Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Warm welcome to the new graduate students at Rice

I wish to welcome all the graduate students at Rice University in Religious Studies. There are three new students in The Bible and Beyond concentration. Read more here about the biblical studies students and what dissertation projects they are beginning to work on this semester. I am very excited about their range of projects and the types of materials and theories that they will be exploring as they research and write.

This semester I'm teaching New Testament and Christian Origins, and first semester Coptic. I am going to try out Layton's new book, so I'll keep you posted on how that goes. I'm off to Coptic now and chapter 1 of Layton.


g. wesley said...

Thanks for the info, Professor DeConick.

Since I plan on applying to the program for 2008, I'm curious: these are first year students who already have their dissertation topics and advisors chosen, right? From the department website I thought that wasn't done until the fourth year. What am I missing? Are incomming PhD students at Rice expected to have a disseration topic ready, as at UK schools?

Grant Adamson

April DeConick said...


I encourage my students to have a plan even in their first semester. This plan can change, and often does, as the course of study advances. But if there is some kind of plan, I find that it gives students (and me) direction and opportunities that otherwise are absent. What I ask my students to reflect upon is the BIG question(s) that have brought them to the Ph.D. application. What is it that fires them up? From this reflection and discussion arises an initial topic which I ask my first semester students to write down. Then we start working. Not all Rice Religious Studies faculty approach the process this way.