Italian Major

Overview of Program

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.

Why study Italian? Take a look at this flier for more information about the language, employment opportunities, and must see locations available for those who speak Italian!

Students may also choose to focus on Italian as part of the B.A. in International-Language Business or B.S. in Secondary Education.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in Italian will complete 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.

More information on the Italian major can be found in the course catalog.

Students who major in Italian must also complete a senior portfolio prior to graduation.

Study Abroad

The World Languages and Cultures Department organizes an annual, summer session, faculty-led study abroad program in Florence, Italy. See the Study Abroad page for more information.

Italian Courses Offered

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Craft of Translation
  • 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 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.
  • Italian Women’s Writing: This course addresses women’s voices and experiences in 20th century Italian literature and film.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.

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
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