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Religion--Harvard MTS vs BU PhD vs Rice PhD


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I am applying to graduate studies in religion, and have got a offer from Harvard Master program( with 100% tuition scholarship, which means I only have to pay for my living expenses and health insurance) and two PhD offers from Boston University(tuition scholarship, covered health insurance, and living stipend of $20,000 per year) and Rice University (tuition scholarship, and living stipend of $16,000 per year). 


My parents and lots of friends were obviously attracted by the fame of Harvard and suggested me to go there, while I admires my prospective tutor in BU( there is a good match between us) and think a PhD offer is more valuable than a Master. However, I am worried about the placement in BU since it seems not good. 


Can anyone give me some advice?


Thanks a million!

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I did some undergraduate work at BU and was in general not a very big fan of the school. It seemed (and still does, as I still live 3 blocks away) as a place for upper-middle class white kids to stumble through in a drunken stupor on the way to a business degree and a soulless career in middle-management. Not much different than your large public research university (UMass Amherst, for example), but three times the price. I don't know how it applies to the graduate program. 


As a undergraduate at Harvard Extension and as a Special Student at Harvard GSAS focusing on the history of medieval Europe, I have to say I love the Div School. I'm actually currently in a struggle between choosing the MTS program and the MAPSS from UChicago. If you're going to the visiting week in April, I'd certainly be willing to talk, but basically it's a vibrant academic community full of a lot of smart (if not particularly worldly) people. Also be aware that a prior master's degree is a boon both to PhD applications (if you were to continue down that route) and the job hunt, and it gives you a relatively easy bail-out if you turn out to hate academia, which does happen.


With respect to the H-Bomb, as it is called, a lot of Harvard prestige is faff, and your actual work carries far more weight and will be judged at a higher standard. That said, both at HDS and GSAS, the teaching staff is without exception excellent. The library system, not a thing people think a lot about, is also beyond words. I honestly don't know if I can live without it at this point.


Hope that helps!

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I wouldn't put too much stock in the prestige of Harvard, though it's certainly a consideration.  The fact that the others are PhD offers, with stipends on top of tuition, would be a no-brainer for me, but that's a personal decision.  I happen to absolutely love Rice (I went for undergrad but married a grad student), and when I was looking at schools (again, for undergrad and not grad), the environment and supportive atmosphere is what made me choose Rice, over prestige of Ieague schools.  In the south, Rice is very well regarded, though I know it doesn't have as much name recognition in the North (where I am from).


Ignoring my bias towards Rice, which is an amazing school, I would go for one of the PhD offers over the masters, unless what you want to do in your career really only needs a masters.  You will be getting a stipend and have more job opportunties at the end, and if you really hate it, you can leave the program with a masters.  I don't know much about BU vs Rice, but I would ignore the small difference in stipend (Houston is one of the least expensive cities to live in) and focus on academic fit with advisor and job placement rates.

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Dear telkanuru and Lypiphera,

It is really nice of both of you! Your information and suggestions are very helpful for me:)

I would consider very seriously about your opinions and once I made the final decision I would send message to you:)

Thanks a million :)

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