The Big Exhale: I am a PhD Student!

Well, it’s official.  I’ve been admitted into Luther Seminary’s PhD program in systematic theology, to begin next fall.  As anyone can imagine I’m ecstatic about getting in, since this is been something I’ve been working towards for several years now.  On top of that, moving to MN for the MTh without any assurances that I would get in at some point was difficult at times, to put it modestly.  Thankfully, it appears that the dice roll paid off.  It’s still a bit surreal, but with entrance exams now on the horizon my mindset is shifting quickly.

So, it is with great excitement that I retire the “MTh” tag & begin using “PhD” instead.

12 responses to “The Big Exhale: I am a PhD Student!

  1. what will you be researching?

    • Thanks Bobby! I’m not 100% sure yet, but I am leaning towards working on pneumatology.

      • Nice! One more quick question, and this might be kind’ve a stupid question, but are you Lutheran? I’m just curious, because I once looked at Luther Seminary for pursing doctoral work; but, for obvious reasons just presumed that being a Lutheran was a prerequisite for attending Luther Seminary. (I’m, Lord willing, starting a PhD in Theology by “distance” sometime by the end of this year–just trying to raise the funds)

    • Bobby,

      No, I’m not a Lutheran (Honestly, I don’t know what I “am” at this point in time). I come out of conservative, independent-church evangelicalism, though obviously I would not label myself that now. Luther has a fairly diverse student body while also maintaining a focus on Luther and the ELCA. For ex., right now I am working on a joint project with a Roman Catholic student, and there are RC, UMC, Presby, & other denoms represented on the faculty here. So while the school has a Lutheran thrust, it is by no means required to be a Lutheran. Hope this helps.

      • Derek,

        Thanks, I was just curious about that. Our backgrounds, ecclesiologically sound similar. God bless you on your new venture, exciting!

  2. Excellent! Welcome to the club! So you have been accepted, but you still have exams impending?

    • Luther does entrance exams at the outset of your 1st semester (so obviously i will be busy reading this summer!), & while you must pass them, it is not a “one strike and you’re out” set up. If it takes you longer than a year they will start to wonder, but even then one can still get additional time occasionally. My understanding is that they are required of all incoming PhD students to establish a broad and common knowledge base, not only for one’s own preparation but also to ensure common ground for dialogue among all PhD students. My understanding is that it is quite rare for someone to significantly stumble on them. Honestly, I like the set up, although it will make for a busy summer.

      So all that to say, yes I am in, but will have some work already on my plate before I start in the fall.

  3. Derek,

    Congratulations on being admitted to the Ph.D. program at Luther Seminary. Now the fun begins. Do well in your studies, work hard, and enjoy what you do.

    By the way, I moved my blog to WordPress. Here is the link to my new site:

    I will link your blog to my blog.

    Claude Mariottini

    • Thank you for the encouragement Dr. Mariottini, and thanks for linking to my blog! I have corrected the link on my blogroll, so now surfers can find you from here.


  4. Hey Derek,
    I just stumbled across this while sniffing around the web. I have also been accepted into Luther’s PhD. in systematics for this up-coming fall. Shoot me an email. We should connect.



  5. Alex,

    Would love to connect with you. Not sure how to find your email (not the most tech savvy guy, sorry), so if i can’t just suggest a place & time here in the twin cities on my blog here, & we’ll go from there.

    Congrats to you as well!


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