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2019 MDiv MTS MA Applications


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Out of curiosity over reading the HDS financial aid offers — how do they determine need-based aid %? Is it if you qualify for need-based, and then how much you get is merit? Or is the amount determined completely need-based?

Also, are y’all counting the loans as part of the aid, or just the pure money/institutional grants?

not sure if it’s just me or a self-selecting bias — but I had initially heard HDS was among the most generous of MA programs, so wasn’t expecting the other programs I was applying to offer me more than them. Perhaps just a more competitive or down year, endowment-wise? 

Edited by tqrgx341
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Nearly got a heart attack seeing the notification. I got in!!! 😭

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

Back in 2014 when I applied I think decisions were posted mid-day but emails about decisions getting posted didn't go out until 5 PM EST. I found my decision by hitting the Refresh button every 30 sec

5 hours ago, muse2019 said:

Maybe this question warrants a separate thread, but is YDS a decent environment for someone who doesn't (yet) follow any faith traditions? The impression I get is that between HDS and YDS, HDS holds more space for "nones" and YDS is more heavily ecumenical, but I could be off. 

I got 100% tuition at Yale, Union, and UChicago, and 0 at Harvard. Because of this, I'm pretty close to crossing Harvard off the list entirely, but I'm still thinking over whether it might be worth asking for more money. Right now, I'm leaning heavily towards Union for its location and religious diversity, but also strongly considering YDS.

I'm MDiv, by the way.

What are your hope(s) for work/life after school? It depends on what you want to do too. There are a handful of Nones and religious but non-Christian at YDS but it is still a largely Christian school. Union is still largely Presbyterian and UCC but a sizeable number of students use Union's connections and locations to get into activism and non-profit work on the national and international circuit rather than traditional ministry.

I'd drop HDS from the list too.

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5 hours ago, tqrgx341 said:

Out of curiosity over reading the HDS financial aid offers — how do they determine need-based aid %? Is it if you qualify for need-based, and then how much you get is merit? Or is the amount determined completely need-based?

Also, are y’all counting the loans as part of the aid, or just the pure money/institutional grants?

not sure if it’s just me or a self-selecting bias — but I had initially heard HDS was among the most generous of MA programs, so wasn’t expecting the other programs I was applying to offer me more than them. Perhaps just a more competitive or down year, endowment-wise? 

All of the schools generally extend their most generous offers for MDiv students. Most of the top schools were started for the education of clergy and that's an identity that they still take nominally serious. Most of their MDiv graduates will go onto relatively low paying jobs but community development and social work related, which the school indirectly benefits from. So, it's free marketing for them. Their MTS graduates that go onto PhD studies will likely attend a funded school and live a reasonably more comfortable life. So while those that show significant promise will be "taken care of," that isn't always extended to everyone else because there isn't as much of a benefit to the school.

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3 hours ago, xypathos said:

What are your hope(s) for work/life after school? It depends on what you want to do too. There are a handful of Nones and religious but non-Christian at YDS but it is still a largely Christian school. Union is still largely Presbyterian and UCC but a sizeable number of students use Union's connections and locations to get into activism and non-profit work on the national and international circuit rather than traditional ministry.

I'd drop HDS from the list too.

I definitely see myself taking the activism/nonprofit work route (though I'm not ruling out the possibility of ultimately pursuing traditional ministry), so this is super helpful!!! Thank you!

I think Union might be it, especially since I'm really into writing/making theatre and want to include that in my future work in some capacity. No place better than NYC.

Edited by muse2019
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20 hours ago, tqrgx341 said:

Out of curiosity over reading the HDS financial aid offers — how do they determine need-based aid %? Is it if you qualify for need-based, and then how much you get is merit? Or is the amount determined completely need-based?

Also, are y’all counting the loans as part of the aid, or just the pure money/institutional grants?

not sure if it’s just me or a self-selecting bias — but I had initially heard HDS was among the most generous of MA programs, so wasn’t expecting the other programs I was applying to offer me more than them. Perhaps just a more competitive or down year, endowment-wise? 

