I'm finishing my MS in a Spanish speaking country and my MS thesis is written in Spanish. If I apply for being admitted in a PhD program in a non-Spanish speaking country, should I expect them to accept my MS thesis as it's currently written (i.e. in Spanish)? Also, I could translate it into English in a week or two but, then, that version of the thesis would not be any more the official one(i.e. the approved by the evaluating committee). Would they accept this translated version of the thesis for the application instead of the original one?

(When I said 'accept it' I meant 'consider the possibility of reviewing it and conclude something about my performance or the depth of my MS work'.)

I'm particularly interested in European countries and the US, but I know that there may be cultural or idiosyncratic differences, even between different institutions within the same country. For example, I expect greater chances for my Spanish written thesis to be accepted in Portugal than in Poland. So what I want to know is if there is some general pattern that I should expect from them, like, rejecting it with a high probability... or accepting it with a high probability, given that Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world and popular in Occident, unlike Chinese.


Maybe I'm confused by wording, but I think it is incorrect to think in terms of programs 'accepting' a thesis.

There might be cases where a program cares about the gritty details of your thesis, and so the short answer is to specifically ask the department you are applying to.

In the US, I highly doubt any PhD program would ask for your thesis, review it, then make a acceptance decision based on this. Publishing your thesis is optional, and there is no expectation that you have to in order to be accepted into a PhD (generalization). Also, a MS is not a requirement for a PhD program in the US, and so there's no rule about accepting an applicant's thesis.

When I applied to PhD programs in the US, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, no one asked to review my thesis, or discussed accepting my thesis.

What could be useful is to translate the thesis abstract. Then, if someone asks for more details, you have something on hand to give them.

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    This tallies with my experience. The only time I have been asked to submit any kind of dissertation or thesis in my PhD applications was by a German university, and they stipulated that if it was not written in English you must translate the abstract only.
    – astronat
    Nov 28 '16 at 18:48
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    I agree with you on the first point, when I said 'accept it' I meant 'consider the possibility of reviewing it and conclude something about my performance or the depth of my MS work'. By the way, great answer. Thanks! Nov 28 '16 at 19:43
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    Good answer. Additional note: if your original abstract seems very short for your purposes (trying to put your best foot forward with an admissions committee), you could write a longer one, or write a two or three-page summary in English, to include with your application. Nov 28 '16 at 23:18
  • @aparente001 Good one, I'll write that short but longer summary in English just in case. Thanks for the tip. Nov 28 '16 at 23:41
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    Also, they may just ask for an English writing sample. Even for foreign language programs, they don't care the language of your MA thesis, but they will undoubtedly ask for a writing sample in both the target language and English. Nov 29 '16 at 2:39

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