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Starting an MDiv with a PhD in hand (i.e., changing career tracks)


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I'll be finishing up a research-oriented PhD in psychology from a big university in the spring of 2013, and I've slowly come to the realization that I'm never going to love what I do if I stay in my field. For reference, my areas of expertise is research design, statistics, and social influence. It's been a long road to get my degree. Along the way, I've learned a lot about myself. I also got a master's in clinical psychology and another in experimental psychology. But I've never really been satisfied with what I'm doing. I always thought it would happen, but it didn't. And I don't want to spend the next 30 years doing something that I'm not excited to get out of bed about.

I've always had the idea of an MDiv at the back (and sometimes the front) of my mind. I'm hoping that it will be what I'm looking for. I'm planning on applying to PTS, Candler, and possibly Vandy, YDS, and Chicago. I don't want another PhD, just an MDiv. I've been extremely fortunate so far, in that I've not had to accrue any debt because of tuition remission scholarships and stipends (and my wife has also worked throughout; she's very supportive, to say the least). I'd like to continue this pattern if I can, and I don't mind working part time in some capacity. I'm 30 now. I should probably get a real job at some point anyway... I have a sufficient GPA to get at least some scholarship consideration (3.84 undergrad, 3.99 grad), but I'm a little worried that the admission/financial aid team might look at my application and deny funding because I already have a terminal degree. I might qualify for some denominational aid (I'm a Presbyterian), especially if I end up at PTS, but my concerns are similar there too (and Candler is probably my top choice at this point anyway).

Here are my questions:

Is anybody else coming to the table as a career changer or has anyone completed an MDiv after years of doing something else? How has the experience been for you? In terms of financial aid? The transition? Anything that was good/bad about the experience? Any thoughts would be appreciated.


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I'm not a career changer, but when I was at PTS, there were quite a few of them. I think it's actually an advantage for you, especially since you'll have a Ph.D. which other academics will respect. I think you have a great background and am sure PTS will be generous with you.

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