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Religion PhD - Columbia vs Stanford


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35 minutes ago, wrathofcon said:

Hi! I'm starting my PhD in the fall either at Columbia or Stanford, focus on American religions. I'm leaning towards the latter, but they're both great options! Anyone have strong opinions? 

Can you be more specific on American religions? If it's reception of Buddhism in America, for example, that makes quite a difference.

Doesn't Stanford only keep like one American Religion student at a time, maybe two with a brief overlap? On the one hand, probably a fair amount of attention to your work but then how many faculty do they keep on in that area to help form you?

My gut says go to Columbia. When I think of Stanford, they're renowned for the Buddhist studies, not American religion (IMO). I'm also firmly rooted in east coast culture so I'm biased. Being in NYC as a grad student and the resources available to you, I don't know if I'd pass that up.

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8 hours ago, xypathos said:

Can you be more specific on American religions? If it's reception of Buddhism in America, for example, that makes quite a difference.

Doesn't Stanford only keep like one American Religion student at a time, maybe two with a brief overlap? On the one hand, probably a fair amount of attention to your work but then how many faculty do they keep on in that area to help form you?

My gut says go to Columbia. When I think of Stanford, they're renowned for the Buddhist studies, not American religion (IMO). I'm also firmly rooted in east coast culture so I'm biased. Being in NYC as a grad student and the resources available to you, I don't know if I'd pass that up.

Thank you for your response! 

I totally get the Buddhism point - I work on 20th and 21st-century evangelicalism and apocalypticism, so definitely outside their normal wheelhouse. There is one Americanist on the faculty, but I'd also be working with a new interdisciplinary group of faculty members across the university who work on American religions (anthropologists, historians, etc.). It's a new program, but I'm getting the sense that they do want to invest more in the America track, and they've said they're going to be hiring a few Americanists over the next few years. 

NYC is great, but I did my MA at Columbia and have lived in the city for a long time, so I might be up for a change :) at the end of the day, I think both schools are great, which makes it all the more difficult to choose!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The benefit of going to Columbia is that it’s also close to Princeton, Yale, and UPenn where other Americanists can assist you/help expand your network. Which century are you working on for American religion?

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