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UChicago vs Harvard?


augasonfarms
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Hi folks! I have been presented with a particularly difficult choice: I have been accepted to HDS for their MTS with 75% tuition and Chicago for their masters with full tuition plus an extremely generous stipend. I unfortunately have mostly maxed out my savings during undergrad and would have to take out loans to cover housing, etc., in Cambridge. I have been trawling through this forum and have found students at this crossroads before, but I am wondering if any of you have any advice for my subfield: I am interested in feminist theology & Bible. I have gotten the vibe that HDS might be a better choice for feminist theology, but I also know Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza and Karen King are both retired/retiring, so they won't have feminist theologians proper in the same way (or will they?). Given they are leaving, I think Ann Braude would be the best person to work with. At Chicago the feminist theology seems a bit more limited (is this true??), but Kristine Culp seems to be the person I would want to work with most.

 

I am wondering if there is an advantage of going to one over the other. I have had a Harvard pipe dream for many years and I feel like that is getting in the way of my ability to think clearly about this decision. I think Chicago makes the most sense financially, but barring finances, what would you all recommend given my academic interests? I am also weighing the resources within the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality area of focus at HDS vs the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies at Chicago. Ideally I would pursue a PhD afterwards.

 

Thank you so much for your help, and I hope all is well.

Edited by augasonfarms
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I get why you are contemplating, but this is hands down UChicago. Harvard's reputation is definitely glamorous. But among religious studies and theology academia, Chicago's reputation is just on par, if not better in certain fields over Harvard. 

Just consider what kind of stress you'd have to handle with the extra amount of costs in Cambridge, MA. I don't know much about Feminist Theology specifically, but Chicago will prepare you with just about any field.

Yes, Schüssler-Fiorenza and King, they are big names, and if I were in your place, I would also be contemplating. However, I'm not sure exactly what you plan on after your M* degree, but reputation of a single scholar does not affect your career in the long run. It's better to have a faculty member with a warm heart supporting you, and guiding you through your studies. A lot of PhD grads and junior faculty members on this forum have given similar recommendations in terms of reputation of the school and faculty members. 

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If the programs are that close in prestige, I would follow the money. It will cause less stress in the long run. I'm speaking as someone who is also graduating with some undergrad loans and needs to take out money for grad. I know my decision was easier than this because my top choice offered me the most money, but there were still some aspects to consider (such as John J. Collins retiring and the faculty for my track being smaller). But regardless of who is on staff, they will offer enough courses to get you where you need to be, and there may even be emeritus scholars who are retired but come back to teach occasionally, as well as visiting professors. I guess if you think it will make a big difference working with a particular scholar (i.e. you think that them knowing you might help you get into a PhD program), it may be worth considering. But if the faculty are retiring, probably not.

Edited by aalena75
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