Applying to Graduate Programs, (part iv): Language Study

Language study is unavoidable in these fields. I once heard Jerome Murphy O’Connor state that every Biblical scholar needed to know at least what he called the “seven basic languages- English, French, German, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic.” How should an undergrad choose his/her courses to prepare for graduate study in Religious/Biblical/ANE programs? Continue reading “Applying to Graduate Programs, (part iv): Language Study”

Tips on Applying for Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt III)

Perhaps the single most important part of the application is the statement of purpose (also called the letter of intent, among other names). The statement will vary in length, depending on whether you’re applying to a master’s program or a PhD program, as well as the school’s specific requirements. Generally speaking, however, a statement of purpose for a master’s program will usually be limited to 500-1000 words. A statement of purpose for a PhD program will likely be limited to around 1500 words. What I’m going to do here is to concentrate on PhD programs, although the advice also works for master’s programs, with a few exceptions (which I’ll try to note at the bottom). Continue reading “Tips on Applying for Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt III)”

Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt. II)

In this post I’d like to briefly discuss the admissions process for PhD programs. Not every school or even every department uses this process, but something similar probably goes on. This will also give some insight into my comment in the previous post that the departmental situation and other factors outside of one’s control are the some of the largest factors determining admission into PhD programs. I’m tempted to go so far as to say that admissions into PhD programs, for the reasons I’m about to explain, have less to do with the candidate’s merit than admissions into master’s programs do (although such a statement is a bit hyperbolic). Continue reading “Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt. II)”

Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt. I)

It’s that time of the year again, and here at FPR we (or mostly ‘I’) figured that we’d toss out a few thoughts about applying to graduate school programs in religious studies. By “religious studies” we’re casting a fairly wide net not referring to simply Religious Studies departments, but all programs where the applicant will study “religion” in some form or another (although we’re not claiming broad knowledge of the application process for all these disciplines). Furthermore, much of our discussion will be rather anecdotal. While we may even know a few statistics about the schools we attend(ed) or have applied to, even those may not reflect current trends nor be arrived at by any strict statistical calculation (‘strict’ here meaning it’s been a long time since we’ve taken a math course or studied for the GRE). Continue reading “Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt. I)”