Jump to content
NyarkoSan

2020 Religion Application Thread

Recommended Posts

37 minutes ago, NyarkoSan said:

I feel that... My scores were super lopsided and I really don't know how to feel about that. Like my verbal and writing were excellent, but my quant was... oof. I don't know why a religion program would care about the quant score, but it's just one more thing that has me bugging out. 

Most programs don't care about the quant score, but are looking for at least a 160+ verbal and and 5+ in writing. 

One DGS I spoke to said as long as their average for quant is 40-60% percentile, they are ok (because the graduate school cared about overall rankings across graduate programs....). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Deep Fried Angst said:

Most programs don't care about the quant score, but are looking for at least a 160+ verbal and and 5+ in writing. 

One DGS I spoke to said as long as their average for quant is 40-60% percentile, they are ok (because the graduate school cared about overall rankings across graduate programs....). 

That's a relief to hear... Thank you for the information

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/16/2019 at 10:39 AM, conraddy said:

Hey all! I'm applying to MTS/MAR/MPhil programs, more towards the Philosophy of Religion side of things, with a focus on religion and literature, the secularization hypothesis, philosophy of sin, and philosophy of selfhood. I'm applying to Harvard, UChicago, Oxford, and Cambridge. Super nervous--wondering whether or not my atypical approach will find a proper home. I just have a BA right now, and I'm hoping to parlay the theology masters into a PhD in English Literature... fingers crossed. Best of luck to everybody!

I'm a current MTS student at HDS and can say I strongly suspect your approach may be able to find a home in an MTS/div school/etc. setting. I personally a more "traditional" (historical/philological) approach but I've met several people now who came here to study one or more of the topics you're studying and even 2 current PhD students (at the Committee for the Study of Religion) who graduated from HDS having done work on one or more of these topics.

With that being said, you may want to look into how these types of programs are seen on the English side of things as you consider your options. I've seen HDS alumni place into religious studies, history, and interdisciplinary/area studies PhD programs, but can't off the top of my head think of anyone who placed into an English PhD program recently (which is not to say it hasn't happened). From your interests it sounds possible, but I would just advise to make sure it is not like analytic philosophy where divinity school degrees are looked upon with suspicion virtually inherently

Feel free to DM me if you have any questions about HDS or master's program applications (this goes for others on the thread too)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how's everyone doing? I've submitted two apps and have two to go (due 1/1 and 1/2). I just read through the entirety of last year's app thread and that was not good for my mental health 😭😭😭

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about my application and, finally, saw this thread. I submitted my application for PhD. (Near)/Middle Eastern Studies, and only applied for NYU and Michigan. My BA was Middle Eastern Studies, now doing my MA  (one year), Middle Eastern Studies as well. Have been studying Arabic for three years, and just started Turkish in September. Don't know if there's anyone applying for same/similar programs? ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/21/2019 at 12:29 PM, Xiwen Yang said:

I've been thinking about my application and, finally, saw this thread. I submitted my application for PhD. (Near)/Middle Eastern Studies, and only applied for NYU and Michigan. My BA was Middle Eastern Studies, now doing my MA  (one year), Middle Eastern Studies as well. Have been studying Arabic for three years, and just started Turkish in September. Don't know if there's anyone applying for same/similar programs? ;) 

Hey! I'm also applying for NELC PhDs. I have so far applied for UMich, NYU, UChicago, Georgetown, and Penn (for religion). I've studied Arabic for three years, and have six years of Spanish ( I wanna focus on Umayyad Andalusia) and just started German.

I only have my BA, so I think that I'm pretty far behind a lot of MA students in the app process, but I guess it doesn't hurt to shoot my shot (well, the cost of applying hurts). 

I'm honestly so stressed about the process. Have ya heard anything about UMich for their interviews? I've heard rumors they're bilingual and that strikes the fear of God into me...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a BA (2014, Philosophy & Religion), MTS 2017 (2017, Theology & History), and I will graduate in May with my MAR in Philosophy from a Top-tier Divinity School. 
I am applying to four Ph.D. programs in religious studies (Yale, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Brown).
Interests include the history of modern philosophy (Kant, Kierkegaard), contemporary philosophy of religion, moral theology, and 19th-C American religious thought (specifically Second Great Awakening).  

