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UT New Testament, Christian Origins, Ancient Christianity

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Does anyone have much familiarity with UT-Austin's program in NT, Christian Origins, and Ancient Christianity? I am interested in the social world of the NT, performance criticism, and intertextuality. Drs. White and Friesen have significant overlap in my interests. I know the program is newer and have heard it is very much up and coming. Is anyone currently pursuing MA/PhD work there? Having a significant background in NT (BA and MA), how much MA work would I expect to do before moving into doctoral level work? What does funding look like there?

Any information from an 'insider' would be greatly appreciated.

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  • 2 months later...

The funding is 16-18k + medical for five years, and there are some annual university fellowships that go above this. Their program is up and coming and, unlike some other public schools w/ this area of study, won't be losing their big guns within the next few years. Their newest, Dr. Kaplan, is supposed to be the cat's pajamas in OT/Second Temple. In addition, they will be doing more hiring in the program within the next little while.


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Woah, this was posted a while ago. A colleague just forwarded this to me and asked me to weigh in.

Nelder23, I'm currently a Ph.D. student in the program. Thanks for your interest! You raise some good questions that I'll try to address.

1) The funding is generous and ample. We have full tuition, medical insurance, a guaranteed stipend for the year with the possibility of summer-time fellowships. Whereas other religious studies programs at state university's are drying up, UT's is just coming into bloom. MBIGrad touched on this.

2) All of the faculty, not just in the Ancient Mediterranean Religion specialization, are welcoming and open. One of the reasons we attracted some really big name scholars, like Prof. Hackett, to UT is the collegial atmosphere of the program. Tom Tweed, although he's a specialist in American religious history, is one of the go to people for issues of method and theory. Also, as you probably know, Profs. Friesen and White are extremely happy here and producing some really interesting work; for example, they're both working on volumes for the Hermeneia commentary series (Philemon and the Revelation of John).

3) We are currently searching for two more faculty members, one in classical Judaism (open rank) and another in Biblical Greek (i.e., Philo, Josephus, NT and ECL, etc.).

4) In terms of MA work, every student earns an MA on the way to the PhD. Rather than offering a terminal MA, the RS department only accepts folks with the offer of full funding for five years. After completing the MA, there's no separate application process to get into the PhD program. You should know that every graduate student in the department has a master's degree already, but it sounds like you're already working on one.

I'd encourage you to reach out to both Profs. Friesen and White, if you intend to apply. They're really friendly and love answering questions about the program. Feel free to message me, if you have any other questions.

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MBI and servant of the book (I'm taking the liberty to presume this a fair translation of your moniker...),

Thank you both for the information. I had (obviously) posted this a while ago and have since had a cordial e-mail correspondence with both Drs. White and Friesen. They were both really friendly and extremely willing to answer my questions and dialogue about my interests and how they fit with UT's program. I am hoping to meet with one or both of them at SBL in November to discuss the program further.


perhaps you can answer some questions about the general population of students in the program. I was curious as to where graduates of the program intend to pursue positions upon matriculation. Obviously there is no placement data yet, making this information is a little bit more difficult to come by. Are there many students who intend on seeking employment in more 'evangelical' institutions--seminaries and Christian universities? On a completely different note, do most students get ample teaching opportunities during their time in the program? I was a little fuzzy on how the stipends related to TA and RA positions. Do you have any idea on the general stats of applicants in regards to GRE, GPA, what kinds of institutions they are coming from, etc? You had mentioned that everyone in the program has a masters degree (I completed my MA in the Spring), do many have more than one degree? And are most MA/THM types? Or are there a number of students coming in with MDivs? Finally, does the program have a set number of students they accept per specialization? I'm trying to get general idea of where I stand amongst the competition at UT...

Thanks for the info above; I look forward to hearing more!

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