The Erasmus Mundus European Masters Program in Language and Communication Technologies (LCT) is designed to meet the demands of industry and research in a rapidly growing area. It offers education and training opportunities for the next generations of leaders in research and innovation. It provides students with profound knowledge and insight into the various disciplines that contribute to the methods of language and communication technologies and it strengthens their ability to work according to scientific methods. Moreover, the students acquire practice-oriented knowledge by choosing appropriate combinations of modules in Language Technology, Computational and Theoretical Linguistics, and Computer Science.
The LCT program involves studying one year each at two different European universities of the consortium. After completing all study requirements, the student will obtain two Master of Science/Arts degrees approved in the respective countries of issue.
The LCT Masters program has been successfully implemented since 2006, is funded by the Erasmus Mundus Program from 2007 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2017. In 2012 the LCT Program operated as an Erasmus Mundus Brand Name. Intakes 2020 and 2021: the program commits to respecting the Erasmus Mundus requirements and to maintain the high quality of the implementation during the years of funding.
Student mobility tracks
Every student studies one year each at two different European consortium partner universities.
Summary of Study Program
The modular curriculum consists of four components:
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.
Specialized modules complement the common core. We offer three tracks with different incoming pre-requisites that prepare students for different career possibilities.
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.
Joint program 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.
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 program 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 specialization tracks are characterized as follows:
The Digital Language Resources (DLR) track equips 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 visualization, etc.
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 program of 120 ECTS. The students study one year each at two universities of the consortium. The benefits of such a program 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, multilingualism 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 the 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 program, 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; the “Digital Language Resources” includes a module on cognitive/neuroscience, experimental linguistics, to foster this new angle of research in managing also neuro data. Due to the novelty of this research line, it is an obligatory module (min 0 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).
The Internal Summer School will take place in late August each year for one week for all students.
For first year students, the primary focus will be on joint induction: introduction of the administrative and organizational aspects of the LCT program; intercultural training; experience exchange with second year students; study-related soft skills training, e.g., study and research methods, academic writing, presentation skills, teamwork, time management.
For second year students the summer school will offer personal, professional, and career development training and support in relation to the realization of the master thesis and preparation for professional life after graduation. It will cover a selection of topics such as career management, networking, searching and applying for internships and jobs in industry and academia, fundraising, venture creation, and entrepreneurship.
Annual Meeting of the LCT program is organized each year around May/June at a site of one of the partners and takes two days. The AM is attended by all students, Consortium representatives, and guests from academia and industry; also the latest graduates and all alumni are invited. The program includes student and joint student-staff sessions, invited lectures, student conferences with a poster session where all students have a chance to present their project work or thesis topics, soft skills training, and last but not least the graduation ceremony and social activities.
Research and Partnership
As an international distributed Master of Science/Arts course, the European Masters Program in Language and Communication Technologies (LCT) currently has nine universities in Europe and Asia-Pacific regions taking part in. Besides, DFKI, Google Switzerland, and the IBM Czech Republic are associated partners of this program.
Prerequisites and Admission
Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent in the area of (Computational) Linguistics, Language Technology, Cognitive Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, or other relevant disciplines, subject to the consent of and the approval by the consortium's admission committee.
If your BS/BA degree is still in progress, you may nevertheless submit an application. Complete the area "Expected Degree" in the online application form. The restriction, in this case, will be that the BS/BA certificate is available before the MSc study course begins.
Proficiency in English (for non-native speakers) must be certified by one of the following:
TOEFL score of at least 95 overall, with at least 24 points on the writing section (internet-based test).Note: Expired TOEFL scores or copies of the student score report cannot be accepted.TOEFL Best Scores are acceptable for central application and selection. In case of acceptance, an updated certificate may be required for enrollment at the local university site.
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English -- at least B
Cambridge Proficiency Exam -- pass.
IELTS score of at least 7.0.
No other documents can be accepted as confirmation of English proficiency.
Applicants from countries where English is not the ONLY native language do need one of the certificates mentioned above.
