European Masters in
Speech and Language Technology

This is an outline of a new European Masters course in Speech and Language Technology at the University of Helsinki, taught entirely in English. It is proposed that the course will start in Autumn 2004 as part of the "Bologna" restructuring of European university degrees. It is anticipated that the course will attract students from throughout the EU, including a number of Finnish students. The entry requirement is a suitable Bachelors degree from a European university. The Masters degree may lead either to immediate employment in industry or, for excellent students, to PhD research at University of Helsinki.

The core areas of the course are speech technology and language technology, supported by relevant studies in web technology. The speech technology components include phonetics, speech processing (recognition and synthesis) and prosody. The language technology components include linguistics (computational and theoretical), language processing (parsing and generation) and dialogue systems. The web technology components include Java programming, XML and web applications development.

Similar Existing Courses

These UK courses are intensive 1-year full-time courses. The Masters degree is completed in 12 months by making the summer vacation a third semester, spent on industrial project work and dissertation writing, after two regular semesters of taught courses and examinations. It is proposed that the Helsinki Masters will not follow this pattern, but will be a 2-year course spread over 4 normal semesters. This will allow a little more flexibility in module choices and project arrangements.

The Edinburgh course combines a strong psychological and cognitive flavour with the core speech and language components. The Cambridge course has a stronger emphasis on computing and it requires previous experience of computer programming. It is intended that the Helsinki course will combine the core speech and language components with suitable foundation courses in web technology.

European Masters

It should be possible to get the course approved as a European Masters in Language and Speech. This is an endorsement given by ISCA (International Speech Communication Association) and EACL (European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics) to courses which meet a specific set of requirements covering both the taught components and the project.

The Euromasters curriculum has been developed by 13 European universities. The curriculum may be offered either by a single institution or by a partnership between participating institutions. The Euromasters programme encourages students to spend at least 3 months at a second European university. A summer school is run at one of the participating universities in July each year.

A Partner Institution

The Edinburgh and Cambridge courses are single-institution courses made possible by the large numbers of professors, lecturers and researchers in speech and language technology concentrated at those universities. At University of Helsinki we can offer a range of appropriate modules in language technology but we will need to find a suitable partner to offer an equivalent range of modules in speech technology.

One option is to collaborate with Helsinki University of Technology who have relevant strengths in speech technology, so that the complete Masters in Speech and Language Technology can be offered in Helsinki. Another option is to collaborate with a suitable speech technology partner outside Finland but probably in the Nordic region. In either case, full advantage should be taken of web-based learning, video technology and the experience already gained in the Finnish KIT network in language technology education.

Graham Wilcock
Last modified: Fri Mar 21 20:28:16 EET 2003