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The two-year Master of Science program in Computational Linguistics is designed for outstanding students with an undergraduate degree in linguistics, computer science, mathematics, the study of language, or a related field. This programming-intensive MS degree provides a solid foundation for professional work in computational linguistics/natural language processing, or pursuit of a PhD in computational linguistics or (with some additional coursework) theoretical linguistics or computer science. Visit our department’s prospective students page for more information. Application information can be found below.

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How to Apply

Application Deadlines

Master’s: Priority deadline is January 15. Applications will be considered after this date on a space-available basis, and no later than May 1.

Five-Year Bachelor's/Master's Program: Current Brandeis undergraduates should be in touch with the CL MS advising faculty as early as possible in their undergraduate career to ensure that they meet all program prerequisites. Applications for the Bachelor's/Master's program are due during the senior year. Priority deadline is January 15 for entry the following fall term. Applications will be considered after this date on a space-available basis, and generally no later than April 1. Please check with the program if you are considering applying after the April 1 deadline to see if this is feasible.

Application Requirements

Your application materials should demonstrate your quantitative and programming abilities as much as possible.  

We frequently accept students with academic backgrounds outside of computer science or math. To be competitive candidates for admission, we strongly recommend that such students take at least one accredited, undergraduate-level foundational computer programming course as early as possible before beginning the program. For such students, if no math was taken beyond high school, we also recommend taking an accredited math course (preferably a calculus course, or – for those who have AP credit from high school calculus for which they received college credit – a linear algebra course) before entering. If such courses are underway when the application is submitted, it is helpful to mention this in the Statement of Purpose.

Students who are admitted to our program and have not taken coursework related to computer programming and/or math may be required to take coursework prior to beginning their program at Brandeis. Details regarding any admission contingency coursework are included within a student's official letter of admission. Please consult the FAQ on our program's website for additional information.

To complete your application to the program, the following are required:

  • An online application
  • An application fee
  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended must be uploaded to your application; do not send official transcripts to our office. Official transcripts sent prior to an offer of admission will be destroyed. For more information, visit the GSAS Frequently Asked Questions page.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required, submitted electronically. The Bachelor's/MS program requires only one letter of recommendation. Ideally, your letter writers will be faculty and/or employers who know you well and at least one of them can speak to your quantitative and/or programming abilities. Ideally, at least one letter will speak to your most recent study or employment, and at least one letter will be from a faculty member at an institution at which you studied or are studying towards a degree.
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) or resuméwhich should include your educational history, employment experience, and other relevant information.
  • A statement of purpose in essay form of roughly 1-2 pages single spaced, or 2-3 pages double spaced. The statement should indicate your reasons for undertaking graduate study in computational linguistics/natural language processing, and should answer the following questions: What has attracted you to this specific field? How much knowledge do you have about the sort of work done within this field, and where did you acquire this knowledge? Please be as detailed and complete as possible. In addition, please discuss your career goals.
  • Past Coursework and Programming Knowledge: Please be prepared to list each course you have taken in each of the following areas: Computer Science, Theoretical Linguistics, Mathematics (taken after high school), and Sciences (other than Computer Science, taken after high school). For each course, please provide (1) the name of the course (2) the grade you received, and (3) the course type (e.g., college/university with the institution name, high school/AP class, online class, etc.), and (4) the term and year in which you took the course (e.g., fall 2021).  If you have not taken any courses in an area, you may simply indicate "none". Additionally, you will be asked to list any computer programming languages known and your level of knowledge (i.e., basic, moderate, advanced) for each.

  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)Please note that the GRE is optional but recommended for applicants with no record of strong performance (equivalent to a B+ or higher at a US university) in an accredited, undergraduate-level math course. We first recommend that students in this situation take such an accredited, undergraduate-level math course before applying, if possible. The course should ideally be Calculus A, or, if that is not possible, Linear Algebra or, less preferably, Discrete Math. If enrolling in a course is not an option, then we strongly recommend taking the GRE, since the quantitative score can be indicative of potential for success in CL and programming, which relies on strong mathematical ability. Our ETS institution code is 3092. Please note that MyBest scores from ETS will not be accepted. GRE results are not required for applicants to the Bachelor's/MS program.
  • International applicants should visit our International Students page to determine if official results from an English language proficiency exam are also required.

For a more comprehensive description of application requirements, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for all GSAS programs, as well as the Computational Linguistics MS Frequently Asked Questions page.

Alumni Spotlight

Picture of Volen National Center for Complex Systems

Read about one Brandeis alum’s journey through The Michtom School of Computer Science. From having never heard of computational linguistics to working at Google, José Molina credits his strong foundation from Brandeis for broadening his knowledge in the field of computational linguistics.