The TOEFL code number is 8497. All LCT TOEFL scores should be sent to Saarland University-Dept. of Language Science and Technology. So it is important to enter code 8497 on your answer sheets when you sit for the examination. Please do not upload or send us a copy of the student record of your TOEFL scores. We can only accept official scores sent to us directly from the TOEFL organization. If you have taken the TOEFL within the past 2 years and wish to order an official score report to be sent directly from the TOEFL organization.
Regarding the Coronavirus situation in Europe:
The selection schedule already published on the home page will be respected. Regarding other questions relating to the virus situation, it is not yet possible to predict what the European situation will be in August 2020 (Summer School) and in September 2020, the beginning of the intake. Further information will be provided as we become aware of potential changes, especially regarding any instructions provided by the European Union. The current state is to continue according to the planned schedule until further notice (March 2020).
Students are selected by a joint committee including members from all partner institutions. Students are selected for study in the program on the basis of their performance and excellence in their previous studies.
All applications are first screened for fulfilling the following eligibility criteria:
Meeting of the application deadline.
Completeness of the application.
English language proficiency.
Bachelor degree (at least projected completion before starting the LCT Program) or equivalent in the area of (Computational) Linguistics, Language Technology, Cognitive Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, or other relevant disciplines, subject to the consent of and the approval by the consortium's admission committee.
All applications that meet the eligibility criteria are then assessed against the following selection criteria:
Results in undergraduate education: grade and quality of first degree (what mark and from which university or program); time spent to receive first degree and way of conducting studies (short and focused, or if long additional activities, the richness of studies depending on the field, additional activities besides studies); having worked or studied in an interdisciplinary environment (a type of first degree studies or additional experience outside the first-degree studies).
Results in areas relevant for LCT, namely Computer Science and a proven interest in Language Technology (incl. a strong background in formal linguistics).
Result of TOEFL, IELTS, or another acceptable test (see language requirements here); language abilities and practical application in studying or working.
Benefit potential for the students, how the student may profit from participating in the LCT program.
The motivation of the student for wanting to participate in the LCT program (expectations, own contribution).
All criteria are equally weighted, except the English proficiency criterion, which is applied in case of otherwise equal ranking.
For non-European students, the program fees are in the amount of Euro 8,500 per year.
For European students, the program fees are in the amount of Euro 4,250 per year.
A limited number of partial fee waivers may be available for individual intakes.
The LCT program fees cover:
the registration fees of the local universities
administrative support at the host universities
standard insurance scheme
instruction and access to resources at the assigned universities
selected travel or other expenses directly related to the study in the LCT program, if approved by the coordinator/s
The Erasmus Mundus scholarship covers the program fee.
1. Erasmus Mundus scholarships
The program offers the following categories of scholarships:
Non-European for students selected by EMMC consortia who come from a country other than an EU member state or Program country and who are not residents nor have carried out their main activity (studies, work, etc.) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in one of these countries.
European for students selected by EMMC consortia and who are residents or nationals of any of the EU Member countries, Program country, i.e. a country fully participating to the program on the same grounds as the EU Member States, or other nationals who have carried out their main activity (studies, work, etc.) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in one of these countries. Students from Turkey, FYROM, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Serbia will be considered as nationals from a Program Country.
2. Consortium Scholarships
A limited number of scholarships for self-funding students will be offered by the LCT consortium for intake 2020, taking the form of a partial fee waiver. Please apply to be considered for a scholarship by: submitting a waiver application justification letter (pdf only) by 15.04.2020 to this email address: lct-info(at)coli.uni-saarland.de. Preference will be given to students with excellent qualifications from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
LCT students without the Erasmus Mundus scholarship may be eligible to apply for Erasmus+ support for the second program year. These grants can carry a small monthly allowance. The application is done via the International Office of the first year university. Deadlines for the application vary depending on the target university but are usually sometime in spring. Be sure to begin the process in good time by contacting the international office of your first year university.
3b. Erasmus+ Internships
If you are a current LCT student and have not previously had Erasmus funding, you may be eligible for support under the Erasmus+ internship program to do a short or medium-term internship in another European country. Your contact point is the International Office at your current institution.