Master of Science in Language and Computation

Master of Science in Language and Computation

Course information

Course title Master of Science in Language and Computation
Course code PMSCLNCFTR4
Postnominal M.Sc.(Melit.)
Level of qualification Second Cycle
National Qualifications Framework level Level 7
Duration 3 Semesters
Mode of attendance Full-time (by Research)
Total ECTS credits 90
Coordinator Lonneke van der Plas
Delivered by Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology
The M.Sc. in Language and Computation is offered by the Institute of Linguistics, in collaboration with the Department of Intelligent Computer Systems (Faculty of Information Technology) and the Department of Systems and Control Engineering (Faculty of Engineering).

The course gives participants a thorough grounding in Computational Linguistics and Human Language Technology (HLT). HLT is an area of research and development that combines Linguistics, Cognitive Science and ICT. As the primary means of human communication, language plays a dominant role in research on communication, as well as in developments in communication technology, especially in the development of intelligent interfaces that seek to make human-machine and human-human communication as seamless as possible. Most applications and services involving telecommunication and information processing, such as mobile telephony, social media, and artificial embodied agents (including robots) involve human language. Three main aims characterise the research endeavours in this area:

1. Enhancing human - machine interaction by developing machines that are able to use natural language, and that allow humans to interact with them as if they were interacting with other humans.

2. Understanding language by developing, implementing and testing language models that provide insights into how the human brain processes linguistic data.

3. Manipulating, processing and analysing language information – including the information found in online social media – in order to extract useful information and facilitate its communication.

Tuition on this programme will be carried out with a variety of methods, including lectures, tutorials and individual supervision on research projects. A strong emphasis is placed on practical work.

The programme targets students from a variety of backgrounds; hence, it provides a number of foundational modules in the first year that are intended to give participants the necessary grounding in Information Technology, Linguistic theory and programming skills. The foundational part of the programme is tailored to the needs of each individual student, depending on their background. In addition, participants will also follow modules covering state of the art research in Language and Computation, notably, communication with embodied agents, and communication via social media.

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The Course shall be open to applicants in possession of a first cycle degree with at least Second Class Honours in Linguistics or Computing Science, or in any other area of study deemed relevant by the Board,
provided that, in appropriate cases, the Board may require students admitted to the Course to follow and pass supplementary study-units to which a maximum of 12 ECTS credits are assigned, in addition to the programme of study specified in bye-law 5 of the bye-laws for the Course.

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2020.

For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.

UM currently hosts over 1,000 full-time international students and over 450 visiting students. The ever-increasing international students coming from various countries, in recent years, have transformed this 400-year old institution into an international campus.

Our international students generally describe Malta as a safe place, enjoying excellent weather and an all-year varied cultural programme. Malta is considered as the ideal place for students to study.

You can compare your national qualifications to the local requirements by visiting our qualifications comparability webpage.

Access more information about our admission process and English language requirements.

After you receive an offer from us, our International Office will assist you with visas, accommodation and other related issues.

Local/EU/EEA Applicants: Annual Enrolment Fee: Eur 400

Non-EU/Non-EEA Applicants: Total Tuition Fees: Eur 13,400
Yr 1: Eur 13,400 - Yr 2: NIL
Students who follow this programme will achieve the following:

• a solid background in computing and applications of ICT to the development of intelligent systems that communicate using Natural Language;

• a solid background in areas of Linguistics relevant to the development of such systems;

• a strongly multi-disciplinary orientation, through a focus on the interstices between the study of language and intelligent computer systems;

• practical skills in programming and algorithm design, as well as training in experimental design and data analysis.
The course is ideal for anyone wishing to pursue further studies in an interdisciplinary area that brings together technology, language and cognition. It is particularly appropriate for students whose intellectual home is in one or more of the following areas:

• language technology, computational linguistics and/or natural language processing (e.g. holders of a Bachelors degree in Computational Linguistics);

• computing, mathematics or engineering (e.g. holders of a Bachelors degree in Computing Science);

• language sciences (e.g. holders of a Bachelors degree in Linguistics).
The interdisciplinary nature of the program will help to enhance the employability of successful students, opening doors for them in the fields of ICT as well as language-related professions, including employment in the growing sector of the ICT industry that specifically focuses on Language Technology.

Potential employers include national and international players in the software industry, where novel applications involving language understanding and generation are a fast-growing area. Major companies such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft issue calls for research and engineering staff on a regular basis. Several new companies involved in automatic language processing have been launched in recent years, including Data2Text (UK), Arria NLG (UK/Australia) and BrightHub (USA), to mention a few. Local companies are also getting involved in this area. For example, the local branch of the international IT solutions provider Crimsonwing, in collaboration with the University of Malta, and with funding from the European Development Fund, has developed a speech synthesiser (https://www.crimsonwing.com/global/en/custom-development/maltese-speech-synthesiser). The Institute of Linguistics is well-placed to exploit such possibilities, having developed ties with players in this sector which have resulted in concrete collaborations, including the provision of placement opportunities for undergraduate students.

In addition to these employment opportunities, an M.Sc. in Language and Computation also opens doors for further academic advancement. There are many Ph.D. programmes within this general area, including the Ph.D. programme offered by the Institute of Linguistics. Research in this area benefits from significant international funding, part of which is often dedicated to Ph.D. studentships associated with specific research projects. For example, the European Union funds a number of projects involving HLT and, according to the Community Research and Information Service (CORDIS), ‘EU support for HLT is…being revived due to renewed political commitment following the enlargement of the EU and new challenges emerging from globalised markets’ (https://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/language-technologies/).
Click here to access the Programme of Study applicable from 2020/1.

Last Updated: 30 September 2020

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.

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