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1 hour ago, notpartofyoursystem said:

Same--and a sizable number of those degrees are MDivs. (This is at top tier schools with full funding packages.)

Those of us with two often did an MA and another degree, resulting in closer to the hours of an MDiv. Also, degrees from non-academic focused seminaries tend to be full of not PhD preparing courses (Foundations in Missions, Vocation of Ministry, etc.) so multiple degrees can be needed to get all the courses one needs to be ready. Thus the MDiv + Thm method for some when the MDiv didn't have a lot of room for upper level electives in HB/NT and Second Temple if one is in the biblical studies area of things.

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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

On 3/10/2021 at 1:54 PM, xypathos said:

Ask for more money.

The worst thing that can happen is that they'll say no. They will never revoke an offer simply because you asked for more money.

I was offered 75% to attend Vandy but simply asked for more. I explained that I loved the school, Nashville, etc but I needed more money to commit. They asked me to wait until closer to April 15th so they got a better sense of who was/isn't coming and the director called and offered me an increase to 100%.

Was just offered 75% to attend Candler. I decided to apply for the MTS late in the game since I already have one M* degree and was banking on a PhD acceptance. I really like the program; it was the only MTS I applied to and would love to go but we just had a newborn and I’m not sure if/how we can make the finances make sense at this stage. Wondering if it’s too late to ask for more funding.Thoughts?

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Don’t have an answer for KungFuKenny, but how’s everyone else planning on handling finances?

I have 8300 saved right now, and I expect to have at least 13000 by the end of the summer. I’m really hoping I can live on campus for the first year, which would be about 7600 for the year. I’m thinking I might get the cheapest meal plan so I could occasionally eat on campus, which would be about 1500. I’m also hoping I can get a part time job, which would be about 120 a week (and if it’s work study, I can get SNAP), and doing some freelance writing for 45/50 an article. And then I hope I can get a job for next summer to help save up money for rent (likely 800/month) for the following year. I have 3k set aside to pay for undergrad loans, but since you can defer those while in grad school, I might do that and use that money to help cover rent. Does this seem doable? I’d really like to avoid more student loans. My one expense is a private student loan that’s 50 a month. I have 600 set aside for that for July 2021 - July 2022 already, so I’ll have to make sure I put money aside for 2022 - 2023. 

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Hello! I’m having trouble choosing between programs, and I was hoping you guys might be able to help me.  I want to eventually pursue a JD in Cultural Heritage Law, focusing on Islamic Artifacts, so thought it best to get a Masters in Islamic Studies/ Near Eastern Studies before doing so.  I’m looking at Yale’s MAR (2 years full time) and a regular MA in Islamic Studies from Columbia (1 year full time).  Can anyone give me any insight into why I might pursue this at a Divinity School rather than Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or if the latter is even a good program?  Thanks so much! This forum has been very helpful.

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4 hours ago, mountainold said:

Hello! I’m having trouble choosing between programs, and I was hoping you guys might be able to help me.  I want to eventually pursue a JD in Cultural Heritage Law, focusing on Islamic Artifacts, so thought it best to get a Masters in Islamic Studies/ Near Eastern Studies before doing so.  I’m looking at Yale’s MAR (2 years full time) and a regular MA in Islamic Studies from Columbia (1 year full time).  Can anyone give me any insight into why I might pursue this at a Divinity School rather than Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or if the latter is even a good program?  Thanks so much! This forum has been very helpful.

I have nothing to say about academic quality here, but the reason not to go to Columbia is it’s incredibly expensive. Their masters programs are known for being cash cow programs. Also...do you realize how hard it is to get any job as a lawyer, let alone one in a niche subject like that? Don’t do this unless you can pay for it without loans. Most lawyers have six figures of student loan debt and it is incredibly hard to pay that off. 

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7 hours ago, mountainold said:

Hello! I’m having trouble choosing between programs, and I was hoping you guys might be able to help me.  I want to eventually pursue a JD in Cultural Heritage Law, focusing on Islamic Artifacts, so thought it best to get a Masters in Islamic Studies/ Near Eastern Studies before doing so.  I’m looking at Yale’s MAR (2 years full time) and a regular MA in Islamic Studies from Columbia (1 year full time).  Can anyone give me any insight into why I might pursue this at a Divinity School rather than Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or if the latter is even a good program?  Thanks so much! This forum has been very helpful.