I asked the Financial Aid office at HDS a similar question about how financial aid is determined. What they told me was that:

"HDS has two aid programs: merit and need-based. Merit aid recipients are selected by the admissions committee on the strength of their application.  HDS offers merit to about 20% of the admitted class and those awards include a full tuition scholarship and a stipend ranging from $8,000 to $10,000 to help with living expenses. For students who are not offered merit, we have a need-based program which most of our students qualify for. Need-based scholarships for the 18-19 academic year range from a half-tuition scholarship to a full-tuition scholarship."

Not sure if this fully answers your question, but I hope it helps! 

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I wonder how long I may have to wait until I get notified of Virginia's MA program. I am also waiting for post-bacc program in Classics for UPenn, but getting into MA program will be fascinating. Should I give about a month until I hear back from UVA?

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3 hours ago, FrigidSky701 said:

I wonder how long I may have to wait until I get notified of Virginia's MA program. I am also waiting for post-bacc program in Classics for UPenn, but getting into MA program will be fascinating. Should I give about a month until I hear back from UVA?

I was put on the wait-list for the PhD about a month ago and haven't heard anything since then.

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Muse2019, as a current student at YDS, I can assure you that YDS is a great fit for “nones.” When I visited as a prospective student I was surprised at the diversity of the religious community, and (frankly) that visit won me over. I’d definitely recommend coming to admitted students day to get a feel for the atmosphere. @muse2019

Edited by FearNTrembling
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Hey everyone,

I don't know if it would be better to create a whole thread for this, but does anybody know how relationships between concentrated MAR students at YDS and professors in the religious studies department at Yale tend to be? That is, are there a lot of opportunities to take classes in religious studies and are faculty in that department generally willing to work with YDS students? Or is the divide relatively rigid?

Edited by Pierre de Olivi
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2 hours ago, Pierre de Olivi said:

Hey everyone,

I don't know if it would be better to create a whole thread for this, but does anybody know how relationships between concentrated MAR students at YDS and professors in the religious studies department at Yale tend to be? That is, are there a lot of opportunities to take classes in religious studies and are faculty in that department generally willing to work with YDS students? Or is the divide relatively rigid?

I've been exploring this too as I'm considering both schools. My impression is they are very integrated; the Div schools are the university's way of granting Masters degree in religion. Notice how neither institution has a standalone MA in Religion that's only granted through the Religious Studies department. They share faculty almost entirely--it's just a matter of the M* being granted through the Div school, the PhD through Religious Studies department. 

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7 hours ago, Pierre de Olivi said:

Hey everyone,

I don't know if it would be better to create a whole thread for this, but does anybody know how relationships between concentrated MAR students at YDS and professors in the religious studies department at Yale tend to be? That is, are there a lot of opportunities to take classes in religious studies and are faculty in that department generally willing to work with YDS students? Or is the divide relatively rigid?

As a YDS student at least 50% of that term's courses must be YDS courses. Students are encouraged to take courses in other Yale schools and departments, provided they meet your course of study and/or vocational goals. While I was there you only needed the course instructor's permission. There was talk of also adding your advisor's permission but I don't know where that is.

After taking four courses in the same department or school you'll trigger a Professional Studies Committee review. For the vast majority of students you won't need to worry about this, outside of the standard PSC review you'll have as a divinity student that is a mere formality. In the case of a PSC review because of a student taking a lot of courses over in Religion or say Forestry, the committee will decide if the courses you're taking are relevant to your degree and vocational interests. They have the right to block further courses outside of YDS or even "encourage" that you change degrees but this card is rarely played.

On a subjective level: MDiv and MTS students are generally welcomed into RS courses. It depends but the vast majority of faculty will NOT lower requirements or expectations, and they WILL tell you that you're not cutting it and should return to the YDS and focus your energies there. If a professor is taking the time to remind you that the Add/Drop deadline is approaching, read between the lines with what they're telling you. Like a lot of faculty in Religious Studies, they have their own religious beliefs and opinions, and they're also interested in their students outside the classroom. Seize every opportunity to grab coffee with them or chat about the real world. They'll probably ask you some probing questions to size you up and see how deeply you've thought about things. Like anyone else, they're testing the waters before they open up to you and connect on a personal level.

Advanced Yale undergraduates in your courses (it'll happen but it's rare'ish) may have a negative opinion of YDS students, FYI. They know full well that the admissions rate for M* students is drastically higher than theirs and by their standard, you didn't earn your spot. Largely ignore the assholes but most of them are super chill.

