The course consists of compulsory and advanced modules, complemented by a master's thesis and internship, for a total of 120 ECTS credits.
Students within the double degree program have to study at two institutions of the consortium. As such, they are jointly monitored by two lecturers (tutors), one from each institution. Each student has to develop a study plan with her/his tutors. This plan must be submitted for approval to the Joint Committee of the Consortium. The students have to complete successfully all the written and/or oral exams of the modules selected in the aforementioned study plan. The thesis is supervised by at least two supervisors, one from each host institution. The thesis is submitted at and should satisfy the regulations of both hosting institutions, and is assessed at both institutions.
Summary of Study Programme:
The modular curriculum consists of four components:
(A) Core modules ensure that the students obtain a solid common foundation designed to cover all areas necessary for working in LCT, including theoretical as well as practical skills; the number of credits for the various modules differs depending on the students’ background. Core modules are normally taken during the first year.
(B) Specialized modules complement the common core to help build a personalized profile. As a sample of possible profiles, we give guidelines for three tracks that suit different incoming backgrounds and prepare students for different career possibilities. The tracks are purely advisory: it is not mandatory to follow any specific track and they are not shown on final certificates. They are meant to help design a personal path through the structure of the programme.
(C) Free choice courses, soft skills courses and an internship offer, respectively, the possibility to acquire additional specialized topics reflecting current trends and hot research and employment areas, improve soft skills and gain practical experience and contact with the world of work in a company or in a research lab within or outside the university partners.
(D) Joint programme events are occasions during which students acquire additional (hard and soft) skills and have opportunities for networking with other students and with the associated partners. The internal summer school takes place before the start of each academic year, whereas the annual meeting is in the spring.
(E) Master thesis rounds off the learning experience with an independent project, which can be carried out at the university or as an internship.
A schematic overview of the programme is given in the table. Beyond the obligatory common core this modular curriculum structure allows the students to follow a study plan tailored to their background, interests and preferences.
The three suggested tracks are characterized as follows:
The Digital Language Resources (DLR) track is meant for students having a strong linguistics background with the kind of insights and practical skills required to design, create and exploit annotated data resources for natural language applications or for the empirical validation of issues in cognitive and experimental linguistics.
The Natural Language Algorithms and Applications (NLA) track, intended mainly for students with a computer science background, revolves around the design and implementation of algorithms and machine learning techniques that are relevant to fundamental natural language processing problems such as parsing, generation, translation, as well as more advanced applications and platforms that make use of such algorithms.
The Language Data Science (LDS) track is aimed at students with a strong background in computer science and mathematics, familiar with AI approaches. It focuses on the application of Data Science techniques to large quantities of language data of different types and granularities in order to address important practical tasks such as information extraction, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, data visualisation etc.
It is of course possible to mix and match courses from different tracks to provide a more individually-tailored course of study to each student.
Modules and learning outcomes The LCT curriculum consists of coursework and an internship (90 ECTS) plus a Master thesis (30 ECTS). Courses are primarily distributed over the first three semesters, while most of the work on the Master thesis is completed in the fourth semester. This results in a 2-year programme of 120 ECTS. The students study one year each at two universities of the consortium. The benefits of such a programme are twofold: (a) scientifically, it brings students in contact with two different research environments and different areas of specialization; and (b) culturally, it brings students in contact with two different societies which, crucially in our case, also mainly do research on (at least) two different languages (given the topic of the Masters, multilinguality is considered a key issue).
Students in LCT need knowledge of a wide range of topics in linguistics, computer science, mathematics and natural language processing, and ability to design, develop, and evaluate applications that crucially rely on language technology (skills and competence). To ensure that each student has sufficient and comparable knowledge and skills, we have identified 6 foundational areas (adding up to 30 ECTS) in Natural Language Processing (NLP) covered by core modules. The core modules aim at establishing the “lingua franca” for all students attending the programme, independently of their previous background. In addition, students need to select one specialization track and cover the topics of each of the three modules within the chosen track (adding up to 30 ECTS). Each track consists of three specialized modules (adding up to 30 ECTS), of min 6 max 15 ECTS;
An additional 30 ECTS are acquired by free choice (10-15 ECTS), and soft-skills (5-9 ECTS) courses (e.g., scientific communication, writing and defending grant proposals, career perspectives, etc.) and an internship (6-15 ECTS).