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Fall 2021 Religion PhD


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I just received an offer of admission from the Toronto School of Theology. Financial aid information is forthcoming. Out of six applications, this means I got into two (Toronto and KU Leuven in B

Accepted to the MA program at UVA. Was wrestling between this or the PhD program at Marquette but finally decided that I'll be heading to UVA to work with the faculty that I'm more inclined to study w

In at Fordham!! Just got an informal acceptance over the phone!

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9 hours ago, 14777 said:

Hi all,

I saw a few questions about Notre Dame. I received an invitation this past weekend to interview for the Theo department in a few weeks. The email referred to those interviewing as "semi-finalists." I don't know if that means they won't extend any offers to those not interviewing, but that is how the email was worded.

 

That is their typical method. Those interviewed are split into the people who are offered and those who are waitlisted. Since they are typically one of the top schools on most people's list they rarely go far into their waitlist (or in some sections, rarely into it at all). 

If you aren't offered an interview at a school which typically interviews, you are most likely not going to get in, even if given a waitlist spot (e.g., Baylor sometimes waitlists people without inviting them to interview).

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11 hours ago, 14777 said:

Hi all,

I saw a few questions about Notre Dame. I received an invitation this past weekend to interview for the Theo department in a few weeks. The email referred to those interviewing as "semi-finalists." I don't know if that means they won't extend any offers to those not interviewing, but that is how the email was worded.

 

What's your program for this interview?

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33 minutes ago, baburshah said:

someone posted a princeton interview today- thought they release first wednesday of february? assuming they send out the interviews at once- so we can safely count ourselves out if no interview?

I wouldn't. Maybe there's just a delay? 

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It’s official. Duke Divinity School has just issued admissions results and I wasn’t surprised that I would not be admitted.

I still feel bad; this was my first choice US school. I predict that this is just the first in a string of bad news coming from other places. I’m not optimistic right now. So I’m preparing for Europe.

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4 minutes ago, crossroadsph said:

It’s official. Duke Divinity School has just issued admissions results and I wasn’t surprised that I would not be admitted.

I still feel bad; this was my first choice US school. I predict that this is just the first in a string of bad news coming from other places. I’m not optimistic right now. So I’m preparing for Europe.

Also learned that BC has done interviews for my theology subfield. Expecting same result as above.

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4 hours ago, crossroadsph said:

It’s official. Duke Divinity School has just issued admissions results and I wasn’t surprised that I would not be admitted.

I still feel bad; this was my first choice US school. I predict that this is just the first in a string of bad news coming from other places. I’m not optimistic right now. So I’m preparing for Europe.

I'm so sorry : ( 

💔

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11 hours ago, baburshah said:

someone posted a princeton interview today- thought they release first wednesday of february? assuming they send out the interviews at once- so we can safely count ourselves out if no interview?

Re: the second question, it's best to refer to what Deep Fried Angst said above about interviews: if the school normally does interviews and we aren't invited, it's safe to count ourselves out. That's been helpful for me in easing the blow when official results arrive.   

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Hi everyone -- long time lurker, first time poster. I am actually not a candidate but rather the fiancee of a candidate too nervous to look at gradcafe so it has become my job! 😀 Just wanted to add some more info for folks:

1. Interview with Princeton Seminary. As was mentioned, this year is insanely difficult. 3 spots for 5 departments in theology -- oof. 

2. Interview scheduled with ND as was confirmed by several people above. 

3. Interview scheduled with UChi. 

Does anyone know if BC definitely does interviews? And Harvard (NELC, not div)?

Best of luck to all -- as an invested bystander I am both impressed by your work and grateful to not have to do it 😆

Edited by Adso_
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3 hours ago, Adso_ said:

Hi everyone -- long time lurker, first time poster. I am actually not a candidate but rather the fiancee of a candidate too nervous to look at gradcafe so it has become my job! 😀 Just wanted to add some more info for folks:

1. Interview with Princeton Seminary. As was mentioned, this year is insanely difficult. 3 spots for 5 departments in theology -- oof. 

