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Foreign Language

  1. Dec 16, 2008 #1
    My school advises that all majors in math and physics intending on grad school gain at least a reading proficiency of either French, German, or Russian.

    How important is language proficiency to grad school? Will it affect either my ability to learn or my chances at entering top programs after I graduate?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2008 #2
    A new language always breadens your view and thoughts. Even if doesnt help with your science career ( and thus it will probably ) , it will increase your ability to reason and understand facts , understand new people, a new culture with different ideas.

    I want to learn Spanish as my 3rd language. It is a very funny language if my notion is concerned. In addition to that, i will have chance to understand how these people feel in Spanish civil war, rebellions, the revoluciĆ³n and such...

    A new language will always contribute your life and thoughts in all aspects.
  4. Dec 17, 2008 #3
    With regards to physics graduate school admissions (and the physics undergraduate major) in the USA, I think the foreign language proficiency requirement is no longer really present.... with advantages and disadvantages of course. You'll have more time for advanced work in mathematics and other related fields, and more time for research... but you'll miss out on some of the other opportunities mentioned above.

    You should, of course, look into requirements at the institutions you are interested in.

    The topic however, never came up in any of my graduate programs. I did read a French paper once on my dissertation topic, and was perhaps lucky that I knew a smattering... but there are plenty of pretty decent foreign language translation devices out there for help also. I think gone are the days when you had to sit in a room and translate a technical paper. as part of your prelims...
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