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Do most sociology phd programs have a foreign language requirement?


rcbx0210
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Do sociology phd programs usually have a foreign language requirement? My college "strongly recommends" foreign language courses to students who are majoring in sociology and are considering graduate school. I haven't really seen much mention of this when I've looked online at different graduate programs, though. I'm not sure if I'm not looking in the right places or if a lot of places don't actually have a language requirement.

 

As an undergraduate, I have to minor in something. Basically, if the foreign language requirement is quite common, I'd probably want to minor in a language. If it's not necessary, however, I'd much prefer to minor in something that's more interesting to me.

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All but one of the schools I applied to have a foreign language requirement, but I've heard it's quite easy to pass their profenciency test with very minimal studying. The test is usually translating 1-2 texts with full use of a dictionary. So you don't necessarily need to know how to speak, listen, or write; you just have to be able to read for comprehension. There's a bunch of different books called "X Language for Reading" (e.g. French for Reading) that help you with this type of comprehension. Many folks say you only need to study for 1-2 months to be able to pass.

 

So, yes, many schools have a foreign language requirement, but not all do, and it's absolutely not necessary to minor in a language or even take undergrad language courses. I'd say it really depends on what you want to do. If you want to complete an ethnography in another country, then absolutely you should take some classes that focus on pronounciation and listening comprehension. If you want to analyze texts or data in another language, then you should take some reading classes. If you have zero interest in ever doing any sociology work in another language, though, then I'd skip the language classes and just pass the profenciency test. It's better to minor in something you're actually interested in or something you can actually use later on in your career. For example, if you want to study domestic violence in the U.S., you're way better off getting a minor in women's studies than you are getting a minor in German.

 

Of course, you should definitely look into the specific universities you want to go to, because many don't require it. If you're having trouble finding that information, most of the language requirements are kind of hidden in their long list of PhD requirements. There will be a section on classes you need to take, comprehensive exams, blah blah blah, and then they sneak in the language requirement.

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