MS in Computational Linguistics

PROTO team members.

Professor Rohini Srihari, Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, with the student members of PROTO, competing for the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, against eight selected groups from other universities.

Overview

The Departments of Linguistics and Computer Science and Engineering jointly participate in a Master of Science in Computational Linguistics. The mission of the program is to prepare students for a career in the Human Language Technologies industry. This program is on the STEM OPT extension list (CIP number 30.1801). If you are a current UB Linguistics PhD student interested in pursuing the MS as well, please view the PhD Applicants to MS page. 

MS students are encouraged to seek internships they are interested in via Bullseye, or to participate in our local Summer internship in the Natural Language Understanding Laboratory at the Department of Biomedical Sciences. We also have a relationshiop with Comcast’s Applied AI group as a potential source of Summer internships for our MS students.

There are currently eight students in the MS program, two of which are also pursuing a PhD in Linguistics.

List of (past and current) student achievements

  • MS alumnus (and PhD student) Ali Alshehri has been working at Apple Siri as a contractor since October 2020, but in the Summer of 2021 he was hired full time as a Language Engineer, working on Siri's text-to-speech technology.
  • MS alumnus  Jude LaFleur  was AI hired as an AI Engineer 2 at IQVIA, The Human Data Science Company, in June 2021. In the previous summeer he had completed an internship at The Research Foundation for SUNY, working with the Natural Language Understanding Laboratory at the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
  • MS (and PhD) students Liz Soper and Erin Pacquetet, along with a few other students at UB, are participating in the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, under the guidance of Professor Rohini Srihari (CSE). This challenge focuses on designing and implementing conversational AI systems (chatbots), and it comes with a $250K research grant to develop a prototype. Nine teams were selected for this first round, and the next involves a $1M prize. The UB project (named PROTO) focuses on empathetic chatbots that leverage large volumes of dynamic content in order to generate longer, productive conversations on various topics including health.
  • MS student Stephanie Richter co-authored two conference papers in 2020 (one for the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society and another for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics), and was accepted into the PhD in Linguistics program at the University of Rochester, starting Fall 2021.
  • MS graduate Mitchell Kristie has accepted the position of Artificial Intelligence Enablement Team Lead at Welocalize on the Spring of 2020.
  • MS (and PhD) student Liz Soper is at Data Science NLP intern at Ancestry, in Salt Lake City during the Summer of 2021. In the Summer of 2020 she completed a Data Science internship at Vail Systems, Inc, and in the summer before that she interned at the Natural Language Understanding Laboratory at the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
  • MS graduate Xuejiao Chen accepted a position as an assistant NLP Engineer at the Institute of Information Science of the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation on the Spring of 2020.
  • MS graduate Soo Hyun Ryu has been accepted to the Psychology program at Michigan University, starting Fall 2020.
  • MS graduates Mengyang-Qiu and Xuejiao Chen have turned a term paper into a published conference paper: Qiu, M., Chen, X., Liu, M., Parvathala, K., Patil, A. & Park, J. (2019) "Improving precision of grammatical error correction with a cheat sheet", in Proceedings of the 14th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications, collocated with the 2019 ACL Conference.
  • MS student Soo Hyun Ryu will graduate in the Spring of 2019 and will be working as a researcher in the NLP*CL Lab at Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST) as well as a Grammar Developer for Lionbridge.  She also presented a paper entitled "On the interaction between dependency frequency and thematic fit in sentence processing" at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics, NYC.
  • MS/PhD student Erika Bellingham completed an internship at Google, as an Analytical Linguist Intern (Intent Schema Team) from June 2018 to August 2018. She worked on natural language systems for the Google Assistant, and used linguistic analysis to improve Natural Language Understanding and Natural Language Generation systems. She was hired as a Linguist by Google in 2020.
  • MS/PhD student Hao Sun has graduated in the Spring of 2018, and was hired as an Artificial Intelligence Scientist by Astound, AI., a startup located in Menlo Park, California. Later he moved to Pearson, also at Menlo Park.
  • MS student Dianna Radpour took a leave during the Spring of 2018 to participate in an internship in the Reiken Institute (Tokyo, Japan). In the Fall of 2018 she graduated, and moved on to a PhD program at the University Colorado.

Application Deadlines

Application reviews begin January 15 of each year, and continue throughout the Spring semester. 

Ideal applicants to the MS have :

  • good letters of recommendation
  • a strong cover letter
  • good grades
  • prior training/experience relevant to the MS (e.g. background in linguistics, computer science, and/or mathematics)

Online Application

Advising Faculty

The MS degree aslo requires the completion of a capstone project (LIN600), which consists of a significant amount of programming and allows students to specialize in particular techniques, methodos and/or research. The project can be completed at any time during the program and can be advised by any of the following faculty. For a recent example of a project that became a published paper see https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W19-1004/.

Rui P. Chaves, Associate Professor of Linguistics

Rachael Hinkle, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Yingjie Hu, Assistant Professor of Geography

Jean-Pierre Koenig, Professor of Linguistics

Rohini Srihari, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Degree Requirements

Credit Hours: 36           
Required Linguistics Courses                                        
  • Phonetics (LIN 531)
  • Syntax I (LIN 515)
  • Advanced Syntax (such as LIN 526: Comparative Syntactic Theories; LIN 552: Head Driven Phrase Structure Grammar; LIN 535: Syntax 2; or LIN 614: Current Syntactic Theory)
  • Semantics I (LIN 538)
  • Semantics II (LIN 543)
Required Computer Science Courses
  • Introduction to Computer Science for non-majors I (CSE 503)
  • Information Retrieval (CSE 535)
  • Machine Learning (CSE 574)
  • Computational Linguistics (LIN/CSE 567)
  • Advanced Topics in Computational Linguistics (LIN/CSE 667) 

Electives*

  • Statistics (such as LIN 624: Quantitative Methods in Linguistics;  PSC 508: Basic Statistics for Social Sciences; or COM 504: Quantitative Foundations of Communication)
  • Deep Learning (CSE 676)
  •  Machine Learning And Society (CSE 540)
  • Disorders of Memory (CDS 687) 
  • Fundamentals of Programming Languages (CSE 505)
  • Analysis of Algorithms (CSE 531)
  • Introduction to pattern recognition (CSE 555)
  • Knowledge Representation (CSE 563)
  • Topics in visualization (CSE 566)
  • Introduction to Computer Vision and Image Processing (CSE 573)
  • Machine Learning (CSE 574)
  • Introduction to the Theory of Computation (CSE 596)
  • Data mining and bioinformatics (CSE 601)
  • NLP and Text Mining (CSE 635)
  • Advanced Machine Learning (CSE 674)
  • Discourse pragmatics (LIN 504)
  • Corpus Linguistics (LIN 514)
  • Head-driven Phrase-Structure Grammar (LIN 552)
  • Psycholinguistics (PSY 642)
  • Internship (LIN 599)

*To be chosen in agreement with each student’s advisor; other classes may be taken with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies in the concentration for Computational Linguistics, Professor Rui P. Chaves.

Required courses may be waived if a corresponding course has already been taken. For information on Computer Science courses, please visit the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Contact Us

Rohini Srihari, PhD

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

338D Davis Hall

Phone: (716) 645-1602 Ext. 102

Email: rohini@cedar.buffalo.edu