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Double major physics and russian?

  1. Mar 15, 2012 #1
    Right now I am a freshman studying physics and considering adding russian as a second major. I already speak it pretty fluently, so the only challenging part would be the required literature classes. With a goal of going to grad school in physics, will a russian degree even matter, or would my language skills alone give the same benefits?

    Also, on an unrelated note, does NASA have any need for russian speaking U.S. citizens other than translators?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2012 #2
    If you already speak Russian fluently I fail to see what the degree would add to your skill set other then saying "I have a degree in Russian." Seems like a waste of money and time to me you'd be better off learning something you don't already know.
  4. Mar 15, 2012 #3


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    Do you want a job with the CIA/NSA? Being accredited in Russian would be a leg-up, IMO, although less so than during the 60s.
  5. Mar 15, 2012 #4


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    No, it's not going to help you. NASA has plenty of native Russian speakers working there already. When I worked at a NASA center, I had Russian native speakers in offices on both sides of me. I studied Russian in college, and while it was interesting, I didn't bother with the minor because I didn't think it would really come in useful. It hasn't; I wish I had taken Spanish or German instead, those would have been useful.
  6. Mar 15, 2012 #5


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    Did you mean NSA? It's not likely that NASA would have a high demand for Russian speakers, IMO. The chatter in major languages collected by the NSA needs lots of foreign-language speakers, though. I think we have seen this weakness in the failure to recruit enough skilled interpreters in Middle East languages before the run-up to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    When you have VERY big ears and lots of computing/storage ability, you also need lots of skilled analysts to sort through all the chaff.
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