Edited by xypathos
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@xypathos Lol....indeed. Nothing short of being an undergrad graduate at Yale is held in their belief as being a true Yalie. I knew folks who received both a JD and PhD in law at Yale (arguably more difficult than the admission rate of 5-6 percent for undergrads) who were still questioned whether they were true Yalies.....such utter pretentious nonsense.

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I did not get into the Oxford program, even though I thought I had a chance! I will likely be going to the Duke MTS. Has anyone done this program? I know this is something that I could ask the university itself, but do they do summer semesters there for MTS students? I'm wondering if I could finish the degree in less than 2 years.

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2 hours ago, PBenjy said:

I did not get into the Oxford program, even though I thought I had a chance! I will likely be going to the Duke MTS. Has anyone done this program? I know this is something that I could ask the university itself, but do they do summer semesters there for MTS students? I'm wondering if I could finish the degree in less than 2 years.

Sorry to hear about Oxford, that's a bummer. I haven't been a student at Duke but have been to the campus and am friends with MTS and MDiv graduates. I can speak limitedly about the culture at the Div School and the public problems that the school has faced, most of which you can google.

I've never known Duke Divinity to offer summer courses. They have a list of summer courses but its for ordained clergy to brush up on their skills and knowledge. The website says course credit is not permissible. You *might* be able to get an independent study approved and do it over the summer but I don't know. You need permission to take 5 courses a semester and even if you got it every semester, I don't see you being able to knock a semester off that way.

It'd be a lot of hurdles but you could inquire about doing summer courses at another divinity school and transferring them in.

Edited by xypathos
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29 minutes ago, xypathos said:

Sorry to hear about Oxford, that's a bummer. I haven't been a student at Duke but have been to the campus and am friends with MTS and MDiv graduates. I can speak limitedly about the culture at the Div School and the public problems that the school has faced, most of which you can google.

 I've never known Duke Divinity to offer summer courses. They have a list of summer courses but its for ordained clergy to brush up on their skills and knowledge. The website says course credit is not permissible. You *might* be able to get an independent study approved and do it over the summer but I don't know. You need permission to take 5 courses a semester and even if you got it every semester, I don't see you being able to knock a semester off that way.

 It'd be a lot of hurdles but you could inquire about doing summer courses at another divinity school and transferring them in.

Thank you for the advice and help! Much appreciated!

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Hey guys, I'm back on here again... I emailed Duke to see if I could get any more funding (beyond the 25% tuition they are already giving me), and I received an encouraging email from the Director of Admissions. However, I'm pretty sure it was a copy-and-paste response. Basically,  he said that it's certainly possible for Duke to give me more funding (both before and after enrollment), but they can't make any promises right now. He also said that he could delay my acceptance of Duke's offer another month to the end of April, so that I have more time to consider my options. His answer is very cryptic though. Is there actually a likelihood that they could increase my aid amount, or not? He said, "Should an opportunity [for more money] develop prior to enrollment, I will be proactive in reaching out." 

I could just accept his offer to extend the deadline, of course, but I need to start making plans to move soon, if Duke is really where I'll end up! I don't want to pester him, but should I ask if there is a more formal way of making a petition?

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Just now, PBenjy said:

Hey guys, I'm back on here again... I emailed Duke to see if I could get any more funding (beyond the 25% tuition they are already giving me), and I received an encouraging email from the Director of Admissions. However, I'm pretty sure it was a copy-and-paste response. Basically,  he said that it's certainly possible for Duke to give me more funding (both before and after enrollment), but they can't make any promises right now. He also said that he could delay my acceptance of Duke's offer another month to the end of April, so that I have more time to consider my options. His answer is very cryptic though. Is there actually a likelihood that they could increase my aid amount, or not? He said, "Should an opportunity [for more money] develop prior to enrollment, I will be proactive in reaching out." 

I could just accept his offer to extend the deadline, of course, but I need to start making plans to move soon, if Duke is really where I'll end up! I don't want to pester him, but should I ask if there is a more formal way of making a petition?

You've pretty much exhausted your options, as far as funding from official school sources. I'd take the Director at his word that they'll be proactive if more funding opens up. If you want to extend the deadline by a month and that's helpful for you, go for it!

