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MA at Chicago Divinity - Tips? Advice? Insights?


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Hey everyone. I am looking to get into the MA program at the University of Chicago's Divinity School. I am trying to figure out some of the "must haves" but I was wondering if anyone had any insights about the school, the staff, and admissions in general. What are expected GRE scores like? Is it really that expensive compared to others? What about funding? And if you go, do you like it?

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I graduated from the MA program in June and really loved my time there. I'm now in a PhD program elsewhere and I definitely miss a lot about my time in Hyde Park. That said, it's definitely not for everyone and it's quite different from most other divinity schools.

 

In terms of MA admission, I don't think there are any "must haves" beyond the basics of a reasonable undergraduate performance, a decent verbal score on the GRE, and a statement of purpose that expresses an interest in religion in a compelling way. I remember when I applied someone in my university's career office who knew what she thought to be the ethos of the U of C looked at my original statement (which was pretty focused on my specific academic interests within the history of Christianity) and told me to add some "religious studies" theory. I think I ended up mumbling something about Durkheim, but in retrospect I think it's more important (unless you are in the field of history of religions) to talk about various faculty who interest you, the opportunities to take classes in the broader university, your academic interests, and how you foresee developing them at Chicago, etc. They're not expecting you to be a religious studies scholar already coming in.

 

In terms of finance, my understanding is that most accepted students receive a 50% tuition scholarship to begin with and that generally funding increases from there, up to full tuition with a stipend. This page outlines the different forms of funding available to students: http://divinity.uchicago.edu/divinity-school-aid. I think this is where the U of C loses some students to other places like Harvard and Yale.

 

I don't know if you're at all interested in an MDiv, but the degree is just as academically-focused as the MA with some extra ministry classes. Before I applied, a professor had strongly encouraged me toward the MDiv, in part because the funding is often better.

 

If you have specific questions about faculty, classes, disciplines, etc., I'd be happy to answer them.

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Here's some data the dean of the school provided for me when I met with her last summer:

 

UChicago Admissions Info (Based on Interview with Dean Owens)

 

  • Average GPA: 3.5-3.6
  • Funding for MA
    • 2 Fellowships with stipend
    • 30% of Tuition
    • 4-5 full awards
  • Test Scores:
    • Verbal: 160 verbal minimum
    • Analytic Writing: 5.5-6 minimum
  • 200 Applicants for PhD - 20 or 21 accepted
  • Looking for unique project
    • Want to have questions in mind, not just a body of knowledge to comprehend
  • School has good disability support
    • Flexible
    • Creative with resources
  • Has opportunities to take language
    • FLAS awards
  • Possible summer funding
  • Statement of Purpose
    • MUST ARTICULATE QUESTIONS
    • Point out faculty with whom you would like to work
    • Note the methodological approaches of these scholars and why it is a good fit
  • Harvard and Yale give more money
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While this is concerning the MA, I'll add some basic info on the MDiv that the director shared with me:

Approximately 75 applicants every year. Out of which, offers will be extended to 30-35. From that pool, they aim to have 12-15 matriculate.

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