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UGA or Yale Divinity?


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Hi, I am a new poster, so sorry ahead of time for any mistakes.


I am currently a senior Biblical Studies major at a small evangelical college in South Georgia. My desire is to one day teach within the field of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, and so, I have applied to numerous graduate programs in order to work towards this goal. However, the two primary schools that I am interested in are Yale Divinity and the University of Georgia. I have been accepted into Yale Div's M.A.R.c program with a full ride and into UGA's M.A. in Religion program with a full ride and the promise of work in the form of an assistantship.
      My question is, which program would provide me with the most opportunity as I seek to get into a 1st tier PhD program? I realize that UGA's religion program is not exactly on the map, but they do have Dr. Friedman and have recently acquired Dr. Halpern. I imagine that their program would be smaller, allowing me to work more closely with my professors, and I have already been offered a teaching assistantship. On the other hand, Yale's program has all the prestige of Yale Divinity as well as big name scholars such as Dr. Collins and Dr. Baden. So, as I am not sure what affects a student's chances of getting accepted into a strong doctoral program, I find myself at an impasse. I know there are a lot of students on here who have already been through masters programs and faced down PhD applications, so I am seeking wisdom from you all who have gone before me!

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If you choose Yale, work very hard to network with profs and phd students in your field. The connections will help you immensely, but in a bigger program like Yale's, you really have to work to make connections.

Also, in an MDiv you're going to be doing ministry stuff. Is this a positive for you? Because I doubt it will either help or hurt your PhD apps.

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I'm a current MARc student at YDS studying Hebrew Bible. Firstly, I think you were wise to apply to UGA's program. Though you're right that it is relatively unknown, Dick Friedman and Baruch Halpern are first rate. I would not have expected a public school to have offered such generous funding for masters students (though I do see that you are in state, which probably helps). While YDS is undoubtedly much larger than the Religion department at UGA, your cohort for Hebrew Bible at YDS is probably much smaller than you might think. I believe that there are currently 3 Hebrew Bible students in my 2012-14 cohort (not counting Second Temple Judaism students who generally take the same classes as HB students). So, I have gotten to know the HB professors here quite well in my first 1.5 semesters. So, do not operate under the assumption that you will simply be some anonymous student at Yale. Additionally, Yale puts their graduates into top PhD programs every year. This year alone the second year students have received offers from top tier institutions (including Yale and Harvard). Every top-tier program in which you'd want to study HB currently has graduates from YDS: Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Hopkins, Emory, etc (I realize there are excellent programs that don't have YDS grads, like Texas, UCLA, etc., but you get my point). 


So, while UGA would be a great place to study HB, I do not believe it will offer you the same opportunities as Yale. Good luck in making your final decision. If you have any further questions about the program, feel free to PM me. 

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Thanks for the replies! I do feel that Yale would be the best choice academically, after considering their exstensive list of faculty and the reputation of the school. I am just worried about living expenses in CT. Even though Yale has waived tuition, UGA is offering $10,000 in stipend for the assisstantship. That is what has made the choice so darn hard!


wela asherateh: Thanks you for the perspective of a current student. I have spent a lot of time looking at 1st tier PhD programs, and you are right. Many of them have at least one student from YDS's MAR program, if not more than one. I will definitely PM you.

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