The Two-Year Master of Arts (M.A.) Program
The First Year
All first-year students take LING 131: Programming for Linguistics in the Fall of the first year, and COSI 114: Fundamentals of Computational Linguistics in the Spring. Additional courses for the year are chosen by each student in consultation with the computational linguistics advising faculty, with the final schedule tailored to individual student needs and academic interests.
The goal is for all students to emerge from the first year with:
- a strong foundation in the basics of both computer science and formal linguistics
- facility and comfort with the fundamental techniques, goals, and methodology of computational linguistics, natural language processing, and corpus linguistics.
Any additional room in the first-year schedule is devoted to developing and strengthening the student's computer programming abilities, along with taking other computer science or linguistics electives of interest to the particular student. Although not satisfying any requirements toward the M.A. degree, many students also opt to add courses of interest from other disciplines, such as foreign language study or mathematics.
In terms of computer science and linguistics background courses, all of the following are required, except where noted, if no equivalent course was completed prior to entering the program:
Computer Science Background Courses
- COSI 11 Programming in Java and C
- COSI 12 Advanced Programming Techniques
- COSI 21a Data Structures and the Fundamentals of Computing (required, but can be taken in the second year)
- COSI 21b Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (recommended)
- LING 160 Mathematical Methods in Linguistics
Linguistics Background Courses
- LING 110 Phonological Theory (recommended)
- LING 120 Syntactic Theory
- LING 130 Formal Semantics: Truth, Meaning, and Language
- LING 140 Architecture of Conversation: Discourse and Pragmatics (recommended)
The Second Year
The second year consists of advanced courses in computational linguistics, including the required COSI 134: Statistical Approaches to Natural Language Processing and COSI 137: Information Extraction. Additional courses on applied or theoretically oriented topics within computational linguistics and natural language processing can include:
- COSI 112 Modal, Temporal, and Spatial Logic for Language
- COSI 131 Machine Translation
- COSI 132 Information Retrieval
- COSI 135 Computational Semantics
- COSI 136 Automated Speech Recognition
- COSI 137 Information Extraction
- COSI 139 Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning
- COSI 216 Topics in Natural Language Processing
- COSI 217b Natural Language Processing Systems
Other computer science (or mathematics) courses in related areas of interest can be added with the approval of the computational linguistics advising faculty. These include COSI 29, 30, 101, 111, 113, 125, 127, 128, and 153a.
The exit requirement for the program, normally completed during the final semester of study, involves either an internship in computational linguistics or a master’s thesis. The master’s thesis must be deposited electronically to the Robert D. Farber University Archives at Brandeis.
The minimum residence requirement for full-time students is two years, i.e. four semesters of full-time enrollment.
- To apply to the M.A. program in computational linguistics, please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Website.
The Five-Year B.A./M.A. Program
The Five-Year B.A./M.A. Program in Computational Linguistics allows Brandeis B.A. or B.S. students to complete the first-year coursework of the two-year Computational Linguistics M.A. degree during their undergraduate studies, typically as majors in one or both of language and linguistics and computer science.
The fifth year, in which the student has graduated with a B.A. or B.S. and is enrolled as an M.A. student, then consists of coursework that mirrors the second-year curriculum of the two-year Computational Linguistics M.A. This typically includes at least five advanced computational linguistics courses, including the required COSI 134 and COSI 138, plus either an internship in computational linguistics or a master’s thesis. The master’s thesis must be deposited electronically to the Robert D. Farber University Archives at Brandeis.
The minimum residence requirement is one year, i.e. two semesters of full-time enrollment, beyond the B.A. or B.S.
- To apply to the B.A./M.A. program in computational linguistics, please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.