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Hi everyone! This is my first post as I just yesterday discovered the cafe. I am applying to MTS programs for the first time this year, and I don't really know what to expect, but here's where I'm at:

  • Four applications turned in: Notre Dame (Jan 15), Boston College (Jan 15), Villanova (Feb 1), Fordham (April 1? then rolling)
  • I think I have strong writing and recs
  • Double major from small Jesuit undergrad in religious studies and English; 3.98 GPA (A- in calc II first year when I thought I wanted to major in math)
  • Been teaching theology in a high school this year

Updates: BC interviewed me as a required piece of the app last week. That afternoon they emailed to set up an interview/discussion with the GA coordinator/dean, which is set for Feb. 9. Haven't heard anything from anywhere else yet. ND says decisions start rolling at the end of the month, BC says middle of the month, and no idea on the others.

What do you all think? What about the GA interview? Am I just needing to talk so I can wait a few more weeks? Maybe.

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1) Your concerns are valid. VERY valid.  2) Echoing KungFuKenny and jellyfish7, both schools are top schools within the religious studies world so adding either on your CV will only benefit you. 

Just received an admissions offer from Candler school of Theology (Emory) with 75% tuition funding! This was the only MTS program I applied to along with 4 PhD apps. I didn’t get into any of the PhD p

I appreciate the encouragement and information provided by everybody here. To follow-up, I’ve decided to accept Yale’s offer and begin their MARc this fall. Best wishes to all still making their decis

This is my first post as well. I'm also applying to MTS/MAR fall 2021. My stats are below:

  • Four applications turned in:
    • Notre Dame MTS
    • HDS MTS
    • Duke MTS
    • Yale MAR
  • I'm focused on political theology
  • Top-5 undergrad in Philosophy, 3.9 GPA and phi beta kappa
  • Top-5 MBA
  • ~10 years of experience working in investment banking and presidential electoral politics

Headed toward PhD after this, but largest concern is that I'm now in my mid-30s and worry that I could be boxed out of PhD apps or tenure-track openings on account of age.

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We'll be waiting out Notre Dame together then! Have you heard anything yet from anywhere?

I'm also hoping to go PhD route after this. Hopefully there is space for you despite age and the like. I have a professor who was about 35-40 when he landed a PhD program at ND, and now he's a department director.

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I hope this helps someone. 

 

I got my MTS at HDS (class of 2018) and never got an interviewed for it. Also, if I remember correctly, the admissions letter came in mid March. Long wait! Honestly, I had zero expectation of getting in because my cumulative GPA was 3.6 and GRE score was super average. Plus, I got kicked outta my first college (circa 2009) for a low GPA. Oh, and I was 26 at the time of the application. What I think helped was majoring in religious studies and showing, vis-a-vis my courses and extracurriculars, that I was serious about a career in academia. I also met supportive professors who encouraged me to apply to research grants and attend conferences. These folks also wrote strong letters of recommendations. 

While I was in the HDS program we were constantly told that not all of us (my cohort had ~88 mts/mdiv students) would go on for a PhD so that we needed to be open to other career possibilities. Being hard-headed I ignored this advice and worked on tailoring my 2 years so that I would be a competitive PhD applicant. I am 30 years old now and just got into my top PhD program (outside of religious studies) last week. I will be 38 by the time I am done.  

 

TL;DR: Do not worry about age. Worry about being a competitive applicant.    

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2 minutes ago, CafeConGabi said:

I hope this helps someone. 

 

I got my MTS at HDS (class of 2018) and never got an interviewed for it. Also, if I remember correctly, the admissions letter came in mid March. Long wait! Honestly, I had zero expectation of getting in because my cumulative GPA was 3.6 and GRE score was super average. Plus, I got kicked outta my first college (circa 2009) for a low GPA. Oh, and I was 26 at the time of the application. What I think helped was majoring in religious studies and showing, vis-a-vis my courses and extracurriculars, that I was serious about a career in academia. I also met supportive professors who encouraged me to apply to research grants and attend conferences. These folks also wrote strong letters of recommendations. 

While I was in the HDS program we were constantly told that not all of us (my cohort had ~88 mts/mdiv students) would go on for a PhD so that we needed to be open to other career possibilities. Being hard-headed I ignored this advice and worked on tailoring my 2 years so that I would be a competitive PhD applicant. I am 30 years old now and just got into my top PhD program (outside of religious studies) last week. I will be 38 by the time I am done.  

 

TL;DR: Do not worry about age. Worry about being a competitive applicant.    

I'm curious; how many of your HDS classmates did go on to top-tier PhD programs (particularly relative to those who attempted to)? Of those who did, what differentiated them?

