Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Why I Chose the University of Wales

As many of you know, I earned my PhD in New Testament from the University of Wales under the supervision of Drs. William S. Campbell and Kathy Ehrensperger.

Recently I was asked why I chose Wales. My reply was straight forward. I wanted to experience the rigors of a UK postgraduate education, which is based 100% on original research and the writing of a thesis. I was accepted at the Universities of Sheffield and the Manchester, respectively, but chose Wales because of my Welsh heritage. My maternal Grandfather Edward J. Richards was born and reared in Swansea South Wales before migrating to the United States. That makes me one quarter Welsh. I wanted to get back to my roots.

I had never been so stretched academically. My supervisors challenged me to read primary sources, the best contemporary scholarly works and journal articles, and to think outside my theological comfort zone. I entered the program as an informed evangelical and emerged as critical scholar. Dr David Cook (Oxford) once explained to the Criswell College faculty that the difference between an American and UK doctorate is that “the former is a mile wide and an inch deep, while the latter is an inch wide and a mile deep.” 

I had already earned American degrees and was indeed a generalist, having taken in 48 hours of seminars. The Wales degree turned me into a specialist.

Additionally, I chose the University of Wales because the supervisor for my American-earned PhD was I.D.E. Thomas, a native-born Welshman, who had a profound influence on me. He was a Baptist, Calvinist, and pietist. Dr. Thomas was named an Honorary Fellow in 2009 at the University of Wales, Lampeter.  He died in 2013 at the age of 92.

If you are serious about scholarship, I heartedly recommend to you a UK degree.

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