About 10 years ago, J. P. Moreland and Scott Rae, two professors at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, set a goal for themselves. In the ensuing 20 years, they wanted to send 100 Master of Arts in philosophy graduates into the best doctoral programs in the country. Their hope was that once these students earned their Ph.D.s, they'd have a chance to teach philosophy at secular schools.

The plan has "just exploded beyond what we dreamed about," says Rae.

Take, for example, the pride of Talbot's philosophy department, Tom Crisp. He earned his master's degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot. Then he excelled at the University of Notre Dame, which has one of this country's top Ph.D. programs in philosophy. Crisp studied under Notre Dame philosophy of religion professor Alvin Plantinga, an evangelical who is one of the most respected philosophers in this country. Having graduated from Notre Dame, Crisp took a job as assistant professor of philosophy at Florida State University. At last year's meeting of Metaphysical Mayhem—the prestigious, invitation-only, "Who's Who" of metaphysics—Crisp was asked to give a paper. Crisp is "widely—and in my opinion rightly—regarded as one of the best young philosophers around," Plantinga says.

"Talbot is placing people in various graduate programs," says Crisp. "There are at least six of us in the last five years who have gotten placed into Notre Dame. I have friends from Talbot who have gotten into UCLA, Cornell, Oxford, the University of Arizona, and these are top graduate philosophy departments." The list includes other prestigious programs in philosophy.

Quality vs. Quantity

As of April, close to 80 Talbot grads had already earned their doctorates or been accepted ...

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