2. Interview scheduled with ND as was confirmed by several people above. 

3. Interview scheduled with UChi. 

Does anyone know if BC definitely does interviews? And Harvard (NELC, not div)?

Best of luck to all -- as an invested bystander I am both impressed by your work and grateful to not have to do it 😆

Mind sharing your subfield?

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On 2/1/2021 at 11:46 PM, CafeConGabi said:

I hope my response is helpful. 

I have a BA and Master's in religion. Ideally, my PhD would be in Religious Studies. Unfortunately, my POI was not in a Religious Studies dept. They were in the Chicanx Studies dept (that historically does not focus on religion). BUT I reached out to him in August with this concern. He said I would be fine if I got into the program. I chose the program because the professors/current students research interests aligned with my own so I know I'd be able to collaborate and strengthen my work.  

I was also concerned about the job prospects/placements so I reached out to a professor/mentor who reminded me that it's about my work more than it is about what department I graduated from.   

If you would like to keep the Religious Studies track then I would apply when they're taking students. Why spend time in a department/program you're not going to be happy in? 

Thank you for your detailed response. It was indeed helpful. I agree that your work matters more than the department per se but I have just been tracking data which would support the hypothesis that religion (as a field) has slightly better prospects (again, very contingent on other factors). In any case, I agree and plan to stay with the rlstudies track!

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4 hours ago, sayf said:

Thank you for your detailed response. It was indeed helpful. I agree that your work matters more than the department per se but I have just been tracking data which would support the hypothesis that religion (as a field) has slightly better prospects (again, very contingent on other factors). In any case, I agree and plan to stay with the rlstudies track!

You're welcome! 

I agree. Data should be considered for job prospects. Anecdotally, I know a lot of folks from outside religious studies (anthro, hist, ethnic studies, etc.) that end up with jobs in religions studies departments. 

When I was deciding whether to apply to religious studies or history, a professor told me to look at the questions central to my work to determine whether religious studies or history would be the best place to do the doctoral program. This helped too. 

 

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For what it’s worth, I did ask the admissions office at the Toronto School of Theology and they told me that application results will be out at the end of the month. This lines up with what I saw on the survey results some time back. They are the latest to report among the schools I applied to. It’s another good option for me, I believe, if I am admitted. 

Hang in there, everyone! Whatever the outcome, we can survive this process.

Edited by crossroadsph
Reference to Grad Cafe results survey.
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I wanted to share some excerpts from an article I was reading which I hope will bring some positivity to everyone who comes across this:

"Do not — I repeat — DO NOT try to put yourself in the minds of the admission’s committees. You won’t be able to figure out exactly what they’re looking for and you won’t know who will be looking at your application. I guarantee that you are much harder on yourself than anyone else will be on you. You don’t have to be perfect."

"You have to trust the process, because, like I said earlier: grad school is too hard to be in a program that is not right for you.

Applying to grad school should be a mutual process, as applying to a job should be. I can guarantee you that you do not want to go to a grad program where you aren’t a good fit — even if it’s at [X school.] Because once you’re there, you’re just one of the crowd. You stop feeling so special. And if you hate it here, you could hate your life or end up dropping out. Or both. I’d say that’s a lose-lose."

^That is such a good point. Maybe what we see as our top choice would actually be a horrible experience. Great to keep this in mind.

"We can all get great educations, we can all find amazing careers, and we can all change the world — if those are things that we want."

Edited by alizeh55
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Hi guys! I hope and trust it will go well for us all this cycle!

For me, I think I can safely give up on ND now - sadly. Doesn't seem like any interview requests would be coming in. I hope I'm wrong though!

In other news, though, I did interview at Boston University School of Theology yesterday. I thought the interview went well but then, you never know! 

