PhD Thoughts…

Classes today went well – I’m still enjoying them, despite the ton of homework. One interesting thing was that I managed to catch Dr. B (Dean of my school) in his office after my Hebrew class to talk to him about getting a PhD after my masters. He had a lot to recommend and discuss about it – basically he suggests attending a different school to do PhD work, and he recommended choosing a school that was from a slightly different tradition. Asbury is Wesleyan-Arminian, and Dr. B chose to go to Union Theological Seminary, which is Reformed, for his PhD. The reason for doing so is to give yourself a broader perspective on the various traditions in Christian studies. He recommends getting your masters at a place that you can trust to support your own position, but then branch out during your PhD. He talked about various programs, both in the US and the British Isles, which is a bit different.

The breakdown:

US – I would need 75-90 graduate-level credit hours to get into a PhD program. I would have to apply to get into a program, which, depending on the school, would be more or less competitive. I would attend some classes and do a dissertation. Where I would attend would depend on what I want my focus to be: Old Testament or New Testament. Some schools have stronger programs than others, and I would really want to investigate how strong the department’s professors are in various subjects. For example, Princeton has excellent professors in both OT and NT, but Duke has one excellent professor who focuses on Paul. So really, it’s very important to pay attention to the professors that you’ll have before you identify where you want to attend. Some of the top schools are Princeton, Emory, Yale, Union, Notre Dame, etc.

England – They don’t care how many credit hours you have, as long as you have a masters degree, so I could go there with my minimum 60 credit hours Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies and have no problem getting into a PhD program. Also, their PhD is entirely dissertation – no classes. You connect with a professor, ask them to be your advisor, and write your dissertation under their guidance. Dr. B even said that if you contact the professor ahead of time and you both agree that it would be a good fit in terms of advisor/student, the professor will often go to the school and ask them to let the student into the program. The programs are more diverse, apparently, and also less competitive. Top schools are Oxford and Cambridge (obviously); slightly lesser schools are Sheffield, Manchester, Aberdeen, etc.

So a lot to think about over the next couple years, and some research to be done. 🙂

On a less scholarly note, the Fredrickson Library Bookcart Drill Team. 😀


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