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Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Religion & Philosophy


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I've been beating the bushes searching for a sympathetic soul.

I am trying to determine the best fit for me. I started out only looking at the Sociology of Religion but now I'm open to the idea of Religious Studies (Comparative Religion) . I do like the idea of inter-disciplinary approaches but there has got to be a down-side. Now I've looked at PhD programs at seminaries and such where I could tailor something with the sociology department.

To make a long story short; My wife just finished a doctorate in nursing practice and asked me if I went to grad school what would I do. ("now it's your turn.") I said I'd earn an advanced degree in the Sociology of Religion. A few days later I started researching. Baylor University comes to the top of the list.

I have been using Google to search for a graduate program where I can earn a doctorate in the Sociology of Religion. I've not been in school full time in 30 years. Back then I earned a BA, double majoring in Sociology and Anthropology. I had a fair background in math so I aced social statistics. I went on to get a BS in computer science. I have worked at IBM most of the time since; all the while indulging my true interests by church-hopping, reading, writing, surfing the internet, and taking a sabbatical to teach and coordinate religious education.

Long term I would like to turn my attention to research in the relationships between the many faith groups and the other institutions of the societies in which they exist. In my spare time I have followed Barna's studies, the Pew Forum, religion-online, religion news writers, and formed my own company to create on-line surveys. My current interest and spare-time work has been around the issue that faith groups perceive themselves unable to effectively quantify and measure spiritual maturity.

I feel I need a PhD to accomplish what I believe I have been called to do because I have found that in life one can be extremely wise, discerning and knowledgeable but people are much more likely to take one's contributions seriously if one has the credentials. Beyond this I also find that the more scholarship one is exposed to, the more probable that the contributions will be creative and effective.

I have some experience teaching at the high school level. I know I would enjoy it even more and be more effective in direct proportion to the degree the average student wants to be there. I suspect university students are more willing to be in the classroom than these younger ones with whom I have been dealing.

Baylor has the most courses that focus on the Sociology of Religion; Purdue is a distant second. The problem is that our daughter has MS and for her to visit us in Waco, Texas in the summer presents a problem (not to mention my spouse is reluctant to endure the heat there either). MS patients need to stay cool.

In the years since college I have worked in the computer industry while pursuing my true interests by church-hopping, reading, writing, surfing the internet, and taking a sabbatical to teach and coordinate religious education.

Does anyone on this forum have expertise in the area of grad school for those with hopefully another good 30 years of life (my dad is 81 and still raising beef cattle and logging walnut trees).

Thank you for granting me a few moments of your attention.

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Couple questions:

1. What was your Undergraduate GPA(s) like for both degrees? (the first being in related fields is obviously more relevent, but a high GPA in Computer Science would also go the distance in showing a naturally gifted mind).

2. Do you know any languages?

Honestly, if you have been out of college for a very long time, I doubt you would be able to secure a Ph.D spot as-is. I would recommend getting either an MA in sociology or a MTS/MAR in something to effect of "religion and the social sciences" then using that as a basis to apply to Ph.D programs. Harvard Divinity School is your best chance to concentrate in such a field. If your GPA is above a 3.5 I would recommend applying to HDS.

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