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Intro, Suggestions and Advice


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Hello All,

I wanted to write this post as an introduction and  hopefully a way I could get to know some of you. I only found this site a few days ago and it has been pretty cool.

I'm genuinely interested to what fields in relation to Religious Studies or other fields are you interested/currently working in? What scholars have you met or studied with? Any word on any PhD programs? Feel free to send me a message or if you feel comfortable we could exchange email addresses if you have any peer-reviewed articles or work you wouldn't mind sharing. 

About me.. I've had an interest in the field of religion for a long time. My first area of interest was Early Christianity/ New Testament but I also became interested in Islam and the anthropology of religion during college. I was a pretty good student; I got good grades and probably could have done better but I partied a little too much during undergrad years but I was also pretty studious.

Long story but I never applied to PhD programs after graduation. Worked a number of unfulfilling jobs and looked for a change or to try to fulfill my old dream of being a college professor after about six years after graduation. I earned my teaching degree while at the same contemplating applying to PhD programs. Currently, I work as a middle school teacher.

My research interests related to religion have shifted more away from early Christianity and more to the modern era. I'm interested in things like religion and modernity, new religious movements, social movements, human rights, contemporary ethnography of religion, secular Islamic law and Islamic reformers of the 19th-20th century. Last year I applied to ASU's Ph.D in Religion and UC Riverside and was denied to both.

This year I applied to University of Florida and UC Riverside to study Global Christianity. I can speak Spanish and know a little French and University of Florida has a great Latin Studies program.  I haven't heard back yet. In addition to good grades, I have attended study abroad programs but only have a little knowledge of Greek and Arabic.  If I don't get in to the places I applied this year I will want to apply to UC Davis next year as they have a good program for Human Rights. I would like to learn Koine Greek more for learning how different Christian sects have looked at "traditional" doctrines with reform-minded goals and Arabic for some of the same reasons. This relates to my interest in learning about Religion and Modernity which some schools have programs for that. 

I just wanted to know if any of you can pass along advice. Should I try to beef up my languages more before applying? Do I need to articulate more clear research goals? Can any of you recommend schools that might be a good fit for me? Also some professors I have talked to were very forthcoming about the reality of the job market for people with PhD's in Religion. Not impossible to get a job but also very limited. I ask these questions because I know I will always have a passion for the academic study of religion but I want to decide if it is feasible to try to make a career out of it. Thanks.

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