Magister Artium or: I got my degree!

Since September 1999 I have been a student at the University of Copenhagen, but not anymore. A month ago I finished the thesis I have been working on for the past two years. It ended up as a 200-page monster with the title Dhrupad - A North Indian Classical Music Culture analyzed as a Religious Tradition. And yesterday I gave my final lecture and earned the degree of Mag. Art. (magister artium) in Science of Religion.
The mag. art. is a 6.5 year degree (took me a bit longer than that) - centered on the Science of Religion with a minor 1.5 year detour at Indology (lots of Sanskrit). During the writing of my thesis I have come to the dope again and again - my post count in no way reflects the amount of time I have spent here. And thus: Thanks everybody, for laughs, insights, and general distraction. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Now I get to spend some time with my son (4 weeks of parental leave left for me), before entering the “real world”. He is sleeping now, and I have lovely Belgian beer in my glass, and a smile on my lips.

Heck yeah! Sounds like you’re enjoying the relaxation bit for sure. It’s a lot of hard work, I know. I’ve got 4 more classes and 2 more projects, and I’ll have two masters (mechanical engineering and management). It’s challenging, but reading stories like yours make me want to go finish a homework assignment!

Indeed I am enjoying my life right now. I have hardly had a single evening or weekend out of the office for the past two months, so I feel I deserve a beer and a snaps. Pretty cool to have 2 master’s degrees, but that isn’t allowed in Denmark (unless you want to pay for it yourself), and - I must admit - I don’t really feel like re-entering right now.

It’s nice to come to a conclusion and look back on all the hard work.

Is your thesis online somewhere?

Well done. Do you have some sort of graduation ceremony soon?

The thesis is in Danish (with a short abstract in English) and is not available online yet. It will be, eventually, when the University has scanned it, but I don’t expect that to happen this decade.
And in Denmark we don’t really do ceremonies like you do in the States. No funny robes or square hats, though I wouldn’t mind the hat thing at all. Typically people finish their degrees at different times during the year, so it’s not really possible to arrange a big, official celebration. The day you hand in your thesis the nice secretary gives you a caramel (not kidding), and once per semester they round up the people who graduated within the last 6 months, and everybody gets a mug with the institute logo.

Congratulations, Magister!

I’m always amazed at how much more hardcore the Euro-style degrees are than the American-style Masters (actually, it can’t be a purely American thing, since I know some people who got 'one-year masters" at London). But the Belgian Licentaat theses I’ve seen, for example, were really impressive.

Thanks. To be fair, my mag. art. degree is only 3 years (on top of a 3 year bachelor’s degree + 6 months of propedeutic language course), but in Denmark it is the norm that students choose the master’s or magister’s degree (not the same thing: A master’s degree is 2 years, magister 3) that matches the bachelor degree. We don’t have that many “open” master’s degrees - most of them demand a bachelor in the same field; so my time at the University has been spent almost exclusively on Science of Religion.
It has been a problem for Danish students to study a year in the states, because the American system allows for courses in Golf or Horseback Riding (sorry, but :rolleyes:), and these courses don’t give any merit when they come back home. So, yes: we are (occasionally) more hardcore than in America - the downside is that a lot of students quit before they make it all the way through (a luxury you can afford when the state pays for everything) or spend a ridiculous amount of time finishing (like myself and most of my friends).

Congratulations. What’s your next step?

In the immediate future I am going to spend time with my son (until christmas or so, I think) and submit a few articles to different journals. After that? - I dunno. Perhaps apply for a Ph.D. (which is a proper job here in Denmark, with a real paycheck) but those things are hard to get by. I would love to teach a course or twt either at my institute or at Indology, but as with the ph.d. it’s a case of waaay too many applicants for the positions. I was once offered a ph.d. in Pondicherry in South India, and - having talked it over with the missus - I might try to re-establish contact.
In short: Try to stay in the academic world. I’ll probably end up doing something totally unrelated to my education - that certainly seems to be the case for most of my peers. Sigh.