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Welcome from the Dean: Memo to Students

TO:         All BRGSJS Students

FROM:   David Berger, Dean

DATE:     January 9, 2015

As the spring semester approaches, I invite you to examine the list of courses and the academic calendar that are accessible on this website. The calendar contains information about critically important deadlines with both academic and financial implications.  Please study it carefully.


As the calendar indicates, online registration extends from December 2 to January 22. Instructions for online registration appear at the end of this memo. BRGSJS students are urged to avail themselves of this procedure.  

In person registration for the spring semester will take place Tuesday-Friday, January 20-23.  Hours are listed on the Revel Academic Calendar.  The registration process starts in the BRGSJS office (Deans Suite, 3rd floor, Furst Hall). Those students who cannot register online or at the specified time in person should call Ms. Washington at 646-592-4270 during regular office hours to make alternate arrangements.

Continuous Record  

Students should be aware that they must have a continuous record at BRGSJS. MA students who have completed the course work but are making up assignments and/or studying for the comprehensive examinations, or students who wish to take a leave of absence, must register in the appropriate category during the regular registration period.

Comprehensive Written Examinations for the MA Degree

Please note the March 13th deadline for applying for the Comprehensive Examination for the May 2015 degree to be taken on May 6th. The deadline for applying for the Comprehensive Examination and graduation for the September 2015 degree is July 23rd.

To take the examination a student must be an active student.  This means that one must either be taking regular courses or be registered for Master’s Research.  (Active Student status in the spring semester is sufficient to establish eligibility for the September examination.)  In addition, the student must have completed all the courses for the MA or be in the process of completing them during the spring semester.  Students taking 5000 level courses during the spring that are required in their concentration must receive special permission from the office of the Dean to take the May examination; for the Bible concentration, such permission will generally not be granted.  Students with an “Incomplete” on their record are not eligible to take the examination unless they have submitted the work necessary to remove that "Incomplete."  The final grade itself does not have to be filed by the date of the examination.


Students who expect to graduate in May 2015 must file an application for the degree by March 13th.  Applications are filed with the Registrar's office.  Students should make certain that their academic record is in order. They must also determine that the final transcript documenting their undergraduate degree is on file.


The work for a given semester should normally be completed by the end of that semester, and instructors may require that this procedure be followed.  With the instructor's permission, students may take up to an additional semester and a summer to complete their work.  In the case of a summer course, the deadline is at the beginning of the following spring semester. Late work (two copies) may be filed with the BRGSJS office for transmission to the instructor.  If the work is given directly to the instructor, an electronic copy must nevertheless be filed with the office by the appropriate deadline.  Fellowships will not be renewed and scholarships will not be granted if work is not submitted within this time frame. In special circumstances, a modest extension may be granted with permission of both the faculty member and the Dean.  Requests for such extensions must be made before the deadline.   After the deadline, the course(s) in question may not be completed successfully and will not count toward the degree.  Any additional courses that will consequently be needed to complete the degree will not be covered by financial aid.

Withdrawal from Courses

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must file the appropriate form at the Revel office. If the form is submitted by February 12th, the course will not appear on the student's record.  If it is submitted after this date but no later than March 20th, it will appear on the student's record with a “W”. University policy requires students who drop a course after February 12th to pay tuition for the course.  Consequently, those who have already paid for it will not be eligible for a refund. Those who were granted a tuition scholarship for it will be billed.

March 20th is the last day to drop a course. Students who do not file the appropriate form by that date must complete work in the course by the deadline(s) outlined in the section on Incompletes.

Tuition Scholarships and Fellowships

Unless they have a scholarship and/or fellowship award letter that applies to the full 2014-2015 academic year, MA students wishing to receive an award for spring 2015 must submit a scholarship application. New applicants to the MA program wishing to receive an award for spring 2015 must also file a scholarship application. The applications are available online and in the Revel office. Please be aware that scholarship funds for the academic year 2014-2015 have been largely committed, and so the availability of new scholarships for the spring semester will be limited.


Students who need parking arrangements should contact the Security Office at (212) 960-5200 as soon as possible. Space is limited.


As I look at the occasionally harsh formulations in this memo, which purportedly welcomes you to the spring semester at BRGSJS, I am reminded of a cartoon by the renowned political cartoonist Herblock, who wrote in an age that most students will not recall.  In response to a proposal that all immigrants be fingerprinted, he drew an immigration official sitting behind a desk with a big smile on his face and his hand extended to a new immigrant.  In the hand was an open inkpad.  The caption read, “Put ‘er there, pal!”

How do I rectify this rather mixed message?  My first reaction is inspired by the second chapter of the Greek textbook that I used as a YC student in the age of Herblock.  It followed the chapter on the alphabet and dealt with accents.  It began, as I recall all too distinctly, with a paragraph informing the reader that “a word with an acute accent on the ultimate syllable is called an oxytone, on the penultimate syllable—a paroxytone, on the antepenultimate syllable—a proparoxytone; a word with a circumflex accent on the ultimate syllable is a perispomenon, on the penultimate syllable—a properispomenon.”  Even these authors, who were, as the remainder of the book confirmed, among the stellar students of the Marquis de Sade, felt a bit uneasy about this paragraph, and so they tried to make the student-reader feel better with a reassuring concluding sentence.  The best they could do was the following: “These terms, though formidable, will save much laborious periphrasis.”

I am, then, tempted to conclude this memo by saying, “These instructions, deadlines, and dire warnings, though intimidating, will forfend much existential angst.”

Part of me, however, doubts that this is a very good idea, and so I can only say that I and the BRGSJS faculty and staff genuinely welcome you as you begin or continue your studies here.  Put ‘er there, pal!
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Have a GREAT semester!