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Grad Programs in Philosophy of Religion/Apologetics


neat
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Hey guys! I'm in the process of researching and applying to grad programs in Philosophy of Religion and Apologetics and am really agonizing about the process.  I'm interested in a multifaceted program, something that will touch on various fields like philosophy and theology.  I have an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree (Civil and Social Structures) that focused on history, philosophy, and political science from the University of Oklahoma, and am currently working for an AmeriCorps education program.  I am not yet completely sure what I want to pursue professionally- in an ideal world, I would love to write, but I am aware of the many hurdles to becoming a full time writer.  I love academia and would perhaps be interested in teaching at the university or seminary level, but am hesitant about diving in to pursue that career path.  I mention all this because I am looking for advice on any particular universities or programs that may be academically rigorous but perhaps general enough that it won't be professionally limiting.  This may be a tall order, but I wanted to see if anyone had any input. I know the divinity schools tend to get a lot of love in these threads, but don't know much about them myself. I am relatively familiar with evangelical seminaries and have also researched non-seminary options like Houston Baptist University or the Talbot School, but wanted to know if anyone out there had any other advice for me.  Thanks!

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FYI, Talbot is a seminary. The thread linked above will definitely answer questions regarding the differences between "Christian apologetics" and "philosophy of religion," which are definitely not the same thing.

 

Two things in your post which aren't addressed in that thread: A seminary education is very, very general but usually still academically rigorous enough to earn you acceptance to a PhD program. I went to Fuller (MA in theology) and am now getting a PhD in religious studies (emphasis in theology).

 

With regard to your hesitation, you should know upfront that the path to teaching at the university/seminary level is not for people who are unsure. I don't say that to discourage you at this point since you're an undergrad (or at least not yet a grad student.) But if you go on to a master's program, you should use that time to figure out as quickly as you can whether or not advanced study is for you. You should definitely not pursue a PhD unless you decide that you simply can't see yourself doing anything else. That route is really really taxing both mentally and physically, and even though a lot of people think they know what's in store before they start (I thought I did), you really don't know just how much work it is until you're doing it. It's more than just increased reading and writing and higher expectations in terms of the rigor of your ideas. There's grant and fellowship applications. Conference proposals. Publication submissions. Participation in department and university life. Academic politics. Course work, comps, and a dissertation are milestones that you complete and then you're done with them. The others are things you're going to have to deal with for the rest of your working life if you want to build a career. People do present at conferences and try to publish at the masters level, but there is a completely different pressure to do that at the PhD level. If you can't see yourself fully engaged in all of those activities in addition to spending years studying a very narrow slice of something you're interested in, then I would not recommend pursuing a PhD.

 

Like I said, you don't have to decide that now. If you think you might be interested in that route, finding a funded or partially funded masters program would be a good next step.

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Boston College has a brand new MA in theology and philosophy (jointly offered by the two departments) that you might check out.  I don't know if it's explicit in the recruiting literature they've produced, but they want a mix of people who are thinking about more advanced studies, people who want to teach at the secondary level, and people who are just looking for academic enrichment.  It might be a very good fit for you.  The catch is that they're not currently offering any funding, but you can sometimes find an on-campus job that's not attached to any particular program or department that includes tuition remission.

 

http://www.bc.edu/schools/gsas/academics/masters_programs/ma-phil-theo.html

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Boston College has a brand new MA in theology and philosophy (jointly offered by the two departments) that you might check out.  I don't know if it's explicit in the recruiting literature they've produced, but they want a mix of people who are thinking about more advanced studies, people who want to teach at the secondary level, and people who are just looking for academic enrichment.  It might be a very good fit for you.  The catch is that they're not currently offering any funding, but you can sometimes find an on-campus job that's not attached to any particular program or department that includes tuition remission.

 

http://www.bc.edu/schools/gsas/academics/masters_programs/ma-phil-theo.html

 

 

btb34, thanks for the heads up!  I really appreciate your input.

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