Just a question too, if anyone wants to chime in, I'm already wondering which to choose between Baylor (I've already had a first round of interview there) and Boston Uni School of Theology (*IF* I'm admitted at both places). Any thoughts on both schools? My field is Theological Ethics and both schools have fine faculty in the field that I won't mind working with. My concern is about the job market after graduation and how well regarded both schools are. I know I'm getting ahead of myself! lol. But well!

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5 hours ago, amam said:

Just a question too, if anyone wants to chime in, I'm already wondering which to choose between Baylor (I've already had a first round of interview there) and Boston Uni School of Theology (*IF* I'm admitted at both places). Any thoughts on both schools? My field is Theological Ethics and both schools have fine faculty in the field that I won't mind working with. My concern is about the job market after graduation and how well regarded both schools are. I know I'm getting ahead of myself! lol. But well!

I don't know the stats comparing job placement between those two schools, but my guess is that the reputation would be similar (other than how denominational factors might play a role).

Another important thing you might want to consider is cost of living. It's much easier to live on a stipend in Waco than it is in Boston! All else being equal, this is something worth giving thought to. Of course, you also need to think about where you would prefer to live for several years, and Boston is probably more desirable than Waco for many folks, haha. But grad school is stressful enough, so not having finances as an additional worry can be huge. Feel free to send me a PM if you're interested in chatting further about Baylor and/or Waco.

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6 hours ago, amam said:

Hi guys! I hope and trust it will go well for us all this cycle!

For me, I think I can safely give up on ND now - sadly. Doesn't seem like any interview requests would be coming in. I hope I'm wrong though!

In other news, though, I did interview at Boston University School of Theology yesterday. I thought the interview went well but then, you never know! 

Just a question too, if anyone wants to chime in, I'm already wondering which to choose between Baylor (I've already had a first round of interview there) and Boston Uni School of Theology (*IF* I'm admitted at both places). Any thoughts on both schools? My field is Theological Ethics and both schools have fine faculty in the field that I won't mind working with. My concern is about the job market after graduation and how well regarded both schools are. I know I'm getting ahead of myself! lol. But well!

From a friend who majored in Medieval Studies (10 years ago?) and taught at Baylor: it wasn't her favorite place to teach. She thought the schools was too Christian-leaning for her liking, so there's that. 

I don't know anything about BU's School of Theology. I've met some great folks who came out of BU including a great professor who's been at HDS for several years.

Personally, I'd definitely check out the current grad student profiles because these will be my potential colleagues. And if their research interests interest me then it might make the next few years pleasant. But that's just me.    

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6 hours ago, amam said:

Hi guys! I hope and trust it will go well for us all this cycle!

For me, I think I can safely give up on ND now - sadly. Doesn't seem like any interview requests would be coming in. I hope I'm wrong though!

In other news, though, I did interview at Boston University School of Theology yesterday. I thought the interview went well but then, you never know! 

Just a question too, if anyone wants to chime in, I'm already wondering which to choose between Baylor (I've already had a first round of interview there) and Boston Uni School of Theology (*IF* I'm admitted at both places). Any thoughts on both schools? My field is Theological Ethics and both schools have fine faculty in the field that I won't mind working with. My concern is about the job market after graduation and how well regarded both schools are. I know I'm getting ahead of myself! lol. But well!

I don’t know about Baylor, but what people said above is quite valuable to know. They do cater to a particular segment of the Christian world, as does BU, so, as they say, one's mileage may vary. 

I applied to and visited BU School of Theology in the last cycle. It does have a good reputation, and I’ve had some memorable (in a good way) conversations with faculty and some current graduate students. My POI and I had one of my favorite conversations during my time in Boston, and I would have gone there for a STM if after-tuition funding were available.

I would agree with CafeConGabi that learning about who’s who among the graduate students (and their research interests) would be helpful. This has already been helpful in giving me a picture of what a department is like apart from the faculty, and I’ve made one contact at one school as a result of finding out.

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