FAQ

What is Language Science?
What is the University of Maryland Language Science Center?
Is this primarily for students taking a foreign language?
I am in a language-focused major and just want to get research experience. Should I apply to PULSAR? Is this a substitute for a regular major? 
Would I receive degree recognition or a transcript notation for participation?
Does it cost me extra? 
Will this help me with employment/ grad school? 
I work X hours per week – can I fit this in?
Can I satisfy the research requirement during the summer/winter?
Who should I turn to with questions? 

 

What is Language Science?
The goals of language science are to understand how human language works, how to replicate this success in machines/technology, and how to help individuals learn language more effectively and recover from language-related deficits.  This occurs both through analyzing languages and through understanding how the human brain supports language learning and use; language science thus includes the computational, cognitive, neural, clinical, educational, and structural study of language. Language science involves technology-related fields such as computer science (including natural language processing and machine translation), education-related fields such as second-language acquisition, special education, and curriculum development, and health-related fields such as speech/language pathology, audiology, aging, and public health.  It also includes domains that study how the brain works, such as psychology, neuroscience, genetics, biology, and cognitive science, in addition to traditional language fields such as linguistics and the study of various languages.


What is the University of Maryland Language Science Center?
The University of Maryland hosts the largest and most integrated community of language scientists in North America, including over 200 faculty, researchers, and students.  The University of Maryland’s position as the premier research university in the Washington DC area, with access to government, policy-makers, and industry, plus a melting pot of language diversity, provides enviable opportunities for linking basic science to real-world applications for language. The Maryland Language Science Center brings together the many different researchers, faculty, and students at the University of Maryland who are interested in the study of language.  It includes the following departments, institutes, and programs:


Is this primarily for students taking a foreign language?
Not at all! Language scientists at UMD come from a wide variety of fields, including computer science, education, and neuroscience.  Moreover, not all students and faculty majoring in foreign languages are involved in language science; they may be focusing on literature or culture, for example.   Language science is about studying language itself, how the human brain processes it and learns it, how to simulate such processing in technology, and how to improve outcomes in education and in clinical settings – it thus includes students from a wide variety of fields and with a wide variety of interests.


I am in a language-focused major and just want to get research experience. Should I apply to PULSAR?
It depends! If you are specifically looking to broaden your knowledge of language science beyond your major then PULSAR will help you accomplish that and will add outreach opportunities and mentoring. If your major already offers great research opportunities and you aren't specifically interested in the interdisciplinary focus or other elements of PULSAR, you may be able to accomplish what you're looking for within your major.


Is this a substitute for a regular major?
No.  The PULSAR program is an interdisciplinary program that students pursue in addition to their primary major. It is intended to add breadth to a student's program of study, as well as research, clinical or policy experience and skills.


Would I receive degree recognition or a transcript notation for participation?
On successful completion of the program, PULSAR students will receive a transcript notation. Students are only eligible for the notation if they participate in PULSAR for 4 semesters and complete all of the requirements. Under certain circumstances, students are admitted to PULSAR who have fewer than 4 semesters left at the university, but while these students benefit from participating in PULSAR they are not eligible to receive the transcript notation.


Does it cost me extra?
Nope!  There are no costs associated with being a PULSAR scholar.  Moreover, we hope to provide PULSAR students with additional opportunities to gain funding for language-science research and experiences.


Will this help me with employment / grad school?
Absolutely.  The PULSAR program is designed to provide you with opportunities to build your resume, develop a relationship with a scientific mentor, and gain broad interdisciplinary training – all of which should make you exceptionally competitive for graduate school and for future positions in research, technology, education, health, and public policy.


I work X hours per week – can I fit this in?
Only you can decide whether the PULSAR program fits with your other commitments.  But we are willing to work with you to arrange a schedule of activities that fits your needs.  If you have any questions, please set up a meeting with the PULSAR Director.


Can I satisfy the research requirement during the summer/winter?
It would be difficult to satisfy the research or internship requirement during the winter semesters, but summer semester internships can serve to satisfy or partially satisfy these  requirements.


Who should I turn to with questions?
Please contact the PULSAR Director at PULSAR@umd.edu.