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Just now, Chicago Guy said:

I'm curious; how many of your HDS classmates did go on to top-tier PhD programs (particularly relative to those who attempted to)? Of those who did, what differentiated them?

I'm not sure if the DIv School's updated their HDS alumni directory but from the little that I know there is a higher chance of getting admitted into the Religious Studies PhD program when you've done your MTS/MDIv at Harvard. I think this has more to do with the ability to connect with a potential advisor. If they/the faculty know your work they might be able to vouch for you in the application process. Then again I applied but didn't get in so there's that. It all worked out though. 

Off the top of my head I know peers who have gotten into PhD programs in history and religious studies at Harvard, UNC, Berkeley, UVA, Notre Dame, UCLA, UPenn.  

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1 hour ago, CafeConGabi said:

I'm not sure if the DIv School's updated their HDS alumni directory but from the little that I know there is a higher chance of getting admitted into the Religious Studies PhD program when you've done your MTS/MDIv at Harvard. I think this has more to do with the ability to connect with a potential advisor. If they/the faculty know your work they might be able to vouch for you in the application process. Then again I applied but didn't get in so there's that. It all worked out though. 

Off the top of my head I know peers who have gotten into PhD programs in history and religious studies at Harvard, UNC, Berkeley, UVA, Notre Dame, UCLA, UPenn.  

Did you see any classmates already in their 30s go on to a PhD?

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18 minutes ago, Chicago Guy said:

Did you see any classmates already in their 30s go on to a PhD?

In the MTS/MDiv program, yes. Some in their 40's.

One peer was probably in her mid to late 30's going into a Harvard PhD. 

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Hi! I am applying to the Chicago Divinity M.A and HDS MTS (as well as several history M.A's). I am an international applicant from Sweden, but did one year of my undergrad in the U.S. Focused on 20th century immigrant religiosity. 

 

3.9 GPA

1 published article. 

1 finished side-project in history (collaboration with a professor to map a historical political organization). 

 

Anxiously waiting! 

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Wow you guys have amazing stats, I'm super intimidated. I was well aware that the application pool would be even more competitive this year, but even so every time I think about my chances I get so anxious. I'm applying to Harvard MTS, Chicago MA, and Yale MAR.

International student

Ivy League 3.75 GPA

One unfinished Oxbridge MPHIL degree due to health reasons

Patchy work experience in diplomacy and translating due to again health reasons

So yeah.. not a strong application at all. I'm desperately hoping someone will pick me based on my recommendation letters, languages, and my previous coursework in Religious Studies.

 

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Hey, same! Applied to BU, HDS, YDS, and planning to apply to Catholic University of America for their MA in religion and culture.

I received an acceptance email from BU yesterday with a 70% scholarship, which I’m very excited about. 

I feel a little self conscious reading this thread — you all have amazing stats!

-3.4, degree in Economics from an okay state flagship

-Had a research assistantship (in Economics)

-I’m interested in nuns, and I was an intern in a convent for 4 months, which I think is unique. 

-mediocre Quant and AW but 168 Verbal 

-Would like to believe I have good writing and LORs. One of my letters was from a Methodist minister and professor whose class I sat in on (did not receive credit for) at Sewanee, which I wonder if it helped at BU since they are Methodist. 

 

Edited by MaryHildegard
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Just wanted to say that I think both of your stats look great (Maryildegard and Joey_Jawad) and that I am not sure of the quality of my own LOR as I did not have the opportunity to take many of my classes with the same professors. I guess the first decision I will receive will be from Chicago, as they seem to send them out in the middle of February? Good luck to all! 

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10 minutes ago, Sleepless in skellefteå said:

Just wanted to say that I think both of your stats look great (Maryildegard and Joey_Jawad) and that I am not sure of the quality of my own LOR as I did not have the opportunity to take many of my classes with the same professors. I guess the first decision I will receive will be from Chicago, as they seem to send them out in the middle of February? Good luck to all! 

Thanks. 

Out of curiosity, are there any particular immigrant groups you have a particular interest in?  

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6 minutes ago, MaryHildegard said:

Thanks. 

Out of curiosity, are there any particular immigrant groups you have a particular interest in?  

Maybe not surprisingly, Swedes and Scandinavians! During my year in the U.S, I kind of fell into a bubble of people working on projects concerning Swedish-American history. I did a project on a specific Swedish-American church that was really interesting to work on. 

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8 minutes ago, Sleepless in skellefteå said:

Maybe not surprisingly, Swedes and Scandinavians! During my year in the U.S, I kind of fell into a bubble of people working on projects concerning Swedish-American history. I did a project on a specific Swedish-American church that was really interesting to work on. 

