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Charles J. Otte III

This letter is in response to American versus British Ph.D. Programs: Three Doctoral Students Reflect on Their Decisions by Chris Keith, Charles J. Otte III and Dieter T. Roth.

This was a very good article. I was an ABD in an American program and I have a UK PhD in Biblical Studies. I can affirm what all three said about the programs.

This is a very helpful series, including forums at the national and international meetings. One colleague at an American program was decrying British PhD's because "they only write a thesis." I helped him to understand that UK MA/ThM's programs are more rigorous and have more requirements than ours, as one of the students stated. Thus, UK students are more prepared than most American MDiv/MA/ThM students to write a PhD thesis after going through that process. However, many UK programs could have more structured ways of testing language competence. (I applied to and was accepted by seven programs.)

I chose King's College London because of the strong NT faculty (Stanton, Houlden, Francis Watson, Judith Lieu) at the time. Doing research and working under supervision suited me perfectly. I found it challenging and stimulating. Moreover, while my supervisor found plenty of errors and regularly suggested additional readings, it was always relevant to my research and I was never told to read something for the sake of having read it.

Also, Mr. Keith mentioned the experience of living overseas. I was inspired by my cousin who lived in France and went to school there. It was a life-changing experience for her. My experience in London —with trips to Rochester, St. Andrews, Edinburgh and Kurriemuir, Scotland —was more than I ever hoped for. I cannot put a monetary value on the experience of living overseas. I went to get a degree. I got a life-changing experience and friends from every continent except Antarctica.

Thanks again for this insightful piece.

Thomas Slater, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

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Citation: Dieter T. Roth , Charles J. Otte III , Chris Keith, " UK vs US Degrees," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited Sept 2007]. Online:


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