Well I'd definitely compare the costs, which in general I'm assuming Yale/New Haven will come out cheaper.. but I do wonder about doing Islamic Studies at YDS. Islamic studies I think isnt the strongest at Yale in general at the moment, plus with Yale Divinity's more christian focus I'm not sure you would get enough challenging stimulating classes for your needs. If this were Harvard Divinity there would be absolutely no problem, but YDS.. I'd make sure to check the past course catalogue to see if there were enough classes you'd potentially find interesting! 

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20 minutes ago, Joey_Jawad said:

Well I'd definitely compare the costs, which in general I'm assuming Yale/New Haven will come out cheaper.. but I do wonder about doing Islamic Studies at YDS. Islamic studies I think isnt the strongest at Yale in general at the moment, plus with Yale Divinity's more christian focus I'm not sure you would get enough challenging stimulating classes for your needs. If this were Harvard Divinity there would be absolutely no problem, but YDS.. I'd make sure to check the past course catalogue to see if there were enough classes you'd potentially find interesting! 

Thanks for that recommendation!  You're right, the curriculum within YDS is definitely very Christian focused while Columbias courses were more geared towards Islam and regional/ cultural studies; however the YDS requirements are way more structured than Columbia which I think is a good sign, and I was definitely able to find relevant courses.  They also seem to have good opportunities for interdepartmental study and have really strong Islamic Art resources through the History of Art department that I could take advantage of.  I'm still in undergrad, so I can change course a little bit in terms of my "interest" without having wasted too much time or resources if that makes sense ? That was a helpful suggestion thanks!  Totally agree with you about HDS, but unfortunately I was waitlisted. I guess I can hold out for that, but I think the odds of being admitted are pretty low, especially this year.  I haven't received aid info from Columbia yet, but the program director told me they were assembling a generous package whatever that means... we shall see! Thanks again!

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33 minutes ago, mountainold said:

have really strong Islamic Art resources through the History of Art department that I could take advantage of. 

HSAR at Yale is absolutely. fantastic. If you can take advantage that would be swell. Yes please do have a lookout for the columbia financial aid. When i was straight out of undergrad I wish someone had told me more firmly that a masters program that doesnt give you enough money is just not worth it. You keep thinking, 'well this prestigious program accepted me so they must want me right?' But unfunded masters programs are really cashcows as unseemly as that word might be, so I hope you can get a good offer. I'm thinking if you can find enough interesting courses at Yale, 2 years to assemble strong rec letters and take the LSAT might be a good plan as well. Hope you make the right choice. Good luck!!!

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Generous should mean free, at a minimum. Seriously, do not pay for grad school. I have a 3.4 undergrad GPA and a totally unrelated major and I didn’t take a single religion class and *I’m* not paying tuition. 

And yes, NYC is expensive. If you’ll need loans for this don’t do it. I love to go on forums like r/StudentLoans and there are SO many people with so much regret over having 70k+ in debt from grad school. The Columbia name is not worth it.

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2 hours ago, MaryHildegard said:

Generous should mean free, at a minimum. Seriously, do not pay for grad school. I have a 3.4 undergrad GPA and a totally unrelated major and I didn’t take a single religion class and *I’m* not paying tuition. 

And yes, NYC is expensive. If you’ll need loans for this don’t do it. I love to go on forums like r/StudentLoans and there are SO many people with so much regret over having 70k+ in debt from grad school. The Columbia name is not worth it.

I agree with this. Unless you plan on getting a top MBA, JD, or MD, do not take on debt for graduate school. It's a shackle that will severely hamper your freedom later in life. It's not worth it.

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3 hours ago, Chicago Guy said:

I agree with this. Unless you plan on getting a top MBA, JD, or MD, do not take on debt for graduate school. It's a shackle that will severely hamper your freedom later in life. It's not worth it.

That's good advice thank you guys!  I think I will end up following the money.  Thankfully, I won't need to take out loans for Yale, and it sounds like that is rarely the story for Columbia.  I just haven't received the official offer from them so I didn't know.  I didn't anticipate having options, and I think I just got excited at the prospects! To be fair, the curriculums are so different I felt as though I should put some thought into it ?  Thanks again!

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Major curveball: I’ve been talking to my POI at Emory GDR from when I applied to the PhD there. He says that pursuing the MTS will be unnecessary since I already have a 48 credit hour MA. He suggested completing a ThM and has committed to supervising my research paper. This is big because he’s a pretty big name in my subfield and a well respected scholar. A ThM supervised by him (along with a recommendation, hopefully) will go a long way in the next round of apps. Now I’m trying to leverage my MTS acceptance and funding into a ThM with funding at Candler. Hoping it all works out!

