Degree Eqivalence?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, May 30, 2005.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hey gang!

    I saw the discussion about the "ThM w/without Thesis" and it brought a point about my education to mind.

    If one can get a ThM w/out thesis,

    If this ThM is generally 24-30 sem. hrs,

    If this ThM is done post-MDiv;
    then, if someone has a Master of Arts in Religion in "The History of Christian Thought" from an RA & ATS University Graduate School of Religion that is 42 sem. hrs. w/languages; CAN THIS SAID MAR BE CONSIDERED AS EQUIVALENT TO THE ThM?

    Let me know what you think. This should stir some good discussions.

    I really don't want to say that what "I have is equivalent to the ThM" if it is not. A little help is needed to "clear my head" & to "clear the air."

    I would really like to here from Broadus, UZTHD, Dr.Bob, paidaigogos, and others who have many advanced degrees and/or an academic background.

    Thanks,

    sdg!

    rd
     
  2. Rhetorician

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    FYI!!

    The MAR was done post-MDiv.

    rd
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    I don't think so because the ThM is a academic degree which requires the discipline and examination of researching and writing skills. I think any post-graduate degree needs to have a substantial original writing requirement to assess thinking, research, and writing abilities.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Pastor Larry,

    Thanks for the response. I always appreciate your insightful and thoughtful comments. Your experience and academic credentials have made you truly wise.

    If I have done 42 post-MDiv hrs. in one area of research, "The History of Christian Thought;" and someone else has done a ThM "without thesis" and only done 24-30 hrs; how is it that my MAR is not equivalent to their ThM under those circumstances?

    That it my question. I may not have "spun it" or explained it properly above.

    The "education" may be equal although the MAR IS NOT worth what the ThM is worth in academic circles.

    I am trying to argue "apples to apples" or "oranges to oranges." But, in this case it my very well be that my arguement may be "apples to oranges." Although, I will probably remain rather adament until some better points of discussion are made!

    Other responses?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. UZThD

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    Of course I can only confidently speak about my own experience. My 36 sem hr. MA in Religion from Point Loma Nazarene (then Pasadena) was definitely not taught at the level of rigor that I experienced in the ThM at Western CB Seminary.

    Biblical Studies in the ThM assumed the ability to use Hebrew and Greek in exegesis , hermeneutics, and knowledge of the English Bible all gained at a grad level in the MDiv. .

    Theological Studies in the ThM assumed 12 sem hrs (as I recall) of Systematic Theology, courses in Church History , and Historical Theology all taken at a grad level in the MDiv. .

    Entering the ThM also required a higher GPA than was req for the MA .

    In consequence both the prereqs and the rigor of the ThM surpassed that of the MA.

    So, in answering the question as to whether the sequence : MDiv, MA is the equivalent of the sequence MDiv, ThM,, I think the questions must be asked: in the first sequence did the work in the MA build upon and use the knowledge and skills obtained in the MDiv ,and were the MA course requirements equivalent in rigor to ThM studies?

    I think , in general, that is unlikely.


    BTW, Rhet, why did you not do a ThM after the MDiv instead of a MA?
     
  6. Broadus

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    I agree with Larry and UZThD.

    The ThM is built upon the MDiv and requires a level of research, thinking, and writing which goes beyond the MDiv. The MA, IMO, would be on the same plane as work done in the MDiv. The ThM, at SBTS at least, requires a higher level of work than did the MDiv. It also requires biblical languages as a prerequisite for entering the program.

    Another way to look at it may like this: whereas both the MA and the MDiv require a bachelor's degree, the ThM (in the American theological educational system, at least) generally requires the MDiv (Dallas Theological Seminary's ThM really is the MDiv and ThM combined).

    Doing an MA post-MDiv would be equivalent, again IMO, to doing a BA after doing a BS, roughly speaking. Does that mean it is not helpful? In no way. It only means that it is not a higher degree.

    As always, my opinion is worth what you paid for it!

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  7. Dave G.

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    In principle, I agree with Bill G. I do not think the issue should be total number of units, but rather the level you are working at (i.e. on a BA foundation or a BA+MDiv foundation).

    However, FWIW, a friend applying to a PhD program in Biblical Studies was evaluated as having ThM equivalence with his MDiv from Philadelphia College of Bible, followed by an MA in Biblical Languages from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Seems like different schools will define ThM equivalence however they want.

    Food for thought...
     
  8. Rhetorician

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    All,

    It is a little like getting a job teaching. If they want what you have, then your apt to be hired. Need seems to supercede credentials some of the time. I was told that "having a friend" is about as important as anything else.

    Having something that sets you apart from the crowd helps too!

    More food for thought.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  9. Broadus

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    Dave,

    Just curious . . . to what school was your friend applying?

    Thanks,
    Bill
     
  10. Paul33

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    Comparing apples to apples. The M.Div. is a professional degree. Is the MAR an academic degree?

    The M.Div. isn't needed for Ph.D. work in universities such as Marquette or Baylor.

