Good theological graduate programs


#41

What do people with religious studies degree usually end up doing for careers, and how does that compare to those who major in intl. relations? I know what I'd like to do, but I don't know which would line up better with those goals.


#42

[quote="JReducation, post:7, topic:196465"]
I'm sorry, I don't know what GTU and CTU are. I don't know if the Dominican House of studies is an accredited graduate school. It's a very good theologate. But there are some theologates that are not accredited graduate schools. For the lay person, accreditation is more important than it is for a religious or a cleric. For example, ecclesial degrees such as STL, STD, JCL, JCD are not always accredited degrees, but it does not matter, because you would not be using them in a secular enviornment.

You can attend Franciscan University, Notre Dame, Boston College, Catholic University, Washington Theological Union, John Paul II Institute, Berkley and find that they have very good theology programs. They do not offer the same Master's that I got. It's a two year Master's, usually an MA, M.Th. or MRE. These are professional master's degrees. They are not meant to form a theologian. They are designed for someone who is going into some field of ministry. That may be what you're looking for.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Hi Br. JR!

Nice to see you in this thread again! I am also looking for a seminary near our place. I'm fom the Philippines by the way. Being an Evangelical, I am planning to pursue an M.Div. major in Religious Education in the Asian Seminary of Christian Ministries. It's a pentecostal seminary. Moreover, as I am also very interested in Catholic theology, I was also planning to enroll at the Don Bosco Center of Studies, which is a Salesian seminary that is very near my home. In fact, one of the faculty members who also teaches in Jerusalem but is now in Rome taking his SSD, is my friend. They offer a civil degree in MRS. Just like the M.Div. at ASCM, it would also take me another 3 years of study. What do you think of this plan?


#43

[quote="jbach, post:39, topic:196465"]
What was the major you ended up getting a degree in, then? And what are you doing now for a career?

[/quote]

I did not pursue graduate study, and I'm glad that I did not. I earned a BA with a double major in political science and theology. I supplemented my majors with independent research, conferences and other programs, and a senior thesis.

A year after graduation, I have worked in a bank, taken a few classes to help qualify me to teach theology at the high school level, and published an article. I am now (hopefully) close to landing a position more in keeping with what I studied--an editor for a Catholic publishing house. I realize this isn't a fantastic outcome for a graduate of ND, but my degree and the tanking economy certainly haven't made things easy.

Needless to say, most employers don't know what to do with a candidate who has a bachelor's degree in the liberal arts, much less a master's or a doctorate. I've come to believe that no number of prestigious degrees can make someone more "employable," except in very esoteric fields such as academic research and medicine, particularly in our current economic state.

Before pursuing graduate-level studies, particularly in the liberal arts or social sciences, I'd suggest anyone be VERY clear on what they hope to accomplish with the degree. Simply put, don't pursue a PhD in theology if you don't want to be a professor, or if you have little to no idea of what job prospects are for professors in your field and what an academic career entails. It's possible to continue reading and studying theology without going to graduate school and while working in entirely different fields...that's my experience, anyway.


#44

[quote="Rach620, post:43, topic:196465"]
Before pursuing graduate-level studies, particularly in the liberal arts or social sciences, I'd suggest anyone be VERY clear on what they hope to accomplish with the degree. Simply put, don't pursue a PhD in theology if you don't want to be a professor, or if you have little to no idea of what job prospects are for professors in your field and what an academic career entails. It's possible to continue reading and studying theology without going to graduate school and while working in entirely different fields...that's my experience, anyway.

[/quote]

I haven't personally found hard-and-fast information on job prospects for theology PhDs or pay rates or anything. I did research the BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook and found that postsecondary teachers can see "faster than average" job growth through 2018 thanks to retirements and new job openings but that's still pretty vague.

Talking with my spiritual director was enlightening in that he reiterated (as a friend had told me previously) that I cannot predict the future and have no idea of what jobs will be like. It also reminds me of my campus minister who told me to not worry and "follow my heart". The basic gist I get out of this is "go for it" and trust in God.

I guess some background would be good here: since my freshman year of college (I graduate in a week) I had a desire to want to teach as a professor...not research, but teach. I considered history at first but eventually abandoned this. But during my junior year my mom had me do a very simple exercise with her: I close my eyes and the first thing that comes to my head is what I should do with my life. And the only word that came to mind was "theology". As time went on and I kept thinking and praying I felt drawn to teaching theology at the collegiate level. I couldn't really see myself doing anything else.