Relatedly, anybody have any insight on how schools are handling residency requirements next school year? Trying to figure out the logistics!

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Hi everyone! I’m wondering if anyone has practical advice/experience regarding the process of inquiring about more scholarship funding at a particular school - prior to having official funding offers at other programs. I’ve seen posts about this in other forums, but I’d appreciate thoughts from other rel. studies folks. I applied to 3 master’s programs and have received 2 acceptances with one pending (decisions to be released March 31). For one program, I’m still waiting for an official funding notification in the coming weeks, and for the other (UChicago Divinity) I received a partial scholarship but not enough for me to actually go there (congrats to the people with full scholarships/stipends!).

I’m debating whether/how to engage with UChicago about this, because I am partly hoping to be reconsidered for a larger scholarship but also curious about their decision making process for my original offer. My current faculty advisors (who both went to UChicago for their master’s) were maybe overconfident in my funding prospects there, so when I received my acceptance and scholarship offer I was honestly disappointed 😕 (For context, my undergrad is in religious studies, my GPA is ~3.96, and I’ve held a research assistantship along with doing honors independent research and a special thesis program. Since applying I also had an article accepted for publication, received a research award, and got into Phi Beta Kappa, but I don’t know of a way to casually drop this info into an email exchange haha.)

At this point I know I’ll likely go to a program other than UChicago, and this concern may be a symptom of my growing impatience, but since there are currently many unknowns as I wait for info from my other 2 programs I’m partly worried about the prospect of having 3 offers to great programs and not being able to accept any of them. Since I am essentially just waiting at the moment, if there’s anything I can do to try to respectfully self-advocate in terms of funding (while also not having official funding offers from the other programs yet) it might help put my mind at ease over the next few weeks. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions!

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On 3/20/2021 at 12:26 PM, sorenerasmus said:

Since I am essentially just waiting at the moment, if there’s anything I can do to try to respectfully self-advocate in terms of funding (while also not having official funding offers from the other programs yet) it might help put my mind at ease over the next few weeks. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions!

Hey @sorenerasmus, I'm sorry you're struggling with this, it sounds stressful! I was holding off on responding because I am definitely not an expert, but my advice would be to sit tight for now. It may come off as unprofessional, or at least impulsive, to reach out to admissions committees with new information right before decisions/funding are released. When you eventually do have all the details on your other two offers (which I'm sure you will have early this week!), then I think it is safe, in fact common practice, to reach back out to your top choice(s). You can explain the situation, expressing to 'Program X' that they are absolutely your top choice and it would be your dream to attend, but that you have received other more financially viable options* which you will not be able to turn down unless Program X ups your funding. *I know you are worried that the schools you are waiting on may not offer sizable funding packages either, but I think there are other ways to argue economical superiority (e.g. Program Y is closer to home and would not require you to relocate; Program Z is based in a city with much lower costs of living, etc.). In a way, if you are going to be requesting more funding, it may actually be ideal to do so this late in the timeline; the longer you wait, the likelier that other students will have turned down their funded offers, meaning their scholarship money is now available for people like you! This whole process is brutal, but hang in there. Everything works out in the end.

Edited by jellyfish7
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@sorenerasmus hang in there. I don't have any advice, but I believe in you to figure out a proper course of action. Seems like the advice given sounds pretty accurate from what little I know on the topic!

I'm currently working through something similar as BC is throwing down a full scholarship at me with a 10K GA for the year. I was feeling good about that until Villanova dangled the possibility of working with a specific scholar in their program for a full stipend, which would adjust my offer from a full scholarship with 8K GA for two years, to possible 17K GA per year... not really sure how/what to do with all of this as BC is my top choice, but the Villanova offer is pretty sweet if I could get it.

Anyway, all of this to say that I'm in a slightly similar situation, and I'll have you in mind!

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On 3/17/2021 at 2:06 PM, MaryHildegard said:

I have nothing to say about academic quality here, but the reason not to go to Columbia is it’s incredibly expensive. Their masters programs are known for being cash cow programs. 

I second the Columbia comment. Recently talked to a friend who said they asked for a 3k deposit to save a seat in the cohort! Maybe I read the numbers wrong but she emphasized that part. 

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1 hour ago, CafeConGabi said:

I second the Columbia comment. Recently talked to a friend who said they asked for a 3k deposit to save a seat in the cohort! Maybe I read the numbers wrong but she emphasized that part. 

