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agfun83

Masters Program Suggestions for Female Leaving Conservative Evang School

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Looking for input and advice on the following...

Background: I did a ton of grad work at a conservative evangelical seminary MDiv program. Due to bad experiences as a female student, as well as realizing my limits as a female in that culture, alongside my theology changing and evolving, I left the program a couple years ago. Now I'm researching on returning to school.

I have a lot of theology, church history, and some formal philosophy training from my MDiv. I don't mind retaking some foundational courses again as my credits are getting too old to qualify as a transfer anyways, and I don't mind refreshing and coming at the subjects from a new angle, as well.

My research interests, I'll be general and can be more specific if this sounds vague, but they are in belief formation and the relationship between doctrine and social psychology and virtue and ethics. So I'm looking for more foundational training in theology, but also moral and social philosophy and a school where I can be introductory trained in some of the social sciences. (My undergrad was not in any of these things was business related.) I deal and work a lot with religious abuse and trauma, and I want to explore social psychology and philosophical effects on ecclesiology and what happens to the person and community when deconstruction occurs. I also have been opening my eyes to colonization and its effects on theology formation and control, and have been looking at belief formation and sustaining of belief from the Womanist perspective. 

I am more likely looking for MTS or MA programs, but I am open to MDiv programs as I have an interest in working in and with the church on these subjects. I enjoy academia and would love to do a PhD, but I just want to focus on a masters due to the dismal job market. So perhaps programs that would prepare me for a PhD if I chose to do one later, but also one that is sufficient on its own if I stop at a masters.

I want to ask about suggestions here as I am wondering if there are some programs I might be missing, particularly in universities that I might not be aware of or haven't thought to look into.

The top two that stick out to me so far: I have visited and looked into PTS (Princeton Theological Seminary) and liked what I saw and experienced, and have looked a lot at Yale Divinity (haven't visited). I noticed in their course selections in recent semesters that they are trending toward a lot of the topics I have an interest in.

Thanks for any program suggestions you may have! To be clear, I'm still in a place of receiving foundational training in a lot of these areas. If I need to be more clear and specific, let me know. For a masters program I'm looking for more generalities and room to explore, still.

 

 

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I can't offer anything terribly specific, but you might check into schools that have joint programs between MDiv and e.g. MSW, like the Duke and UNC Chapel Hill program. I recall them being around four years, but that may open the right kind of doors.

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Hello agfun83,

Sorry to hear about your negative experience. I rarely get this precise on these forums but based on what you've described I think you would be a perfect fit for the school I currently attend (Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School).

The school was founded in the American (liberal) Baptist tradition and primarily caters to Episcopalians, American Baptists, Presbyterians, and African Methodist Episcopal ordination candidates. They are *extremely* flexible with transferring credits to keep your costs down as long as your school was ATS accredited (case-by-case if not I believe, credits within ten years are acceptable) and tuition is reasonable.

As far as academics go we are a small school with a good reputation. Most of our faculty did their doctorates at elite institutions, class sizes are small (5-10 per class), and while most of our graduates go into ministry we did place an M.Div student in BU's Ph.D program a year or two ago.

The student body is female majority and while the school is very Christian in its courses and overall outlook, it is so in a very liberal way (I'm Wiccan and the student body president, for context).

Anyways feel free to PM me if you have any questions. 

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I try not to bring up PTS a lot - as it might make me look like a homer - but it sounds ideal for someone with your interests. In terms of funding, it's very hard to beat: 100% if you're PCUSA (or "convert" to PCUSA) and 80% for everyone else. This is primarily true of the M.Div, but I've seen it apply to MATS and MA folks too. It sounds like you've visited and didn't hate Princeton, so there's that. In terms of research interests, you would be in good hands for, "foundational training in theology, but also moral and social philosophy and a school where I can be introductory trained in some of the social sciences." PTS does a decent job of integrating theological formation into most classes (but almost exclusively reformed theology) and it has recently made a few hires of individuals with backgrounds in sociology (Mooney), cultural anthropology (Raffety), and psychology of religion (Hinds). There is always the possibility of taking classes in the social sciences at the university, but this is not nearly as easy as doing the same thing from within a university.