But the huge sticking point for me now is money. Since I feel called to marriage I want to make sure that I make enough money to raise a family but I worry if this is possible or not as a theology professor. One, because (after speaking with my experienced philosophy professor) job availabilities in the humanities are always hard to come by; two, because as a priest once asked me: how am I supposed to raise a family on the salary of a theologian; and three, even if there are jobs will they pay enough?

I'm curious if my worry over money is superficial or one that is indeed a serious concern I have to take into consideration. I guess it's also because I've never really contemplated how dedicated I am to studying theology. I know I could do it but I never considered how strong my drive is to do so.

The important thing is that when I hear about the sorry state of Catholic education I want to do something about it. So who knows? My friend did say I could audit classes at CTU and see if I truly like the subject or not.


#45

I'm going to respond to a few things you said just to share some information that helped me. My intention is not at all to discourage, even though I know it sounds like I'm playing devil's advocate. As an alum of a Catholic university in need of a huge infusion of orthodox Catholic scholars, believe me when I say that I share your hope to help change Catholic higher ed in this country. It's a worthy endeavor. But just because it needs doing doesn't mean that it was something I was called to do. I know that God calls us to sacrifice, but simply the academic career path was incompatible with the vocation I knew He was calling me to. Above all, you need to trust God, discern His will, and do it. No one can tell you what His will is, least of all little old me!

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:44, topic:196465"]
I haven't personally found hard-and-fast information on job prospects for theology PhDs or pay rates or anything. I did research the BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook and found that postsecondary teachers can see "faster than average" job growth through 2018 thanks to retirements and new job openings but that's still pretty vague.

[/quote]

That data is not that helpful for your specific situation, as it lumps together all of the job prospects in higher education across ALL fields. If you'll look at the link I posted earlier re: grad school, it has some specific and anecdotal information about career prospects for PhD's in the humanities. That is what you are going to need to look at, as it will be worlds away from the data on career prospects in up-and-coming and technological fields.

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:44, topic:196465"]
I guess some background would be good here: since my freshman year of college (I graduate in a week) I had a desire to want to teach as a professor...not research, but teach.

[/quote]

Congrats on graduating! Let me say this...it is pretty much impossible to land a professorship and only teach and not do research. Jobs in higher education, depending on where you go, can often focus more on research than they do on teaching, though this will not necessarily be the case at all institutions. You can't be a professor who doesn't research, but teaches. Research and publications are how scholars of any kind establish their credentials. Google the curriculum vitae of your favorite current theologian/theology professor and see what I mean.

Like I said in an earlier post, I'd really suggest talking to some theology professors at universities you'd imagine yourself wanting to teach at some day, and asking about an average day/week, what composes most of their workload, how much pressure to research and publish they receive...It could be very eye-opening for you. If you really just want to teach, why not try to teach in Catholic high schools?

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:44, topic:196465"]
But the huge sticking point for me now is money. Since I feel called to marriage I want to make sure that I make enough money to raise a family but I worry if this is possible or not as a theology professor. One, because (after speaking with my experienced philosophy professor) job availabilities in the humanities are always hard to come by; two, because as a priest once asked me: how am I supposed to raise a family on the salary of a theologian; and three, even if there are jobs will they pay enough?

[/quote]

I know that it's been possible for a lay theologian to raise a family on a professor's salary, but it is not easy and it's a long time to get to that point, after years of living on a PhD candidate's meager stipends. Also, with more and more universities hiring professors on an adjunct basis rather than offering tenure-track positions, salaries (and future job prospects) become even more limited. In my research and experience, it is generally necessary for one spouse to work while the other pursues graduate study so that the family can be supported by some income.

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:44, topic:196465"]
I'm curious if my worry over money is superficial or one that is indeed a serious concern I have to take into consideration. I guess it's also because I've never really contemplated how dedicated I am to studying theology. I know I could do it but I never considered how strong my drive is to do so.

[/quote]

Money is always a concern for the layperson. Families have to deal with very real costs, especially husbands/future husbands who want to provide for their families. Concerns about financial security can be taken too seriously by people seeking to accumulate wealth, but in my experience these concerns are more often taken too lightly by people who have not had to ever worry about money before or who have never supported themselves on a paycheck. (I've been there and done that, believe me!)

So what are your plans after graduation this week, Lotus? Are you weighing grad school offers or job searching?


