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Is it possible to get full funding for M.A Religious Studies


Oak Tree

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Hello everyone!

I am a law graduate from Pakistan and want to opt for masters in Religious Studies (with Islamic Studies as concentration) from US. I graduated in August 2013 with CGPA 3.87 and interned for 8 months at a think-tank where I was the focal person for a research project pertaining to Islamic finance. This year, I have also signed up for a two year intensive Arabic programme at Islamic Online University.

I have to take GRE in March. While I'll be applying for Fulbright, I want to ask if it would be possible to get full funding from any school, on my own, with this profile?

Edited by Oak Tree
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I think you would have a good shot, GRE scores will be really important though. Also, definitely depends on where you are applying and your fit into that program. I know Harvard and Chicago div offer full rides for a select number of Master's students.

Edited by tsgriffey
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Funding is absolutely available for MA-level religious studies programs - it just takes a little effort to find them.

Two religious studies programs I applied to - Florida State University and the University of Missouri - have accepted me and offered tutition waivers with modest stipends. Public schools like these will often provide the best funding opportunities, at least for the MA. Unless you are independently wealthy, divinity schools would probably be too pricey.

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Thank you folks for your kind and encouraging words. Since in Pakistan, the state schools do not offer theology or religious studies (yes, its Islamic Studies, unless you are a non-Muslim in which case you have a choice) so I had decided to choose M.A Islamic Studies for Fulbright. Nonetheless, I would like to apply for religious studies (provided I get application fee waiver since I have meagre resources which do preclude me from applying to most of the universities) but do I stand a chance for such programmes (considering the fact that I have only Islamic Studies and related courses so far).

 

 I already have a draft of PS prepared  for M.A Islamic Studies (which I intend to submit for Fulbright). I have researched a bit and these are the few universities that offer M.A Islamic Studies. These include:

 

UCLA, George Washington, Indiana University and Stanford. Out of these, wihch university will be most inclined to offer tuition fee waiver and some kind of stipend (since I cannot pay the hefty application fees for all of these)?

 

That said, considering that I am a non-native and an applicant with background of humanities, what GRE score would suffice? (I took the Magoosh practice test and had Quant 145, Verbal 150).

 

Thank you in anticipation!

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With a background in Islamic studies I think you definitely are qualified to apply to religious studies programs. In fact, this might make you more competitive since you are applying to Islamic studies subspecialties within RS - you already have a specialized course of study in that field. So, do some more research and find schools that have strong Islamic studies curricula within their religious studies departments. Those are solid schools that you have listed so far, I don't know specifics about them though. If you can't find explicit info on financial aid/app fee waiver on their website you should contact someone within that department and explain your situation so you can get a definitive answer and possibly a connection who will go out of his/her way to help you. Out of curiousity, are you hoping to go on to get a PhD? An Islamic studies prof. at my undergrad school (UCSB) told me that they especially like admitting international students for their different perspectives.

 

Regarding the GRE: good job in using Magoosh! In my experience, Magoosh was an excellent prep program and far superior to Kaplan. You should aim for at least 150 in quant (just to demonstrate reasoning ability and be above average - shouldn't be that hard from where you're at now) and as close, or past, 160 as possible for verbal. In analytical writing, a 4.5 would be the minimum that you'd want to get. Although don't take my word for it, this is just what I think and I'm no expert.

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Tsgriffey, thank you so much, I am sure your suggestions will come handy. :)

 

Yes tsgriffey, I do intend to pursue PhD after masters.

 

Since I graduated with law, I studied  courses like History of Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Law of Contract and Business Transactions, Islamic Banking, Legal Study of Quran and Legal Study of Sunnah and basic Arabic (12 credit hours).

Thanks again for giving me a clue as to my GRE scores. Lets hope I do improve. :)

Edited by Oak Tree
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Tsgriffey, thank you so much, I am sure your suggestions will come handy. :)

 

Yes tsgriffey, I do intend to pursue PhD after masters.

 

Since I graduated with law, I studied  courses like History of Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Law of Contract and Business Transactions, Islamic Banking, Legal Study of Quran and Legal Study of Sunnah and basic Arabic (12 credit hours).

Thanks again for giving me a clue as to my GRE scores. Lets hope I do improve. :)

 

To add to the list you already have, since you're interested in Islamic law, consider Harvard (Baber Johansen) and the University of Toronto (Khaled Abou El-Fadl). You can take courses with Johansen through the Divinity School, which I know is pretty liberal when it comes to funding. Toronto might be a bit more expensive if you're an international student.

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To add to the list you already have, since you're interested in Islamic law, consider Harvard (Baber Johansen) and the University of Toronto (Khaled Abou El-Fadl). You can take courses with Johansen through the Divinity School, which I know is pretty liberal when it comes to funding. Toronto might be a bit more expensive if you're an international student.

Thanks a bunch! I am really indebted to you guys for your valuable suggestions. HDS is certainly on my list now. :)

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I've had a few more thoughts. Check out UCSB's religious studies department and specifically Prof. Ahmad Atif Ahmad. He researches Islamic law and is fairly prolific in the field (I think epistemology of Sharia is his main interest). I had a class with him and he is a great guy (he wrote a letter of rec

for me).

Also, for analytical writing GRE prep make sure to utilize the Scoreitnow program that ETS has. I believe it is 10 dollars (I just remembered how tight money is for you though) and was a very accurate predictor for me.

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Thank you so much tsgriffey for your cooperation.I'll definitely check with UCSB guys.

I am a second time test taker (taking after 2 years) and the last time I took my GRE, I scored 4 (I know thats low). I'll definitely look into this scoreitnow option. :)

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Hi Oak Tree, NYU's Religious Studies MA often offers students considerable financial aid. The program is tiny (2 full-time faculty and only 3 students per cohort) but has very few recquired courses, so you could spend a lot of time in the Middle Eastern studies dept and take classes all over NYU.

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