Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate students in good standing in one of the participating academic units—Psychology and Neuroscience, Philosophy; Computer Science; Linguistics; Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences; Education; and Architecture and Planning—may apply to earn a Graduate Certificate in Cognitive Science or Human Language Technology (HLT). Earning such a certificate can significantly enhance a student’s academic knowledge and career choices.

The Graduate Certificate and HLT consist of course requirements only. Review the cognitive science course catalog for course offerings, and also review the program completion checklist to determine progress toward earning the certificate. Submit your application for admission, unofficial transcript, and plan of study, to the ICS main office. Once accepted into your desired program, a Progress Report should be completed annually and submitted to the Institute.  Each program has formal approval from the Graduate School.

Upon completion of the program requirements, students must provide a transcript to the Academic Program Director.  The Academic Program Director will review the transcript to ascertain whether the student has met the requirements.  Once approved, the Institute will contact the Registrar's Office to include the certification on the student's official record.  Certificates are awarded at the Institute's spring celebration.

For more information:  Donna Caccamise
                                       Associate Director and
                                       Academic Program Director

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Cognitive Science

Required Core Courses:

  • An introductory course, Issues and Methods in Cognitive Science (3 units)
  • Topics in Cognitive Science (1 unit), taken twice (2 semesters)

 Additional Courses:

  • Three cognitive science courses, all at least 2 credit hours; approved courses are listed in the cognitive science course catalog, and there are additional ad hoc courses offered each semester as announced to enrolled students by ICS;
  • The remaining courses must be from the approved course list, and they must be selected from at least two different departments outside of the student’s home department; and
  • One of the three elective courses must be an interdisciplinary course. 

Master’s Certificate: Human Language Technology


The explosive growth of the Web and the vast improvements in computing power in the last decade have led to a strong need for education and research in human language technology. Human language technology is an interdisciplinary field that includes the following key technological and scientific areas:

  • Computer Speech Recognition and Understanding
  • Natural Language Understanding and Generation
  • Text-based Information Retrieval
  • Web-based Dialog Agents

CU-Boulder’s interdisciplinary Certificate in Human Language Technology, offered jointly by ICS, the Center for Computational Language and EducAtion Research, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Linguistics, and the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, provides a rich and broad background for students interested in computational tools for human language processing.

Admission and Eligibility

The Human Language Technology Program offers a master’s-level certificate, which accompanies a normal MA or MS degree in one of the three human language technology disciplines:

  • Computer Science
  • Linguistics
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

The program is available to currently enrolled CU-Boulder master’s or PhD students in any of the three fields above, including students enrolled in a 5-year concurrent MA/BA program. Interested students should contact the HLT Curriculum Committee member in the appropriate department.

Department representatives on the HLT Curriculum Committee are:

Computer Science
Jim Martin

Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences
Kathryn Arehart

Martha Palmer

Students interested in the HLT Certificate who are not currently enrolled at CU-Boulder must first apply to and be admitted to a Graduate Program in one of the three participating departments. Prospective students should contact an HLT Curriculum Committee member to register interest in the HLT program; the HLT Curriculum Committee member can then forward the student’s inquiry to the Institute of Cognitive Science office.


The curriculum for the certificate consists of five different courses:

  • One semester of programming (CSCI 1300) (waived for those with programming background).
  • Three courses from the core list; at least two of these three must be outside the student’s home department and college.
  • One course from the optional course list (or two from the optional list if programming was waived). Extra courses from the core list (beyond the required three) can also be counted as optional courses.

Three of these five required courses must be taken at the graduate level.


While the certificate only requires CSCI 1300 (Programming) we strongly recommend other programming courses, especially CSCI 2270 (Data Structures), but also LING 5200 (Computational Corpus Linguistics and Python Programming), or TLEN 5833. We also recommend any relevant statistics course, such as SLHS 2100, PSYC 3101, PSYC 5741/5751, or EDUC 5716.

Core Courses

Students must take three courses from this core list. At least two of the three must be outside the student’s home department and college.

Courses in Designing and Using Interactive Language Systems

  • CSCI 4402/5402 Human Language Technology Laboratory
  • CSCI 4839/5839 User Interface Design and Evaluation (previously CSCI 4838/6838)

Courses in Speech and Language Technologies

  • CSCI 5832 Natural Language Processing
  • CSCI 6302 Speech Recognition and Synthesis

Courses in Human Communication

  • SLHS 2010 The Science of Human Communication
  • LING 5030 Phonetics
  • LING 5420 Morphology and Syntax
  • LING 7800 Advanced Computational Linguistics

Optional Courses

Students must take at least one other course from this optional list (or two if the programming requirement was waived)

  • COMM 4/5510 Seminar (depends on topic, with permission of instructor)
  • COMM 6200 Seminar on Communication (depends on topic, with permission of instructor)
  • CSCI 3104/6454 Algorithms
  • CSCI 3155 Principles of Programming Languages
  • CSCI 3434/5444 Theory of Computation
  • CSCI 5535 Fundamental Concepts of Programming Languages
  • CSCI 5582 Artificial Intelligence
  • CSCI 6622 Advanced Machine Learning
  • ECEN 4242 Communication Theory
  • ECEN 5612 Noise and Random Processes
  • ECEN 5622 Information Theory and Coding
  • ECEN 5652 Detection and Extraction of Signals from Noise
  • LING 5200 Introduction to Computational Corpus Linguistics
  • LING 5450 Syntactic Analysis
  • LING 6450 Syntactic Analysis
  • LING 7420 Syntactic Theory
  • LING 7430 Semantic Theory
  • PHIL 2440 Symbolic Logic
  • PHIL 4440/5440 Mathematical Logic
  • PSYC 4165 Psychology of Perception
  • PSYC 5185 Cognitive Processes in Reading
  • PSYC 7051 Psychology Research Practicum
  • PSYC/LING 5300 Psycholinguistics
  • PSYC/LING/SLHS 4560 Language Development
  • SLHS 5272 Augmentative Alternative Communication: Theory and Use
  • SLHS 6006 Advanced Hearing Science
  • SLHS 6106 Experimental Phonetics 1
  • SLHS 7202 Motor Control and Speech Production