Helen Blier and Barbara Wheeler report on a study of 24 “top supplier” doctoral programs in theology and religion — those that send the most graduates to teach in seminaries and divinity schools. The report raises questions about the practices of programs and the employment prospects of graduates.
How has the recent financial downturn affected the doctoral programs that prepare people for seminary teaching and the students in those programs? Twenty-four programs in North America that are the top suppliers of seminary faculty were surveyed about recruitment and admissions practices, academic and vocational support of students, educational focus, and the financing of doctoral education. The study found gaps between programs’ stated purposes and their practices, heavy financial stress on both students and programs, and poor prospects for immediate employment of graduates.