Academic Experience

students in classroomThe UW Master of Science in Computational Linguistics program equips students for dynamic careers in the tech industry or for a Ph.D. program in the field.

Program Format

The master's in computational linguistics is a nine-course, 43-credit program that culminates with a master's project. The format is flexible — you can study part time or full time and take classes online, on campus, or both.

Full-time students take three courses per quarter for three quarters and then complete the master's project over the summer, finishing the program in 12 months. Part-time students take one or two courses per quarter and finish in two to three years.

The program is offered in a hybrid format, giving you the choice to either attend class on the UW campus or watch online via a live webcast. Classes meet during the day but are recorded and made available for later viewing. Find out more about online learning.


The curriculum consists of a sequence of four core computational linguistics courses, two linguistics courses and a choice of three electives. Students also complete a master's project, which can take the form of a thesis or an internship.

With its mix of technical and linguistics courses, the curriculum is designed to immerse students in the latest natural language processing technologies while providing essential theoretical knowledge that will be relevant for years to come. You’ll gain a strong foundation in the methodologies of language technology, including expertise in state-of-the-art techniques for evaluating results and experience creating solutions for end-to-end systems. Learn more about program courses

Extensive hands-on work provides opportunities for in-depth exploration and research, and collaborative projects allow you to tackle challenging problems in a manner closely modeled on industry practices.

Master's Project (Thesis or Internship)

To conclude their program, students have the choice of completing a thesis or a 6- to 10-week internship. The thesis project gives students experience with independent research and academic writing and typically involves the implementation or evaluation of working systems. 

With the internship option, students gain practical experience working in computational linguistics  at a local company. Our students have had considerable success in securing positions at companies such as Google, Microsoft, PARC, Adapx, VoiceBox Technologies, InQuira and Amazon. 

Single Course Enrollment and Certificate Option

Students who are interested in studying computational linguistics but not yet ready to take on a full master's degree program may want to consider taking individual program courses. See the Single Course Enrollment page for more details.

The UW also offers an embedded certificate program, the Certificate in Natural Language Technology, which consists of a summer fundamentals refresher course and the first two courses in the core sequence. You can earn up to 12 graduate credits toward degree requirements should you later be accepted into the master’s program. To use those credits, you obtain graduate nonmatriculated status before you register for the first course of the certificate program.