Curriculum

The Two-Year Master of Arts (MA) Program

The First Year

All first-year students take LING 131: Introduction to Natural Language Processing with Python 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 MA degree, students can also opt to add courses of interest from other disciplines, such as foreign language study.

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
  • COSI 12 Advanced Programming Techniques
  • COSI 21 Data Structures and the Fundamentals of Computing
  • LING 160 Mathematical Methods in Linguistics

Linguistics Background Courses

  • LING 105 Phonetics (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, COSI 137: Information Extraction, and COSI 138: CL Second Year Seminar. 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 132a Information Retrieval
  • COSI 135 Computational Semantics
  • COSI 136 Automated Speech Recognition
  • COSI 216 Topics in Natural Language Processing
  • COSI 217b Natural Language Processing Systems
  • COSI 233 Discourse and Dialog

Most computer science (and some mathematics) courses can be added as electives, with the approval of the computational linguistics advising faculty. Courses of interest to CL students include COSI 29, 101, 105, 111, 113, 118, 119, 121, 123, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 139, 153, and 166.

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.

The Five-Year BA/MA Program

The Five-Year BA/MA Program in Computational Linguistics allows Brandeis BA or BS students to complete the first-year coursework of the two-year Computational Linguistics MA degree during their undergraduate studies, typically as majors or minors in one or both of language and linguistics and computer science.

The fifth year, in which the student has graduated with a BA or BS and is enrolled as an MA student, then consists of coursework that mirrors the second-year curriculum of the two-year Computational Linguistics MA. This includes at least four advanced computational linguistics courses (and at least 6 total courses), including the required COSI 134, COSI 137, COSI 138, and 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 BA or BS.