ajfiagshfiojasiugfaiubfkasa (niobedeservedit) wrote in compling,

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New member with an old question

 Hi there.  I'm currently a freshman in undergrad, and I'm really interested in pursuing computational linguistics.  But I've already started on my linguistics major which I'm really enjoying, and the computer science program at my school is way too demanding in terms of requirements for me to complete it within the next three years.  So my question is: for computational linguistics MS and PhD programs, I know that CS and math are required, but how much would be considered sufficient?  I'm doing a double major in linguistics and German, and I can also fit in a joint minor in CS and math.  This would include coursework in programming in Python and Java, Data Structures, Discrete Math, Basic Algorithms, Calc I & II, and a Probability & Statistics course.  I'll also have taken the course on compling that my school offers.  Would that give me a sufficient background, or would grad programs expect more from me?  I know a lot of similar questions have been asked from people attempting to approach CL from the linguistics side, but rather than wondering if it's possible to go into CL with limited programming experience, I wanted to know just how much experience one needs.  Thanks a lot!
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That sounds like plenty to me. I know that our CL master's program is designed so that someone with no CS can still manage to get by by taking extra CS classes when they first get here. The same goes for people with no ling background. It sounds to me though that you'll definitely have your CS bases covered, so I would think you're in good shape.
If you want to do a Masters' or a PhD in a linguistics department, this should be ok. But if you want a PhD from a computer science department, you want to make sure you have a _really_ solid foundation in discrete math, algorithms, formal languages, probability/statistics, and programming. That means acing the CS classes you're planning to take, and also taking/auditing as many electives in relevant topics as possible.
I definitely want to do a program in a Linguistics department. You're saying these courses would suffice even for the PhD program? That's what I'm more interested in, since I know I definitely want a PhD. What's the main difference with what you learn from a CL grad program in a linguistics department and one in computer science department?

Thanks for the responses!
A PhD in CL at a Linguistics dept will get you a job at a university, while a PhD in CL at a CS dept will get you a job at a university or in a company...
Well that's what I initially figured, but then I was confused when I read under UT Austin's description of their PhD program that "A CS degree probably leaves you with more options, but having the Linguistics degree is no obstacle. A number of our Linguistics graduates have gone on to industry positions. One big difference is that CS graduate probably has a better shot at a tenure track job in a linguistics department than a Linguistics grad trying for a CS position." Is this completely inaccurate then, or does it depend on where you go for grad school?
No, it seems perfectly correct: a "CS" computational linguist is all-around better than a "linguistics" computational linguist.

In fact at least in Europe it's rather rare for a computational linguistics programme to even consider accepting a linguistics grad.

That granted, there are rather few people in Europe who are "linguistics majors with double minors in CS and maths".

And when they say "A number of our Linguistics graduates have gone on to industry positions", they means the same as when they say "A number of English Literature graduates have gone onto industry positions"