I wound up having to eat 500 dollars for undergrad because I put down a deposit and then later got in off the waitlist somewhere better, but 3k is...a lot. Also I don’t think reputable grad programs even require deposits (BU doesn’t, I asked). 

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55 minutes ago, MaryHildegard said:

I wound up having to eat 500 dollars for undergrad because I put down a deposit and then later got in off the waitlist somewhere better, but 3k is...a lot. Also I don’t think reputable grad programs even require deposits (BU doesn’t, I asked). 

daaaang. that's a good chunk of money. If I remember correctly I think I made a deposit for HDS. I wanna say $500 also...? Can't remember. 

yeah. she went with the Div School in Chicago. 

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This is veering into TMI territory, but I'm really stuck so any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. Basically HDS gave me full tuition, but no stipend, whereas Chicago gave me a 10,000/year stipend and I'm wondering if HDS is worth the extra 20,000. I won't have to take out a loan, but it would deeply cut into savings.

I'm eventually hoping to get into a religious studies PhD program, and my interests are amorphous.. broadly 'religion and modernity' I guess.. secularism, intellectual history, christian zionism, evangelism in asian countries etc..

HDS pro: Prestige? to get me to a prestigious PhD program? I think I've seen more HDS grads at top PhD programs? I could be totally wrong. // wider access to classes in other department, schools?

HDS con: Boston is so expensive wow. // I wonder if the size of the student body means that it'll be hard to find mentors or teachers to get to know on an individual level.

Chicago pro: more interesting classes, for me personally. // 40% of cohort apparently ended up in a doctoral program according to stats, whereas HDS doesn't provide them. 

Chicago con: This is silly, but I am scared of the hypercompetitive, cutthroat culture. Im a complete sissy and I wilt at confrontation, so I worry I'll not be able to give my all in classes. // Less facility in getting in a top PhD? is that even a thing??

I get these might all be very trivial concerns, but I would greatly appreciate any input. Thank you so so much

 

 

Edited by Joey_Jawad
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6 hours ago, Joey_Jawad said:

This is veering into TMI territory, but I'm really stuck so any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. Basically HDS gave me full tuition, but no stipend, whereas Chicago gave me a 10,000/year stipend and I'm wondering if HDS is worth the extra 20,000. I won't have to take out a loan, but it would deeply cut into savings.

I'm eventually hoping to get into a religious studies PhD program, and my interests are amorphous.. broadly 'religion and modernity' I guess.. secularism, intellectual history, christian zionism, evangelism in asian countries etc..

HDS pro: Prestige? to get me to a prestigious PhD program? I think I've seen more HDS grads at top PhD programs? I could be totally wrong. // wider access to classes in other department, schools?

HDS con: Boston is so expensive wow. // I wonder if the size of the student body means that it'll be hard to find mentors or teachers to get to know on an individual level.

Chicago pro: more interesting classes, for me personally. // 40% of cohort apparently ended up in a doctoral program according to stats, whereas HDS doesn't provide them. 

Chicago con: This is silly, but I am scared of the hypercompetitive, cutthroat culture. Im a complete sissy and I wilt at confrontation, so I worry I'll not be able to give my all in classes. // Less facility in getting in a top PhD? is that even a thing??

I get these might all be very trivial concerns, but I would greatly appreciate any input. Thank you so so much

 

 

Those who know better can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I want to think that Chicago ranks close to HDS in terms of prestige for RelStudies....is that a misconception on my part? At the very least, I’m not sure that a degree from Chicago (as compared to one from HDS) will significantly decrease your shot at a top tier PhD...

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@Joey_Jawad HDS and UChicago are probably the two most prestigious div schools. As @KungFuKenny said, I wouldn't worry about a difference in prestige. Regarding fit, I do think your concerns about the UChicago culture are valid and important. I shared similar anxieties with a Chicago Divinity admissions rep and she confirmed that it is not a warm, collaborative culture (her exact words were "students at UoC take themselves very seriously...we are proud to be the home of 'unsafe spaces'"). Personally, my happiness and stress levels deeply influence my academic experience. Having said that, you will almost certainly find 'your people' anywhere.

Ultimately, I think what will be most clarifying for you will be to talk to div students at each institution, voice your respective concerns and hear their genuine thoughts. I know HDS has been marketing lots of opportunities to connect with current students (not sure abt UoC)—find profiles of students with similar interests/energy/background to you and reach out!

