Italian Major

Overview of Program

The World Languages and Cultures Department offers a major and a minor in Italian.

The Italian Program is designed to enable students to attain speaking, writing, and reading proficiency in the Italian language and deep knowledge of Italian culture and society.  Students may pursue the major or minor in Italian and/or the interdisciplinary Italian Studies Concentration. Students majoring in Italian must study for a semester or year in Italy, but all students are encouraged to study abroad or participate in the department’s faculty-led Summer Program in Florence, Italy.  Students who in the past majored or minored in Italian or completed the Italian Studies Concentration embarked on successful careers in the global arena, including business, accounting, marketing, and human resources; tourism; the secret service; fashion; and academia.

Learn about the Italian minor

Learn about the Italian Studies Concentration

Learn about International Language - Business B.A.

Learn about Secondary Education B.S. (new tab)

Why Study Italian?

  • 66 million people worldwide speak Italian, including residents of Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, and Vatican City.
  • Over 1,000 Italian companies have branches in the United States in industries like aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, boating, chemical, financial, fashion, and sustainable energy.
  • It will improve and broaden your employment potential in a global market.
  •  It offers cultural enrichment through travel opportunities to Rome, Florence, Venice, the Mediterranean Coasts, Capri, and various UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Pompeii, Assisi, and Herculaneum.


Requirements of the Major

The major consists of 36 credits in Italian language and culture, including literature and cinema.  To fulfill part of the major requirement, they will participate in a semester- or year-long study abroad in Italy during their junior year.  In preparation for this step, they will be guided through the process of choosing and applying to a program in Italy.

Learn more about the Italian major in the course catalog (new tab)

Senior language majors are also required to complete a senior portfolio prior to graduation.

Learn about the senior portfolio 

Study Abroad

The Italian program offers an annual faculty-led study broad program in Florence, Italy during the summer.

Learn more about the Florence study abroad program

See the Study Abroad page (new tab)

Italian Courses

Language Skills:

  • Beginning Italian I & II: 
    • Introduction to the Italian language.
  • Intermediate Italian I & II:
    • Grammatical review, written and oral composition with selected cultural readings of intermediate difficulty. 
  • Advanced Composition and Conversation: 
    • An intensive course in Italian composition and conversation with emphasis on detailed study of advanced grammatical and stylistic usage of the Italian language.
  • The Craft of Translation:
    • In this course, students will undertake a series of translation and interpretation exercises and activities from Italian to English. Focus will be on the application of grammatical structures as well as on the interpretive qualities of transposing from one idiom to another.


  •  Italian Culture and Society: 
    • An examination of Italian culture and society from the Renaissance to today. The course traces the development of Italian culture and society through primary texts, including essays, plays, short stories, films, opera and contemporary music, and sculpture and painting.
  • Italian Theater: 
    • This course will examine Italian theatre through a study of representative forms and texts.
  • Italian Cinema: 
    • A study of films by some of Italy’s major directors.  Focus on theme, style, and the impact of historical and cultural events on the films.  Films with subtitles.
  • Gender in Italian Cinema: 
    • The course investigates the representation of femininity and masculinity in Italian cinema.
  • Italian Culture through the Image: 
    • This travel course explores aspects of Italian culture through the visual experience of photography. Students will familiarize themselves with the theories and techniques of famous Tuscan masters of photography and subsequently engage in photographic assignments aimed at capturing the complexity of Italian culture past and present.
  • Monsters, Aliens and Superhero's: The Other in French and Italian Cinema: 
    • The course explores how the issues of exceptionality, aberration, and deviation from established social and cultural norms are represented in French and Italian Cinema, from the post-war period to the present time. Sample topics include: immigration, disability, marginality, extraordinary lives, and monstrosity in the literal and figurative sense.


  •  Survey of Italian Literature I: 
    • This course, introduces students to 19th-and 20th-century Italian literature and to significant literary movements and figures from these periods.
  • Survey of Italian Literature II: 
    • This course introduces students to Italian literature from the medieval period to the 18th century. It focuses on significant literary movements and figures from these periods.
  • Italian Short Story: 
    • This course will examine the Italian short story through a study of representative texts.
  • Italian Women’s Writing: 
    • This course addresses women’s voices and experiences in 20th century Italian literature and film.

Contact Information

Virginia Picchietti, Ph.D., Professor of Italian
Marzia Caporale, Ph.D., Professor of French and Italian

To learn more about the Italian program, contact Dr. Virginia Picchietti.

Dr. Virginia Picchietti
320 O'Hara Hall

Scroll to Top