I am including here some orientation for students who are considering applying for the UGA Master of Arts Degree in Religion with a concentration in New Testament / Early Christianity. Before reading further, students should first consult the UGA Department of Religion Website (see here).
The purpose of this information page, which represents my own personal views and should not be regarded as an official UGA document, is to give prospective students a sense of some of the skills and qualifications that I am looking for in an applicant.
Given my own research interests, I am especially interested in applicants who have a (strong) background in German and wish to pursue research that interacts with the German tradition, but I am also open to students who lack this background, especially if they are strong applicants. In terms of subject areas, I am especially interested in supervising work related to the Synoptic Gospels (esp. Mark), but I am also open to supervising students in other areas, especially if they are strong applicants.
Here are some qualities that I view as desirable in an applicant, which is not to say that candidates lacking one or several of these qualities will not be considered for admission. In other words, none of these qualifications are necessarily required for admission into our program, but they are some of the things that I view as attractive qualities, bearing in mind that an applicant’s admission into the program is determined by the faculty as a whole rather than by one person.
1) A strong GRE, GPA, and undergraduate institution
2) At least some background in German (the more the merrier), preferably of a formal nature though informal preparation is also worth mentioning, e.g. if you have worked through April Wilson’s German Quickly or made use of other resources in order to learn German (see here for my resource page). If you are interested in the UGA program but do not have a background in German, then you may wish to apply anyway or to delay your application in order to learn German prior to applying.
3) Openness to the possibility of spending time in Germany over the summer after one’s first year in the M.A. program.
4) At least some knowledge of Greek (the more the merrier). If you don’t have any/much Greek, then it would be better to apply for the program so that you would begin in an even numbered year, since this would allow you to take the first two semesters of Greek via the Classics Department during the first year of your program (even numbered year) and my biblical Greek course in the second year of your program (odd numbered year).
5) If you have knowledge of other ancient or modern research languages (e.g., Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, French), then this is certainly highly desirable. So please mention it if you do! I am, however, especially interested in whether or not applicants have a background in German and Greek.
6) A personal statement that sketches your academic qualifications, skills, and research interests rather than your personal pilgrimage in relation to religion. If you have a specific area that you are already considering as a potential M.A. thesis topic, then you are encouraged to mention it, bearing in mind that your studies may take you in a different direction should you be accepted into the program. You should not assume that it will necessarily be possible to pursue research on the topic that you mention in your purpose statement, since your thesis topic would have to emerge in consultation with others during your program.
7) Strong references that give me insight into your level of preparation for your research interests and your competency in German, Greek, and any other research languages that you know.
8) Please note that we have a very strong record of being able to fund highly competitive applicants to our M.A. program.