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6 hours ago, Joey_Jawad said:

This is veering into TMI territory, but I'm really stuck so any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. Basically HDS gave me full tuition, but no stipend, whereas Chicago gave me a 10,000/year stipend and I'm wondering if HDS is worth the extra 20,000. I won't have to take out a loan, but it would deeply cut into savings.

I'm eventually hoping to get into a religious studies PhD program, and my interests are amorphous.. broadly 'religion and modernity' I guess.. secularism, intellectual history, christian zionism, evangelism in asian countries etc..

HDS pro: Prestige? to get me to a prestigious PhD program? I think I've seen more HDS grads at top PhD programs? I could be totally wrong. // wider access to classes in other department, schools?

HDS con: Boston is so expensive wow. // I wonder if the size of the student body means that it'll be hard to find mentors or teachers to get to know on an individual level.

Chicago pro: more interesting classes, for me personally. // 40% of cohort apparently ended up in a doctoral program according to stats, whereas HDS doesn't provide them. 

Chicago con: This is silly, but I am scared of the hypercompetitive, cutthroat culture. Im a complete sissy and I wilt at confrontation, so I worry I'll not be able to give my all in classes. // Less facility in getting in a top PhD? is that even a thing??

I get these might all be very trivial concerns, but I would greatly appreciate any input. Thank you so so much

 

 

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. 

3) Is HDS worth the $20,000 in my savings or loans? I think that's your decision to make. I took out a small amount when I got there. Full tuition + $8,000 annual stipend was not enough for me to live in Boston. I also had to work off campus during the summer (I did my best to get away from the Harvard bubble as much as I could). 

4) As much as I want to praise HDS I can't and I must be honest about the conversations that happen on campus. We're considered the "hippie school" 😂 but lots of folks across campus find that space rewarding. I think the Chicago Div School slogan is "where the fun dies". 

5) Despite the lack of diversity in faculty (I'm a Latinx scholar) it is ABSOLUTELY possible to find/create opportunities to succeed. I found my mentor when I told him his class was intimidating during office hours haha. We also just lost Dr. Cornel West, again, so it's a huge hit for the Div School. I met with him on a couple occasions and can safely say he was a source for my own development as a Latina scholar on campus. I'll also say I met with some world-known faculty who encouraged me to dream big during our office hour conversations. 

6) This I think leads into the potential downside of being at HDS: that it's still attached to the Harvard name. I didn't realize how conditioned I became to be mistrusting of my peers because the culture of secrecy is so real! For example, I always felt like I couldn't share my ideas with my cohort because someone might snatch it and beat me to publication. Bizarre, but the feeling was still there. This of course might just be academia in general, but I never felt this at the other schools I went to. 

7) Also, performativity is taken to a completely different level. I felt it was no longer about collaborating or co-learning but rather establishing the most nuanced take of the assigned reading on Foucault. This, in turn, made me feel like I wasn't reading just to read but rather reading to find something interesting to say in class. The competitive nature of these seminars just made it difficult to drop my guard or forgive myself for simple mistakes.    

8) And don't get me started on being a Latina at Harvard hahahahahahaha... So, I will say that "my people" became the janitors and the cooks and the security personnel on campus (and a few faculty members). They're the ones who greeted me every day. They're the ones who asked me how midterms were going. They're the ones who looked like my family back home. They're the only ones I thanked at the Div School diploma ceremony because my own working-class family could not make it to my Harvard graduation. They're the ones I'll say hi to when I go back to visit one day. Them and the Spanish-speaking co-workers at the restaurant job I had. They were my community. They're the ones who saw past my Harvard exterior and zeroed-in on my humanity. It's a lot I know but I think I needed to say this. 

 9) I'm sure you know this already but make sure you have a great sense of self before you go to either campus. I know how easily the Harvard name can blow up my ego haha so it was helpful to stay true to the person I was before Harvard. I was always that indigenous-looking brown girl in class who wore huaraches and hoops and red lipstick. So, I made sure to continue that identity at Harvard. (No amount of elbow-patch jackets will ever change me hahaha.) I made sure to eat the same beans and rice I ate back home and listen to the same banda music from my childhood when I walked through Widener Library. LOTS of folks discouraged me from pursing grad school but when I was able to ground myself in my own journey I was able to make it through all the bummer moments at Harvard. It's what's gotten me through this application cycle and what will get me through the rest of my journey. : )

 

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