financial offer is alluring, but I’m fairly confident Yale will set you up best for doctoral studies.

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Hey guys, tying it back in to @JHubbs financial question earlier, I requested extra funding from Duke University and heard back yesterday that they're giving it to me! Pretty awesome! That means I'll be headed there this Fall! You never know what might happen when you just ask. :)

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1 hour ago, PBenjy said:

Hey guys, tying it back in to @JHubbs financial question earlier, I requested extra funding from Duke University and heard back yesterday that they're giving it to me! Pretty awesome! That means I'll be headed there this Fall! You never know what might happen when you just ask. :)

That's great! How much more (percent wise) did they give you? 

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41 minutes ago, JHubbs said:

That's great! How much more (percent wise) did they give you? 

25% more, so it's just 50% now! It was what I was asking for. Now I'm wondering if I should have asked for more, ha! 🤔

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A bit off-topic, but recently saw the QS rankings come out for Theology and Religion and am curious.

How much of it is actually reliable (ie is it a fairly respected ranking in the field to go off of in terms of how prestige/quality is viewed), and relevant (at the M* level? Or is it more relevant at the PhD level)? 

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PhD only, really. Your focus shouldn't be on publications at the M* level, you just simply don't enough to make meaningful contributions to the field.

As a general rule, if you want to go onto a PhD you should get your M* at a school that grants PhDs. Odds are their faculty are well connected enough to know a strong student when they see one, their LORs mean something, etc, etc etc.

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Maybe this is too specific, but are increases in funding related to how much they initially give you? For example, are they more likely to up an admit with 25% funding to 50% rather than an admit with 75% funding to ~100%? I've heard that 100% scholarships are usually only given to URM candidates (though I still think it's weird that Jews aren't counted as a minority...), which is why I ask.

Also, if anyone could speak to means for obtaining free housing/more money at HDS/YDS (even in the second year/second semester), like being an RA or a TA or something, I would extremely appreciate it. 

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Re: Funding - more or less, yes. Going from 25 to 50% is certainly doable. 50 to 75 is rarer. I don't know of anyone that swung an increase to 100 (entirely from institutional aid) but I'm sure they're out there. Every school has different requirements for what qualifies for their 100% aid but generally they go to URMs. As you noted, being Jewish on its own isn't enough to qualify for most institutes.

I've had some friends find success working as RAs (Research Assistants) at YDS. Some faculty openly announce they're looking for someone and some privately ask their favorite students. So either way, just make it known you'd be willing to do scut work and maybe someone will extend you an offer. It's usually not glamorous work: translating some basic French or German sources, identifying potential sources for them and writing up abstracts, etc. If they're nice they'll acknowledge you in the acknowledgements. If you were the professor I did this for at VDS, your initials get buried in an endnote. I promise I'm still not bitter!

Occasionally a church offers housing in exchange for service: maybe working as a formation leader, children's ministry, seminarian in residence, etc. These positions go fast and gather a lot of applicants. Also, they tend to get advertised at BU first, given the reputation that people don't go to HDS for traditional ministry.

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I got into Missouri State University's Master's program in Religious Studies. How is it in terms of reputation? I guess this is my only option, but I would like to know where it stands and whether it would be helpful for me to pursue doctorate degree in the future.

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11 minutes ago, FrigidSky701 said:

I got into Missouri State University's Master's program in Religious Studies. How is it in terms of reputation? I guess this is my only option, but I would like to know where it stands and whether it would be helpful for me to pursue doctorate degree in the future.

It's such a small cohort that I can't really say much in terms of reputation. That said, I've met MSU alums at probably every conference I've attended. They've mostly ended up at state schools but I know current alums at Iowa and Indiana. I've also met alums that went onto Drew and Iliff, and a spattering that used their MA and BA to go onto doc programs in Poli Sci, Psych, and Socio - with a research focus on religion.

People have seemed happy there and spoke highly of the experience! Will you get a chance to visit and do you know of funding yet?

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1 hour ago, xypathos said:

It's such a small cohort that I can't really say much in terms of reputation. That said, I've met MSU alums at probably every conference I've attended. They've mostly ended up at state schools but I know current alums at Iowa and Indiana. I've also met alums that went onto Drew and Iliff, and a spattering that used their MA and BA to go onto doc programs in Poli Sci, Psych, and Socio - with a research focus on religion.

People have seemed happy there and spoke highly of the experience! Will you get a chance to visit and do you know of funding yet?

I probably won't get a chance to visit because I am currently not in the States, and as for funding I think I can get about 30% of the tuition. I would love to visit actually. I may ask them if I can.

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