Language Requirements

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
sywisy
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:25 am

Language Requirements

Postby sywisy » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:29 pm

In the past I've heard several times of people talking about how knowing a foreign language is important in math grad admissions.

A few of my applications (roughly 3/14) asked whether I knew a foreign language. I've now been accepted to 4 pretty competitive institutions and none of them mention anything about having to know a foreign language. So is the foreign language requirement (like German, Chinese, Russian, not Spanish!) only a few select institutions? Or am I looking at outliers?
Last edited by sywisy on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kuz
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:32 am

Re: Language Requirements

Postby kuz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:05 pm

Some universities require you to pass a test in one or two languages (usually French, German, Russian, or maybe Chinese) to show that you can read maths papers in that language - which is probably fair enough, considering I've twice already had to read a paper in French because there was no English translation. That's the only reason I could imagine that they care about how fluent you are in other languages.

wine in coffee cups
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:01 am

Re: Language Requirements

Postby wine in coffee cups » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:02 pm

The questions may have just been part of the general graduate school application. None of the departments I applied to have a language requirement, but I was asked about foreign language proficiency on most applications anyway.

kiurys
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:40 am

Re: Language Requirements

Postby kiurys » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:16 pm

I remember years ago when I was doing my undergrad, I used to read about PhD programs in math and always remember reading about this foreign language requirement of French, Russian, and German (if I remember correctly).

Now that I have applied to PhD programs myself I was surprised how almost all departments dont have this requirement...I wonder why? Although Im certainly happy about it. I also remember recently seeing one department (which I dont remember which one is it) that includes Spanish in the list of languages...

ANDS
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:41 pm

Re: Language Requirements

Postby ANDS » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:01 am

From what I've heard, is that even if there is this requirement the exam is basically: Here is a dictionary, translate this paper.

owlpride
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Language Requirements

Postby owlpride » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:14 am

Now that I have applied to PhD programs myself I was surprised how almost all departments dont have this requirement...I wonder why?

Foreign languages used to be more important because much math was published in French or German or Russian. Nowadays, most math is published in English so that's no longer necessary.

However, from what I hear, you do absolutely want to be able to read French if you go into algebraic geometry...

Topoltergeist
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: Language Requirements

Postby Topoltergeist » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:41 pm

owlpride wrote: However, from what I hear, you do absolutely want to be able to read French if you go into algebraic geometry...


If you go into Tropical Geometry, do you think Portuguese would also be a must? :lol:

Also, at UW I think they allow you to count a Computer Language, like JAVA or C++, as a foreign language.




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