Gods, Demigods, and my little cell...

This evening, I finally made some decisions about grad school.
Although I love the idea of getting financial aid for two years while I work on an MFA and write the Great American Novel, I am also enamored of the idea of having a job when I am done with my degree. Because very few MFAs lead to lucrative book deals, I have decided to pursue a PhD. I also have decided that getting a traditional PhD in Religious Studies is not the best path for me, because I am unlikely to suddenly acquire the proficiency in French and German that such a degree requires.


(Artist's rendering of the author pursuing a traditional PhD in Religious Studies)

I am currently looking at two different programs to avoid that unpleasantness.

Claremont Graduate University
Claremont is offering a very interesting Religion PhD program based on an interdisciplinary model. They refer to it as "academic trespassing." The program description says "by trespassing, we mean migrating across disciplines as theoretical or applied questions demand. Or jumping boundaries between theory and application, as when addressing a problem outside the academy leads to new discoveries in academic terms." To get in, you have to be recommended by a Claremont grad, which one of my mom's friends just happens to be (ahh, the sweet stench of privilege). Although the Claremont program offers a very lucrative financial aid package (Full tuition plus $20K a year), I am actually more interested in going to...

Baylor University

The Sociology department at Baylor offers a PhD in the Sociology of Religion. The big selling point of this program is that the program chair is Dr. Rodney Stark. I based my study of the Bahai conversion process on a certain aspect of the conversion model that he and John Lofland developed while studying the Moonies in San Francisco. That article, plus his 1996 book entitled, "The Rise of Christianity" helped refocus my study of religion overall. He is something of a demigod in my academic pantheon... not on a par with the Venerable Bede or John Milton, but impressive nonetheless (see below).


Venerable Bede - god.

John Milton - god.

Rodney Stark - close, but not yet a god.

I began the application process for Baylor this evening (the deadline for Claremont was December 16th - they are my next year fall-back plan). The general deadline for the graduate school is February 15th, so I have time to get the letters of recommendation and take the GRE. The first few weeks of the semester will be busy, and then we wait...

3 comments:

Nerdygirl said...

May the various Academic Pantheon be with you...

Levi said...

What are gods, really, but micro-machines in reverse?

Clayton said...

tangental
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/40984

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