<p>many grad schools require 2 of 3 languages (french, german, and russian) for a Phd. how important is this? and how much of the languages does one actually have to know? i speak none of them and how many years will it take to learn them?</p>

<p>Why would you need to know foreign languages for a math degree? Language requirements are just for people who study things like classics or history, or maybe certain types of anthropology.</p>

<p>You only have to "know" the language well enough to go into a room with a faculty who speaks that language and with the help of a dictionary orally "translate" a math paper of your choice (also as far as I know most schools only require you to pass the exam in one of the 3 languages least that was the case with all the places I visited). No one gets kicked out for failing this (although some have to try more than once)- I know some people who passed the exam without ANY previous knowledge of the language just with a dictionary.</p>

<p>sarbrius- the reasoning behind the requirement is that there are still important math journals which are published in French, German and Russian. It is possible to get pretty much English translations of almost all of them, but they are much cheaper in the original language.</p>

<p>Wow; sorry for my ignorance. It just sounded really bizarre. I'll stop posting when I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.</p>

<p>I thought you can start learning the new languages when you get to the grad school.. it's not a requirement for admission right?</p>

<p>It's not. Its just a small test you have to pass before they grant you the Phd.</p>

<p>Im bilingual in Spanish/English so hopefully it will be easier for me to learn French ... ?</p>

<p>man that sucks, i'm about to enter my 4th year and i just heard about this. now i'll have to take a full yr of german since the only foreign language i know is spanish, which i've only taken 3 years of high school</p>