Best of luck to others applying out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/7/2019 at 6:11 PM, fingerscrossed1240 said:

New to the forum. Applying for NT PhD's. I have an M.Div and MABL from a conservative seminary and finishing a ThM at Duke. Here is the list:

Duke (PhD and ThD), ND, Yale, Chicago, PTS, Toronto, UVA.

Good luck everybody!

Does anyone know when Notre Dame and Yale begin reviewing PhD applications, especially for the Liturgical pool?  I thought Notre Dame called for interviews in late January...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/16/2019 at 2:00 PM, NTGal said:

yeah, my GRE verbal score was pretty low by TT standards....even though I have strengths that should be able to compensate, I fear my app will be thrown out without a second look...you often hear that at TT schools that receive a ton of apps, their first filter to narrow the pool is GRE 😥

If you don't mind my big-nosed prying, what was your verbal?  Mine's a middling 164, and I'm thinking of retaking.  Didn't get a chance to after last year because life is super busy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@rejectedndejected mine was only 161 😪 We have a shot at Notre Dame if we are awesome in every other way, lol. Their average is 164. 

If I reapply next year I will probably only apply abroad because even if I study more I don't think I could increase my verbal score...whereas my others scores could actually go down (even though everyone says that nobody cares about quant and verbal, I'm secretly hoping those scores would help me a bit).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, NTGal said:

@rejectedndejected mine was only 161 😪 We have a shot at Notre Dame if we are awesome in every other way, lol. Their average is 164. 

If I reapply next year I will probably only apply abroad because even if I study more I don't think I could increase my verbal score...whereas my others scores could actually go down (even though everyone says that nobody cares about quant and verbal, I'm secretly hoping those scores would help me a bit).

161 isn't bad.  Especially with your quant., which schools are looking at more and more.  What ND program are you applying to?  Do you know when they start reviewing?  Also, how'd you figure out their average is 164?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*edit above: i meant quant and writing in my parenthetical remark. 

@rejectedndejected I think for a lot of first tier programs (e.g., Duke) 161 takes me out of the running right away...I feel hopeful that my other credentials as well a SOP will speak at ND since I'm closer to the average. I am applying to CJA, so we are not in competition :) Hope to see you at interview weekend! I don't know when they start reviewing, but based on the results page from previous years, it seems like interview invitations go out end of Jan or beginning of Feb. I figured out their average because I emailed admissions a while back and asked about stats for theology PhD admissions. Here is the reply:

Our average GRE scores for admitted students were: 164 Verbal, 156 Quantitative and 4.8 on the Analytical Writing. The average GPA was 3.67. These scores are typical for the last five years. We had 142 applicants, extended offers to 15 and admitted 11.
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, NTGal said:

*edit above: i meant quant and writing in my parenthetical remark. 

@rejectedndejected I think for a lot of first tier programs (e.g., Duke) 161 takes me out of the running right away...I feel hopeful that my other credentials as well a SOP will speak at ND since I'm closer to the average. I am applying to CJA, so we are not in competition :) Hope to see you at interview weekend! I don't know when they start reviewing, but based on the results page from previous years, it seems like interview invitations go out end of Jan or beginning of Feb. I figured out their average because I emailed admissions a while back and asked about stats for theology PhD admissions. Here is the reply:

Our average GRE scores for admitted students were: 164 Verbal, 156 Quantitative and 4.8 on the Analytical Writing. The average GPA was 3.67. These scores are typical for the last five years. We had 142 applicants, extended offers to 15 and admitted 11.
 

 

Wow, that is great information.  Thanks so much.  I hope to see you at interview weekend as well.  If your language training is strong, you probably have a fighting chance (likely far better than me) at getting an interview. 

Are you sure those are the PhD averages?  That seems like it would be closer to their MTS average.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, NTGal said:

@rejectedndejected mine was only 161 😪 We have a shot at Notre Dame if we are awesome in every other way, lol. Their average is 164. 