#46

[quote="Rach620, post:45, topic:196465"]
I'm going to respond to a few things you said just to share some information that helped me. My intention is not at all to discourage, even though I know it sounds like I'm playing devil's advocate. As an alum of a Catholic university in need of a huge infusion of orthodox Catholic scholars, believe me when I say that I share your hope to help change Catholic higher ed in this country. It's a worthy endeavor. But just because it needs doing doesn't mean that it was something I was called to do. I know that God calls us to sacrifice, but simply the academic career path was incompatible with the vocation I knew He was calling me to. Above all, you need to trust God, discern His will, and do it. No one can tell you what His will is, least of all little old me!

[/quote]

I'm starting to think the same thing myself. I know that I'm called to marriage so this is the overarching vocation that I need to attend to, and for me that includes getting jobs that actually pay well. It seems increasingly so that being a professor is not totally compatible with this. At the very least (at least for the time being) I do want to teach in some capacity. I'd be cool with secondary education and I figure a business background would be very useful.

That data is not that helpful for your specific situation, as it lumps together all of the job prospects in higher education across ALL fields. If you'll look at the link I posted earlier re: grad school, it has some specific and anecdotal information about career prospects for PhD's in the humanities. That is what you are going to need to look at, as it will be worlds away from the data on career prospects in up-and-coming and technological fields.

I agree but unfortunately there isn't a lot out there on theological jobs. I also looked at those links (if I'm thinking of the same thing) and they were indeed sobering. That's what is making me rethink things re: careers. And again I've been told before I might be better cut-out for secondary-level education.

Congrats on graduating! Let me say this...it is pretty much impossible to land a professorship and only teach and not do research. Jobs in higher education, depending on where you go, can often focus more on research than they do on teaching, though this will not necessarily be the case at all institutions. You can't be a professor who doesn't research, but teaches. Research and publications are how scholars of any kind establish their credentials. Google the curriculum vitae of your favorite current theologian/theology professor and see what I mean.

Oh and I agree. One of my classes this semester was taught by a PhD student who chose my school specifically because they aren't as heavy on the research side of things as other business schools.

Like I said in an earlier post, I'd really suggest talking to some theology professors at universities you'd imagine yourself wanting to teach at some day, and asking about an average day/week, what composes most of their workload, how much pressure to research and publish they receive...It could be very eye-opening for you. If you really just want to teach, why not try to teach in Catholic high schools?

Maybe re: Catholic schools. Again money is the big issue but this might work for me.

I know that it's been possible for a lay theologian to raise a family on a professor's salary, but it is not easy and it's a long time to get to that point, after years of living on a PhD candidate's meager stipends. Also, with more and more universities hiring professors on an adjunct basis rather than offering tenure-track positions, salaries (and future job prospects) become even more limited. In my research and experience, it is generally necessary for one spouse to work while the other pursues graduate study so that the family can be supported by some income.

Understood. And this might explain why so many theologians are priests, bishops, religious, etc. because it makes more sense financially I guess.

Money is always a concern for the layperson. Families have to deal with very real costs, especially husbands/future husbands who want to provide for their families. Concerns about financial security can be taken too seriously by people seeking to accumulate wealth, but in my experience these concerns are more often taken too lightly by people who have not had to ever worry about money before or who have never supported themselves on a paycheck. (I've been there and done that, believe me!)

This is something that worries me whenever I see all these art students, music students, humanities students, etc. because I ask "how can someone possibly find a job with a major like that?" Now maybe it's because I went to a business school which heavily focuses on being "realistic" but maybe there's some truth to this belief I hold.

So what are your plans after graduation this week, Lotus? Are you weighing grad school offers or job searching?

Thank you for asking! This week is our "senior week" so just relaxing for now. Still need to clean, pack, etc.


#47

[quote="LotusCarsLtd, post:46, topic:196465"]

This is something that worries me whenever I see all these art students, music students, humanities students, etc. because I ask "how can someone possibly find a job with a major like that?" Now maybe it's because I went to a business school which heavily focuses on being "realistic" but maybe there's some truth to this belief I hold.

[/quote]

I was an art major as an undergrad. I knew I would never make money, but it was a passion I had. So I taught art for 8 years. Then I discovered, through art, and music, a new passion, liturgy and theology. So I went back to school and earned 3 grad degrees in theology and ministry, knowing that I would never make money. But it is a passion.

I was fortunate that my husband as a good job with a good pension. He is now retired from his original profession and we both work for the Church. Not much money, but it is what we love, and for us this is more important. I am a Pastoral Associate and do some teaching on the side for the diocese and some other workshops and I do some writing for journals...but nothing that really brings in a lot of money. But doing these things does bring in more money than doing adjunct teaching at one of our local Catholic colleges (there are several in our area). You probably could make more money teaching theology at a Catholic HS. We have three theology teachers at our HS and they all support families.


closed #48

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