surferblood (surferblood) wrote in compling,

Newcomer needing some advice

 Hi everyone,

I was glad to find this page. I'm having trouble deciding on which school to attend for undergrad. For financial reasons, I'm limited to two universities with less-than-ideal programs. But, of course, I'm planning on earning my Masters in computational linguistics after (probably at UW). Let's call the two options Schools A and B.

At A, I would double major in linguistics and computer science. The school has a good computer science program, and an awesome linguistics program. The issue is that they have very few (~2) courses directly related to computational linguistics, and do virtually no research in the area. 

At B, I would have to major in computer science and minor in linguistics, because they have a somewhat weak linguistics program (no graduate degrees and no more than 12 course offerings for undergrads). However, they have a solid computer science department, in which they offer 5-6 comp ling courses and conduct research in it. 

B has a bit more computer science requirements a bit less linguistics...offerings...than I would like. But the research and courses in comp ling is enticing. I'm sure students enter grad programs for comp ling without specific experience though, right? Not every school offers those sorts of courses at an undergrad level, so would a general linguistics and computer science background (school A) suffice? Which school would I be better off at in terms of preparation for my Masters? Would I be at any sort of disadvantage by going to either?

Also, on a different note...what kind of GPA range is typical for admission to these graduate programs? I'm guessing mid-3s? 

Thank you for any help you can give.
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I would strongly recommend option B. Computational linguistics tends to be a lot of computer science with a little bit of linguistics. Linguistics is indeed interesting, but most jobs in the field tend to be more focused on the computer science side.

If, however, you plan to go the option of academia and research in linguistics using computational methods (very interesting, but limited funding), either school should work.


October 20 2010, 05:40:51 UTC 7 years ago

Very few people enter compling master's programs with much actual compling experience. What you need is CS, plus statistics, plus at least some linguistics. If both schools have good CS programs, I would look at the overall quality of the school (e.g., Do they attract good students? Will you make good networking connections?) and decide on that basis.

And then, since you already know you're interested in this field, make sure to get involved in extra-curricular opportunities: conferences (if they come close to home), summer schools (LSA summer institute, in odd-numbered years, ESSLLI in Europe every summer), mailing lists, and whatever compling-related talks come through the university you are at.