If I reapply next year I will probably only apply abroad because even if I study more I don't think I could increase my verbal score...whereas my others scores could actually go down (even though everyone says that nobody cares about quant and verbal, I'm secretly hoping those scores would help me a bit).

Out of curiosity, why do you think you can't improve your verbal score? I feel like verbal is much easier to improve than quant or writing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, kenshiro said:

Out of curiosity, why do you think you can't improve your verbal score? I feel like verbal is much easier to improve than quant or writing.

While I agree that she can improve her verbal with practice, I think quant is the easiest to improve.  Just learn the geometric formulas and do a bunch of practice problems...It's not high level math that is indicative of IQ.  Verbal stuff, especially reading comprehension, probably has more to do with native ability following a line of reasoning.  But maybe I'm wrong.  Just my impression.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, rejectedndejected said:

While I agree that she can improve her verbal with practice, I think quant is the easiest to improve.  Just learn the geometric formulas and do a bunch of practice problems...It's not high level math that is indicative of IQ.  Verbal stuff, especially reading comprehension, probably has more to do with native ability following a line of reasoning.  But maybe I'm wrong.  Just my impression.

Perhaps... I've tutored extensively and always found that quant scores tend to be relatively stable because understanding the problems and what tools to use, though they're not really very difficult, is built on layers and layers of experience throughout high school and maybe undergrad, so returns on practice are diminishing if you are weak at the fundamentals. Practice at writing is obviously necessary, but because the solutions aren't closed-form and you're not necessarily able to get immediate feedback, returns on practice time are similarly low. Meanwhile, I've always found that learning vocabulary and simply reading prose of any sophistication (e.g. academic papers) tends to raise verbal scores. Still, YMMV I guess. I just think that gains in verbal tend to be linear (with a low coefficient, of course) with time, whereas the others tend to fall off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@rejectedndejected gosh, now you have me all paranoid that those are MTS stats 😭 When I emailed to ask, in both the subject line and the email I asked for PhD stats, so I'd hope that the person replying didn't give me the wrong stats. 

As far as my scores...well, my diagnostic was 159 v, 162 Q, and my actual score was 161 v 164 Q, 5.5 AWA...granted, I only studied for a month....but I spent almost all my time on verbal since everyone says quant score doesn't matter. For quant I just went through the math review in the official guide and memorized the formulas I didn't know. 

I think AWA is a crapshoot, and I was actually the most nervous about that section....at least for the issues essay, I was really nervous because all the prompts I saw in the pool were about things like politics, cities, etc...things that I know nothing about. Even if you're a good writer, if you pull an essay like that out of thin air if you know nothing about the issue and can't think of any real world examples, i'd guess the most you could get is 4.5. It's different for the arguments essay, since you just have to attack the assumptions in the prompt and don't need to know anything outside of it. So I expected to bomb the issues essay.  The only reason I got 5.5 is because I got a generic life adage for the issues essay. My score for AWA would definitely go down unless I spend a lot of time working through prompts or get lucky again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@NTGal: the applicant to acceptance ratio looks a bit more like what we would expect from PhD programs than MTS programs, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing that (presumably!) accurate and interesting information!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New here - first time applying to grad school, wondering about something. I applied to five top-tier MDiv programs (UChicago, ND, Harvard, Yale, Duke) and as much as I am confident I can be successful there, it's hard for me not to think they'll throw out my application pretty quickly, since my undergrad GPA was atrocious. I started out in engineering and really struggled for a few semesters before switching to theology. My major GPA was 3.5, but because of the extreme damage from the engineering courses freshman and sophomore year, my overall GPA was below a 3.0. I graduated undergrad in 2014 so it's been a while, and though I did take a master's course this last fall and got an A, it's only one class so that 4.0 grad school GPA really won't mean much to them. My professional and ministerial experience is great, and I got recommendation letters from some pretty heavy-hitters, but I wonder if none of that will matter since I don't know just how low of a GPA admissions boards are willing to overlook, despite circumstances like changes in majors. 