    Why would anyone get a Th.M. or even a M.Div. if the goal is Ph.D. work at a major university?
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    With respect to degree equivalence and saying "MY X degree is the equivalent of Y degree," I would avoid it. It serves no purpose. Any employer or academic interested in your education will know what your equivalency is by looking at your transcripts. Does that give my perspective any better, Rhetorician?

    Paul asks Why would anyone get a Th.M. or even a M.Div. if the goal is Ph.D. work at a major university? Because they usually give advanced standing in a PhD program, I believe. In addition, some might want the educational track that an MDiv provides before doing PhD work. There could be many reasons to have both.
     
  12. Dave G.

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    Broadus,

    My friend applied to the Baptist Bible Seminary in Pennsylvania. They allow advanced standing in their PhD program for those with a ThM, hence his inquiry as to their definition of ThM equivalence.
     
  13. paidagogos

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    There is probably plenty of latitude for difference of opinion on this question. However, I agree pretty much with what has already been said. In my understanding, the Th.M. is an advanced, academic masters beyond the M.Div. In the United States, at least, the M. Div. is the first professional degree. Remember that the M. Div. was formerly the B. D. until about forty to fifty years ago. UNISA, I believe, still awards the B.D. as the first professional degree in theology.

    Whereas the Th. M. may be considered sequential to the M. Div., the M. A. and the M. Div. are more parallel. One has a traditional academic focus with the other being professionally oriented. At least that’s the traditional distinction as I understand it but one never knows with the variation and changes in degree requirements today. It’s rather like crossover in music—you can never really know if you’re listening to country or rock—it all sounds the same.

    In sum, the M. A. plus the M. Div. does not equal the Th. M. IMHO. The Th. M. requirements are more rigorous and demand a higher level of cognition.

    Personally, I would just lay out my qualifications and leave the equivalency angle alone. It may even go against you if someone thinks you are trying to stretch your qualifications too far. IMHO, the most important part of the process is the personal interview when one can firsthand meet the applicant face-to-face and discern what kind of person he is. The other things (i.e. resume, application, references, academic transcripts, etc.) are just screening tools for the real assessment face-to-face.
     
  14. paidagogos

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    For the knowledge and learning, of course!
     
  15. Paul33

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    I just don't think that is true.

    Many of the courses taken in the M.Div. program are doctoral level courses at a major university. I've checked.

    If teaching is the goal, an M.A. followed by a Ph.D. is the way to go. With distance learning the way it is, a Ph.D. graduate can always pick up the M.Div. (for the knowledge and learning) later!!!! Especially if he desires to teach in a seminary or just for the fun of it.

    But knowing what I know today, I would encourage anyone desiring to teach to get the M.A. and enter the university setting. But I would also encouarge that student to do a credible and challenging undergrad program in religion/Bible/languages at an evangelical Christian college.
     
  16. paidagogos

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    Paul, I disagree. Like Pascal, I think everyone should master physics before taking up the study of theology. It just makes the theology a little more rigorous and interesting. [​IMG]
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    Add my 2 cents. Can't imagine a ThM without the research and work of a thesis/dissertation.

    Sadly, many schools water down just about everything for the sake of $$ (attracting lots of students with shabby credentials).
     
  18. paidagogos

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    Dr. Bob, I agree. Most schools are enrollment driven instead of academically focused. How many schools would risk a 10% enrollment decrease if they increased academic expectations? Let's face it: enrollment equals dollars and the dollar rules.
     
  19. Paul33

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    Paul, I disagree. Like Pascal, I think everyone should master physics before taking up the study of theology. It just makes the theology a little more rigorous and interesting. [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]IT seems like you do agree with me. Why not get a Ph.D. first, and then go back and study theology (M.Div.)! ;)
     
  20. Rhetorician

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    Paul33,

    It seems to me that you must deal w/two looming questions:

    1. Are you a minister, then the MDiv is almost a requirement. If you are not a minister then it doesn't matter. But, teaching Religion is certainly a ministry in and of itself. Consider that.

    2. The MDiv is almost always a requirement if you intend to go to the seminary to teach.

    In SBC circles I would almost guarantee you that you would have to have an MDiv to be considered for a teaching post. My assumption is the GC, or Trinity Evan., or Dallas, or any other "Big Name" evangelical seminary would be the same way. Unless or until, you had some sub-specialty that they needed; i.e., you have published, you have grown a 1,000,000 member church from 10, or you are outstanding in some particular area that they need.

    I keep drilling it and will keep on drilling it!!! If you want to ONLY teach at some (any) secular or religious university then get the MA/PhD. But, if you want to teach at both the university and seminary (which are RA & ATS); then you will surely nearly always need the MDiv/PhD. And they would be glad to see the MA also. The additional MA would also help you to stand out from the crowd.

    Seminaries, (the ones of whom I know--SBC seminaries want ministry practioners who are also scholars) want people w/the MDiv degree because it speaks of a professional minister of which the MA DOES NOT SPEAK!

    As a side note; personally I think it would be VERY DIFFICULT for one w/a PhD "in hand" to go back and do MDiv master's level work again. Think about it!

    My two cents worth!

    rd
     

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