Cool! Seems like Chicago might be a good location, since you’d be a (relatively) close drive to Wisconsin and Minnesota. I’m from near HDS and while we do have Scandinavian-Americans here (and Finnish-Americans), not in large numbers like the Midwest. 

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15 minutes ago, MaryHildegard said:

Cool! Seems like Chicago might be a good location, since you’d be a (relatively) close drive to Wisconsin and Minnesota. I’m from near HDS and while we do have Scandinavian-Americans here (and Finnish-Americans), not in large numbers like the Midwest. 

Yeah, I have also taken that into account, especially since the city of Chicago was the Swedish-American capital of the U.S with a Swedish-born population larger than the second biggest city in Sweden. Still, HDS seems really awesome in many other ways, the focus on interreligious dialogue being one example. 

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11 minutes ago, Sleepless in skellefteå said:

Yeah, I have also taken that into account, especially since the city of Chicago was the Swedish-American capital of the U.S with a Swedish-born population larger than the second biggest city in Sweden. Still, HDS seems really awesome in many other ways, the focus on interreligious dialogue being one example. 

HDS is my top choice, so I agree it’s awesome :). I also like the idea of being able to take classes at other universities in the area. 

And unlike the international students I met in undergrad (elsewhere in Massachusetts) from India/China/Malaysia, you’ll be used to winter already!

 Question for anyone in this thread: Do you want to live on campus? I do (unless I go to BU, which doesn’t offer grad housing). I liked it in undergrad, I think it’ll make it easier to make friends, the apartment renting process is a hassle, and I’d have to spend a lot on furniture. But I’m 22 and currently living with my parents. 

Edited by MaryHildegard
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5 minutes ago, MaryHildegard said:

HDS is my top choice, so I agree it’s awesome :). I also like the idea of being able to take classes at other universities in the area. 

And unlike the international students I met in undergrad (elsewhere in Massachusetts) from India/China/Malaysia, you’ll be used to winter already!

 Question for anyone in this thread: Do you want to live on campus? I do (unless I go to BU, which doesn’t offer grad housing). I liked it in undergrad, I think it’ll make it easier to make friends, the apartment renting process is a hassle, and I’d have to spend a lot on furniture. But I’m 22 and currently living at home. 

I actually do, at least if there is some form of grad-housing options. The Boston living-costs  is a little bit intimidating as well. Would you prefer to stay in the Massachusetts area? 

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12 minutes ago, Sleepless in skellefteå said:

I actually do, at least if there is some form of grad-housing options. The Boston living-costs  is a little bit intimidating as well. Would you prefer to stay in the Massachusetts area? 

Yeah, that’s my preference. Although if I somehow get into BU and YDS but not HDS I’d pick YDS, unless it’s significantly more expensive. 

I’ve thought about continuing to live at home if I wind up at BU or HDS, but even though it’s not that far away, getting there by public transit takes forever and I don’t have my own car. 

I’ve heard New Haven is kind of a sketchy town once you get away from the Yale campus (and I’ve heard similar about the area around UChicago), which makes me wary of trying to find an apartment there. 

Edited by MaryHildegard
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I went to UChicago for undergrad and business school. You don't need to worry about Hyde Park. There are plenty of nice and safe places to live. It's one of the most intellectually vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in the country. Highly recommend it.

On the other hand, Chicago is generally just an awesome place to live. Tons of great neighborhoods on the north side as well.

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Glad so many people are talking here! Today was a big day for me!

Villanova: Accepted to the MTS education track, and they will have funding info around March.

BC: Accepted, 100% scholarship!!!!!!!

I'm over the moon right now.

I appreciate also the convo on housing situations. I'm not sure what I would do in Boston. I'm getting married in June, then packing up and moving somewhere, so we will need something cheap!

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1 hour ago, waltzier97 said:

Glad so many people are talking here! Today was a big day for me!

Villanova: Accepted to the MTS education track, and they will have funding info around March.

BC: Accepted, 100% scholarship!!!!!!!

I'm over the moon right now.

I appreciate also the convo on housing situations. I'm not sure what I would do in Boston. I'm getting married in June, then packing up and moving somewhere, so we will need something cheap!

Congratulations!! 

Everywhere in the Boston area is expensive, but the area around BC isn’t that bad, relatively speaking. I just went on Zillow and found a one bedroom in Allston for 1150 a month. That having been said, ask the realtor if the street is one of the undergrad party streets because BC (and BU) undergrads LOVE to party and I assume you’ll find living near that annoying. Also, if you’re renting in Brookline, be mindful that they don’t allow overnight on-street parking. 

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