Part of me felt like I shouldn't have even applied, but I figured the worst that happens is I'm rejected and I apply again next year to other good - but not quite top tier - schools. I'm confident in my abilities, but feel hopeless these schools will take a shot on someone with my academic past.

Should I abandon all hope?

Edited by JF2F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, JF2F said:

New here - first time applying to grad school, wondering about something. I applied to five top-tier MDiv programs (UChicago, ND, Harvard, Yale, Duke) and as much as I am confident I can be successful there, it's hard for me not to think they'll throw out my application pretty quickly, since my undergrad GPA was atrocious. I started out in engineering and really struggled for a few semesters before switching to theology. My major GPA was 3.5, but because of the extreme damage from the engineering courses freshman and sophomore year, my overall GPA was below a 3.0. I graduated undergrad in 2014 so it's been a while, and though I did take a master's course this last fall and got an A, it's only one class so that 4.0 grad school GPA really won't mean much to them. My professional and ministerial experience is great, and I got recommendation letters from some pretty heavy-hitters, but I wonder if none of that will matter since I don't know just how low of a GPA admissions boards are willing to overlook, despite circumstances like changes in majors. 

Part of me felt like I shouldn't have even applied, but I figured the worst that happens is I'm rejected and I apply again next year to other good - but not quite top tier - schools. I'm confident in my abilities, but feel hopeless these schools will take a shot on someone with my academic past.

Should I abandon all hope?

You should be just fine. Masters programs are not that competitive to get into and are more of a crapshoot than anything else. Your ministerial experience should put you over the top, as well as the strong LORs. I bet you'll get into at least two of those programs, as long as no other red flags. 

You might explain your engineering GPA in your essay. I also had a similar engineering GPA (around 3.0), which was in fact above average for my school which is known for grade deflation. I ended up being just fine. Like you I switched to humanities degree, although my in major gpa was something like 3.9. But whatever, you'll be fine. 

Lastly I would actually stick to the big name programs, since it will open more doors for you in the future. 

I hope your ad comm will realize how tough some engineering programs can be and how low the GPAs are in them.   

P.S. What you can do is destroy the GRE. That's what I did to offset my low engineering gpa.

Edited by Averroes MD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is premature since interview invitations won't be going out for a few weeks....also it's entirely realistic that I might not receive any. But I'm curious whether anyone has gathered any advice about interviewing for PhD programs, and what interview weekends at specific schools are like. I did a search in this forum and didn't find anything. I'm surprised that there isn't a thread just about interviews (or maybe there is but I missed it?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, NTGal said:

I know this is premature since interview invitations won't be going out for a few weeks....also it's entirely realistic that I might not receive any. But I'm curious whether anyone has gathered any advice about interviewing for PhD programs, and what interview weekends at specific schools are like. I did a search in this forum and didn't find anything. I'm surprised that there isn't a thread just about interviews (or maybe there is but I missed it?)

Last year I interviewed at two schools and was waitlisted at both and then eventually accepted at both. So I wouldn't consider myself an expert at interviewing, but here's some of the most helpful advice people shared with me:

  • Be yourself
  • Make sure what you say in person matches with what's on paper
  • See each question as an invitation for conversation
  • Frame answers to questions as stories when possible
  • Draw connections (with previous questions, with application materials, etc.)

There are some websites with lists of common questions for grad school interviews in general:

https://www.gradschools.com/get-informed/applying-graduate-school/graduate-school-interview/graduate-school-interview-questions

https://www.gradschoolheaven.com/grad-school-interview-questions.html

I found that many of these questions (or variations of them) were asked, but there were also some random questions that would be impossible to prepare for. That's where it's so important to just be genuine (and that can include admitting that you hadn't considered something or aren't completely familiar with an issue). Most interviewers will value genuineness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you so much, @exegete! where did you interview, and where did you choose to attend?

Edited by NTGal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, NTGal said:

thank you so much, @exegete! where did you interview, and where did you choose to attend?

I interviewed with Baylor and Marquette, and I'm in the NT program at Baylor now. All the best to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.