Once you accept an offer you're also accepting the financial aid offer that comes with it. So, they're under no real incentive to increase an offer after you accept. Now, don't read that as they won't increase the offer if you accept now - there's no way that you, i, or even him know that yet. Maybe he does know that he won't increase the offer but I know Todd and he's a super x100 nice guy so I know he wouldn't lie about this.

There are some steps you can take to minimize costs too, when available. For example, I know Duke Divinity has a Friendship House where you have your own bedroom and bathroom. I was involved in the same project that opened up at VDS. We had a couple of married and cohabiting couples that lived together. My rent by agreeing to live there went from about $900/month to $350 and I lived there with my partner. I don't know about Duke's policy with married/cohabiting couples but I bring it up since you have a second party in your profile pic.

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24 minutes ago, xypathos said:

You've pretty much exhausted your options, as far as funding from official school sources. I'd take the Director at his word that they'll be proactive if more funding opens up. If you want to extend the deadline by a month and that's helpful for you, go for it!

Once you accept an offer you're also accepting the financial aid offer that comes with it. So, they're under no real incentive to increase an offer after you accept. Now, don't read that as they won't increase the offer if you accept now - there's no way that you, i, or even him know that yet. Maybe he does know that he won't increase the offer but I know Todd and he's a super x100 nice guy so I know he wouldn't lie about this.

 There are some steps you can take to minimize costs too, when available. For example, I know Duke Divinity has a Friendship House where you have your own bedroom and bathroom. I was involved in the same project that opened up at VDS. We had a couple of married and cohabiting couples that lived together. My rent by agreeing to live there went from about $900/month to $350 and I lived there with my partner. I don't know about Duke's policy with married/cohabiting couples but I bring it up since you have a second party in your profile pic.

How come you're so helpful?? This is great, thanks! Yes, I'm married, so we would be looking for accommodation that works for both of us. I'll be sure to check out the "FriendshIp House" that you mentioned.

It's challenging making graduate school work financially, but I do realize that we're pretty much all in the same boat. Everyone wants more aid!

I think I'll ask him to extend my deadline though. If I could just get closer to 50% tuition, then I would be able to move forward with this no problem. We shall see.

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Hey guys, I have another quick question about M* programs I could use some insight on. But first, thanks again for all your wisdom and especiall your answers to my other questions in this thread!

Does it look bad to PhD programs if one attends an M* program without funding, even if one does well in the program? Leaving aside the issue of whether one can graduate without debt or not, do PhD adcoms percieve one as a flawed or less competitive applicant if one cannot secure funding when applying to M* programs? Or is one's performance in the M* program far more indicative?

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11 hours ago, Pierre de Olivi said:

Hey guys, I have another quick question about M* programs I could use some insight on. But first, thanks again for all your wisdom and especiall your answers to my other questions in this thread!

Does it look bad to PhD programs if one attends an M* program without funding, even if one does well in the program? Leaving aside the issue of whether one can graduate without debt or not, do PhD adcoms percieve one as a flawed or less competitive applicant if one cannot secure funding when applying to M* programs? Or is one's performance in the M* program far more indicative?

Adcoms don't have access to how your M* was paid for. If you attended a school with a named scholarship and included it on your PS, that's something they could google or might even know off the top of their head.

Otherwise, financial aid and admissions (for most schools) are kept in two distinct offices for 1) logistical purposes and 2) money shouldn't factor into an admissions decision. When it comes to real PhD programs (real being ones that you're not paying for), absolutely no one in admissions and/or faculty care about how much debt you have. They also have no way of finding out without severely going out of their way for that info and raising suspicions.

I would say that performance is all that matters but that's not entirely true. Fit is really the big thing that matters but fit is an all encompassing term for how you've performed, if your prospective advisor can put with your personality and vice versa, the level of curiosity you exhibit, your ability to grow and be receptive to ideas, etc.

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On 3/9/2019 at 7:50 PM, ravinglove said:

Hi all!!

I'm a prospective MDiv candidate and applied for a couple of schools. But, I was wondering... anyone heard back from Vandy? I applied (after the priority deadline, unfortunately) on February 2 and was wondering if y'all had any idea on how soon they might reach out to me.... 

Hello -- I just received my acceptance from VDS (for MTS) -- better late then never!

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