To be developed: MS in Computational Linguistics

The Department of Linguistics and Language Development is currently developing a Master’s of Science degree program in computational linguistics. This will be in addition to the existing certificate in computational linguistics, and will include a Bachelor’s of Science option.

Computational linguistics, a subfield of artificial intelligence, involves the analysis of languages and linguistic phenomena, as well as the production of language, by way of computer-based models. Computational linguistics can investigate written texts, naturally spoken conversation, or pronunciation; it can also devise programs that synthesize speech. A few of the areas that computational linguists work on are speech recognition, machine translation, natural language processing, dictionary development, and speech synthesis.

Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, SJSU is especially well situated as a place where graduates in computational linguistics can venture into the IT work world. Nearby companies such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn use processes informed by computational linguistics. A market analysis performed in 2018 by Hanover Research for SJSU concluded that “employment outlook for computational linguistics-related occupations is very strong across all geographic levels.” The Department of Linguistics and Language Development, dedicated to SJSU’s general emphasis on hands-on learning, is exploring options for internships at high-profile tech firms as graduates complete their degrees.

The development of a new technical M.S. degree comes with the responsibility to consider all aspects of such an initiative, including the humanistic and ethical implications. In keeping with SJSU’s ongoing investigations into the Deep Humanities, that means that an M.S. in computational linguistics will include coursework in technical and business ethics. Additional coursework will include courses in Mathematics and Computer Science, with possible electives in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering.