Master's Thesis

Master's students majoring in "Computational Linguistics" can, while those majoring in "Computational Linguistics and Language Technology" (90 credits) must write their master's thesis in the main subject.


Master's students studying "Computational Linguistics" or "Computational Linguistics and Language Technology" as a first minor can submit a justified application to write their master's thesis in "Computational Linguistics" or "Computational Linguistics and Language Technology".

You can find all current information about the completion of your master's degree program and a master's thesis in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences here. This relates also to the booking form of the master's thesis.

Formal requirements

The master's thesis is an independently written body of work. Group work is not allowed. Students have six months to work on their thesis, which is assessed and worth 30 ECTS credits.

The legal framework for the writing of a master's thesis is set out in the "General Regulations for the Study of Bachelor and Master Degree Programs at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Zurich" of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Zurich.

Topic and aim

The topic of the master's thesis must be agreed upon and approved by a representative of the department (a professor) of Computational Linguistics. The agreed and approved topic will be recorded on the topic sheet (see below). The representative of the department can delegate this task to a member of middle management.   

In the master's thesis, the students should prove that he/she can process a scientifically relevant question from the field of computational linguistics or language technology in a methodically clean way and present it adequately. The "state of the art" is to be reprocessed in relation to the chosen question, i.e. no new scientific knowledge is required (but this is not prohibited). The formal rules of the discipline (e.g. regarding references) must be taken into account.


As a rule, an employee of the institute (assistant, research associate, professor) supervises the work. However, there is no entitlement to supervision. The evaluation is carried out by the representative of the department, who can delegate this task to a middle-level employee.

Scope and design

The master's thesis should not exceed 80 pages, (approx. 240, 000 characters, excluding appendices and bibliography). Extensive data, which is only suitable for further processing by machine (program code, corpora, etc.) should also be in extracts or in the appendix. 

A proof copy of the thesis must be submitted directly to the supervisor, who will determine the outer form. This copy is to be printed on single-sided and must be accompanied by a CD-ROM (enclosed in a pocket) containing:

  • one file each containing an overview with a German and an English summary of the work (approx. 100 words each, file format: ASCII or HTML);
  • a file with the complete master's thesis 'masterarbeit.pdf' including all attachments in PDF format.

The following conditions must be met:

  1. Font types other than the freely available Type-1 fonts (Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc.) must be included in the PDF document. This must be specified as an option when converting to PDF format.
  2. The sheet size must not exceed 210 x 297mm (DIN A4).
  3. Graphics in the text are to be scaled to a reasonable resolution. 300 dpi is enough for graphics.
  4. Colour graphics should be reduced to 256 colours in order to maintain smaller file sizes.
  5. The file with the full contents of the work must not be read-only.
  6. Please use a branded product (Maxell, TDK, Sony, etc.) as a blank.

Program code, corpora and other data, which are suitable for further processing by machine, should be included in their complete form on the CD-ROM/DVD. These should be presented in ASCII, not in PDF format, and should be in separate files, which are to be named in a self-explanatorily manner. Information required to process the data on the computer must be explicit in order to allow for efficient testing.

You can find all current information about a master's thesis in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences here. This relates to the copy of the Master's thesis incl. CD-ROM, which is to be submitted to the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and subsequently archived in the Zentral Bibliothek. Among other things, there is more specific information regarding how and with what materials the thesis must be bound and which attachments must also be included in the final copy (for example, a current curriculum vitae).


Additionally, a bound copy of the accepted master's thesis must be submitted to the Institue of Computational Linguistics.

Here is a LaTeX template for a master's thesis:

LaTeX-Template for master's thesis (GZ, 441 KB)

Topic sheet

Once the topic of the master's thesis is approved by a representative of the department, he/she establishes an official topic sheet for the particular thesis (with title and task description). This topic sheet is signed by the student and the representative In order to ensure:

1.     On the one hand, the topic is reserved for you, and

2.     On the other hand, you agree to write the work within the prescribed period.

Under current law, the copyright for the master's thesis lies with the student. However, the student must grant the University of Zurich, represented by the Institute of Computational Linguistics, a free, non-permanent, non-exclusive right to use the master's thesis (especially for publication on the Web) as well as all products (especially software) created during the work. A declaration must be signed by the student at the beginning of the thesis. In exceptional cases, this rule may not apply if mutually agreed upon.