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What you should know as a newbie

Introductory Meeting

The Introductory Meeting takes place on the first Monday of each semester in room 0.02 in Verfügungsgebäude (Wilhelmstr. 19). The part from 4-6pm is for students of ISCL (Bachelor and Master, major and minor), and the part from 6-8pm is for students of General Linguistics. However, these meetings are both open, so feel free to come even if you're not a student of the relevant subject.

The purpose of the Introductory Meeting is to give you an overview over the new semester and all courses offered during it. This is also why you definitely should not miss it if you plan to take on, or continue, your studies in ISCL or General Linguistics. If you have any questions about course requirements, which courses to take at all, or any other organizational issue, ask them during the Introductory Meeting.

At the end of the meeting participants are asked to fill out the form for new user registration in the SfS computer systems. This username is then used to sign in to SfS computers and email.

The handout of the summer term 2015 Introductory Meeting can be downloaded here: PDF Handout, of the winter term 2015/16 here: PDF HandoutWS. For corrections, refer to CAMPUS errata.

Course registration

In ISCL, and in part also in General Linguistics, you do not need to register for courses in advance. Usually, a list of participants is passed around during the first lecture/ meeting, and you only have to put your name and email address on it. If you cannot make it to the first lecture/ meeting of a course, you should contact the lecturer in advance.

The dates for tutorials are also set during the first lecture/ meeting of a course. They are scheduled by agreement of the tutors and all (or, if this is impossible, most) students and can therefore not be announced before the start of the course.

There are, however, some courses for which you do need to register. This is usually announced in the CAMPUS system. If you forgot to register for such a course, contact the lecturer by email as soon as possible, or at least come to the Introductory Meeting and talk to them.

Please also read our General Advice regarding CAMPUS.

Course schedule times

All times are usually c.T. = cum Tempore. This means that e.g., a course scheduled for 10 c.T. actually starts at 10:15. Courses that are announced as taking 2 hours (e.g., 10-12) usually take only 90 minutes (i.e. 10:15-11:45). There is only one exception: Courses that are announced to start at 8 c.T. usually start at 8:30 and end at 10:00, but this is discussed in the first meeting of each course.

Unix Introduction

There is a special one-week course at the beginning of each winter semester that introduces people who are new at the SfS (not just first semester people!) to our computer system. Most of the student computers and servers at the SfS run some version of Ubuntu, an easy to use Linux distribution. The goal of this course is to make you familiar with the basics of the Unix command line.

There is a little examination at the end of the week to make sure everyone has understood the matter. But there is no need to worry, since no one has ever failed the test. Since WS 2011/12, this grade counts towards your grade for Introduction to Computational Linguistics.

The course is mainly there to make sure no one accidentally damages any computers. Cf also our formal description of this course.

This course is mandatory for everyone who has never logged into a computer in the lab (room 2.26/2.28). Therefore, in the winter semester all other courses start one week after the beginning of the Vorlesungszeit (lecture period), unless announced differently in the Introductory Meeting.

Prospective Bachelor students

You can find a detailed description of our Bachelor programs on the Websites of the Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft. The University also has some Basic Information for International Students in English.


How to choose a minor

Your minor should provide you with all the linguistic background knowledge you need for computational linguistics. Currently, three minors are offered:

  • General Linguistics (Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft)
  • Linguistik des Deutschen
  • Slavistische Linguistik

However, you can also take any other subject, as long as it includes linguistics. Talk to the study advisor before signing up for anything.

Prospective Master students

You can find a detailed description of our Master programs on the Websites of the Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft.

The program consists of 90 credit points in courses, and 30 credit points for the M.A. thesis. This means you will have to take 3-6 Hauptseminare (upper level courses) per semester for three semesters, leaving one semester for the thesis. The courses can be chosen freely, as long as you take enough from core CL. General linguistics courses will usually be accepted; for all others check with the M.A. supervisor before taking the class.

A list of courses (winter term 2011/12) can be obtained here.

If you do not have a B.A. in CL, you will also be required to take introductory courses in CL, for example, programming courses. Again, check with the supervisor at the earliest possibility.

Tips from insiders

Ich bin noch Masterstudent, schreibe gerade an meiner Masterarbeit und kann gerne ein paar Fragen dazu beantworten. Die fachlichen Schwerpunkte sind wegen eines angeschlossenen SFBs und hoffentlich bald auch eines Exzellenzclusters recht vielfältig, zumal für ein eigentlich recht kleines und teils sehr familiäres Institut. Hier die Eigendarstellung der Forschung, die auch das Seminarangebot bestimmt:


Was ich am Master in ISCL in Tübingen gut finde ist, dass man nur relativ wenige Credit Points aus der Computerlinguistik sammeln muss (genaueres weiß die Prüfungsordnung). Den Rest kann man - nach vorheriger Absprache mit den Zuständigen - auch ich der Informatik oder der Allgemeinen Sprachwissenschaft einsammeln. Oder natürlich auch außerhalb der Allgemeinen Sprachwissenschaft in den einzelnen Philologien.

Da erfahrungsgemäß die Leute meist entweder mehr Linguistik oder mehr Informatik wollen, bietet der MA in Tübingen also passenden Spielraum.

Ziemlich uncool ist, dass man in jedem Semester eine Hausarbeit abliefern muss. Das ist quasi das Druckmittel, damit man nicht ewig studiert, die vier Semester Regelstudienzeit kann man ja ansonsten gefahrlos überschreiten (Terror mit der Studienfinanzierung mal beiseite gelassen). In meinem Jahrgang haben das fast alle gemacht, und wer sich an der Uni auch anderswo herumtreiben will, der kann auch einfach länger machen.

Im Moment haben wir zwei Profs in der Computerlinguistik, das sind Erhard Hinrichs und Detmar Meurers. Dann ist da noch Gerhard Jäger in der Sprachwissenschaft. Demnächst wird noch Harald Baayen aus Kanada hinzustoßen, das genaue Datum ist mir unbekannt. Blöd sind die alle nicht. ;-) Da ich aber Mitarbeiter von einem bin, möchte ich weiterer Urteile lieber den jetzigen Studenten überlassen.

Der von anonymous schon angesprochene SFB833 bietet recht viele Hiwi-Stellen, auch hausintern gibt es im Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft einige davon, so dass man als Student auch Einblicke in den Forschungsalltag bekommen kann, und das auch noch bezahlt.


I am still studying computational linguistics and here are some tips from my experience. Depending on what kind of background you bring to the field of computational linguistics, first semester of the B.A. ISCL program could be a bit challenging. For example if you are coming from psychology or linguistics background having no knowledge about programming or algorithms, you might find the Java and Mathematics for Linguists courses a bit challenging thus require special attention. Same stands true for those coming from Computer Science background, the subjects like Introduction to General Linguistics might seem bit foreign to you. Special attention should be given to the first semester, and preferably one should stick with the model study plan and do not even think about taking any key-qualifications or additional courses as the mandatory course work for B.A. ISCL with minors in General Linguistics is enough to keep you busy in studies. Never miss a lecture and always submit homeworks on time, because they both contribute greatly to your final grades and performance in exam. If at any time you feel that the course is proving to be extremely difficult for you, talk to your colleagues and one might lend you a hand for free. This is specially true because the students come from different background in which some of them coming from strong backgrounds in their fields. The professors and lecturers here are really friendly, you can just drop them an email and meet them to discuss anything you feel left out about.


Employment Perspectives

Koordinationsstelle Praxis & Beruf der Philosophischen Fakultät

They can help you get an internship or a job. Here is a flyer with more information (in German): File:KoordinationsstellePraxisUndBeruf-Flyer2012.pdf