Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Talbot School of Theology (MA Philosophy): Is It Worth It?

I attended Talbot right after I completed my undergraduate degree. I took off one semester, worked full-time then flew across the U.S. to begin my MA Philosophy studies there.

The reason why I chose Talbot was mainly because of my love for apologetics and since one of the most intelligent and formidable proponents of Christianity is a professor there (i.e., William Craig), I believed I would receive the best training in order to engage in apologetics.

After completing two semesters, I decided to withdraw from the program. It was a difficult decision but I honestly wish I had made it sooner. I would like to share some important factors for those of you who are considering entering the MA Philosophy program so you can make a wise decision.

First, be aware that Dr. Craig only teaches at Talbot during the summer and winter breaks and his courses last around two weeks; they're intensive seminars. I, along with other students, believed Dr. Craig taught at Talbot more often than he actually does.

Next, is graduate work in philosophy really for you? This is a critical question you should ask yourself. If you're not at all familiar with contemporary philosophy then go to the library and read as much as you can before deciding to attend Talbot. Just because you enjoy apologetics does not mean you'll enjoy reading academic philosophy. I made the mistake of entering the philosophy program with very little exposure to contemporary philosophy and discovered that I really had very little interest in it. It was extremely boring and difficult to even begin to understand what an author of an article was even saying. I recall having to read one scholarly article at least ten times before I even began to slightly understand what the author was saying.

Something else which you should consider is the cost. Talbot is part of Biola, which is an expensive private university. Tuition has increased since I attended and it's now at $538 PER CREDIT! The MA programs require students to complete 64-66 credits. Do the math! That's A LOT of money for a degree which is virtually useless in today's job market. Are you willing to drop almost $40k for a philosophy degree which most likely won't increase your job prospects or salary? That's crucial to consider.

The cost and low interest in contemporary academic philosophy are the two main factors with contributed to my withdrawal; however, I realize there are others out there who love that sort of stuff. As a student at Talbot, many of my classmates seemed to greatly enjoy the philosophy classes and readings. I certainly didn't.

The program is great for people who want to possibly go on for a PhD in philosophy or for anyone who truly enjoys contemporary philosophy. The professors I met were great and helped me a lot but even if I actually enjoyed the subject, I couldn't get over spending so much money for such a degree. The return on your money, in most cases, will be terrible.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions.

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