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Computational Linguistics

Computational Linguistics is at the intersection of linguistics and computer science; the field focuses on how computers and algorithms can be used to model the sounds, grammar, and meaning of human language. Professionals and researchers in computational linguistics apply computational and statistical techniques to linguistic data – in order to answer challenging questions in linguistics research and to build useful computer software and websites that intelligently process information in the form of human language.   

With the growth of the Internet and electronic creation and storage of information, there is now a wealth of information available electronically that is in the form of texts, videos, and audio recordings of human language. However, the way in which humans represent and communicate information in the form of language is non-­‐trivial for computers to process.  Because of the overload of information, the key challenge is finding ways to harness this resource – for research in linguistics or for the creation of useful computer/web applications.

Master of Arts (M.A.) with a concentration in Computational Linguistics

The M.A. in Computational Linguistics prepares linguistics students for challenging careers in industrial and research settings. In fact, there are many companies and research centers in the greater New York area that are focused on Internet search engine technologies, human speech recognition and synthesis, extracting and mining information available online, designing software that can analyze/process human writing, or developing educational applications.  The program is designed for students with only basic familiarity with computers or programming, and the curriculum is designed to provide students with a core set of programming skills, solid foundation in major sub‐fields of linguistics, and an understanding of modern developments in the field of computational linguistics.

Contact Information for More Details

Please contact Prof. Kyle Gorman for additional questions and concerns about these requirements and admissions deadline. Prof. Gorman is the Director of the MA Program in Computational Concentration in Linguistics.

Detailed Curriculum for M.A. Program

The program requires 32 credits of course work, including 26 core credits. Students must also pass the Supervised Research Project.

Required Core Courses (26 credits):

  • Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics (3 cr) + Practicum (1 cr)
  • Syntax I (3 cr) + Practicum (1 cr)
  • Methods in Computational Linguistics I (3 cr)+ Practicum (1 cr)
  • Methods in Computational Linguistics II (3 cr) prerequisite: Methods I
  • Language Technology (3 cr)
  • Corpus Analysis (3 cr)
  • *MA Supervised Research (1 credit Independent Study).

One of the following:

  • Phonology I (3 cr) + Practicum (1 cr)
  • Semantics I (3 cr) + Practicum (1 cr)

Electives: 6 credits

*Click here for instructions for the MA Supervised Research Project and approval form.

Note: Students with a strong computational or programming background may be able to replace one or both of the Methods in Computational Linguistics courses with other courses from the electives list.

Suggested Timeline for M.A. Program

Year 1 (Fall)

LING70100: Introduction to Theoretical Ling.
LING71200: Syntax I
LING78100: Methods in Computational Linguistics I

Year 1 (Spring)

LING83800: Methods in Computational Linguistics II
LING7800: Corpus Analysis

One of the following
LING71300: Phonology I
LING72300: Semantics I

Year 2 (Fall)

LING83600: Language Technology

Year 2 (Spring)

Supervised Research

Certificate Program for Doctoral Students

The Certificate Program for doctoral students allows them to pursue a specialization in the field of computational linguistics – following a curriculum similar to that of M.A. program. Participation in the certificate program can prepare doctoral students for research within the sub-field of computational linguistics or for using computer programming and statistical techniques for analyzing language data while pursuing research in some other sub-field of linguistics.