In terms of a specific interest in decolonial or womanist studies, PTS has some solid individuals, but you won't find the same level of resources as a place like Yale.

I would also suggest Harvard and UChicago, specifically for their inter-disciplinary benefits as major universities. I can't speak to their their theological formation.

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sacklunch,

Thanks for the suggestion. I have looked into some MSW hybrids with MDivs. I think I might be more drawn to the research angle of social work.

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ChristoWitch87,

I haven't looked into Colgate Rochester Cozer Divinity.

Do people typically go there for ordination or are the vocation interest and tracks varied? 

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JDD,

Thanks for the insight. PTS is at the top of the list for me at the moment. When I visited my impression was they prefer students to do the MDiv over the two year masters? I was more open and leaning toward the MDiv after I visited awhile ago.

From researching divinity schools like Harvard and Chicago - it seems like it would fit me well academically to a point but maybe not potentially for church work as other schools? Where it would almost be like a religious studies program rather than Christian theological formation naturally integrated in each class. I go back and forth on whether a religious studies or interfaith divinity program would be ideal or not.

 

Thanks for all the responses so far!

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1 hour ago, agfun83 said:

ChristoWitch87,

I haven't looked into Colgate Rochester Cozer Divinity.

Do people typically go there for ordination or are the vocation interest and tracks varied? 

CRCDS is almost exclusively people aiming for ordination, though not all of their graduates go into church work. I know of several that went into chaplaincy, usually hospital.

American Baptists and UMC are the largest denominations present. Splatters of everything else - Lutherans, Episcopalians, UCC, UU, Wiccan, etc.

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2 hours ago, agfun83 said:

ChristoWitch87,

I haven't looked into Colgate Rochester Cozer Divinity.

Do people typically go there for ordination or are the vocation interest and tracks varied? 

Ordained ministry is definitely the most common route for graduates. However, I think this has more to do with CRCDS' strong regional reputation and the fact that we have a good track record obtaining placements for those who want them (Even from my non-trad background, and being open about said background, I found intern-placement at a liberal-mainline church and will say that my school affiliation helped). About half of our graduates serve their faiths in other ways though, and your research interests relating to the interface between Trauma and religious formation would find a home here on multiple fronts. Dr. Brummitt teaches a course on the place of Trauma in the formation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and our Dean would absolutely (<99.9%) allow you to do your six credit supervised ministry in a non-parish setting where you could focus on the topics you described above. You also mentioned the Womanist perspective, while this is not my realm of expertise I do know that this is the specialty of our incoming President. https://www.crcds.edu/about-crcds/our-pres/ 

The employment breakdown from our handbook (2017-2019) is as follows:

52% Parish Ministry

14% Chaplaincy

14% Non-Profit/Social Work

7% Advanced Degree

2% Higher Education Teaching/Administration

11% Other

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53 minutes ago, xypathos said:

CRCDS is almost exclusively people aiming for ordination, though not all of their graduates go into church work. I know of several that went into chaplaincy, usually hospital.

American Baptists and UMC are the largest denominations present. Splatters of everything else - Lutherans, Episcopalians, UCC, UU, Wiccan, etc.

Amer. Baptists yes, the rest definitely seem to shuffle from year to year. The frozen chosen (PCUSA), Episcopalians, and the African Methodist Episcopalians seem to have strong representation with the Amer. Baptists at the moment.

And I should reemphasize that while we tend to average a UU student or two, and I've had a good time here (I'm still not sure they know what to make of me, though they are kind about it ;)) CRCDS is still a liberally Christ-centered institution.

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It certainly seems like PTS and YDS are great fits for what you're leaning towards. You are correct in that PTS emphasizes the MDiv over other masters. They're pretty vocal about that and typically phrase that their PhD and MDiv are inter-related.

PTS "advertises" that they are for the formation of Christian leaders, with a little under 50% of graduates going on to church ministry. About 25% go on to further study. Funding is also fantastic...

Second what @JDD said about decolonalist/womanist studies. 

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