MA in Italian Language and Literature
The Italian Program at the University of Pittsburgh, part of the Department of French & Italian, has been teaching Italian here since the 1910s (and continuously since 1946), has granted a BA in Italian since the mid-1960s, and the MA since 1969. Our core faculty cover—both in their research and teaching—the spectrum of Italian Literature and Culture: from Dante to the Renaissance Epic, from the Commedia dell'Arte to the masterpieces of lyric Opera, from the Southern Question to the ventennio nero, just to name a few of our interests. Three of us have the honor and distinction of having been awarded "best book" prizes the last three years running by the AAIS (American Association of Italian Studies), one of the main professional organizations in our field. As a corps, our commitment to our teaching and to the professional development of our teachers is nowhere more evident than in our rigorous TA training program. Our MA students are fortunate to count among their professors not only the core faculty in Italian but also faculty in affiliated disciplines and with harmonious interests—in our own department and beyond—previous MAs have even used their time in the Italian Program to simultaneously pursue certification in fields such as Cultural Studies, Film Studies, and TESOL. This year, for the first time, the Italian Program will host Pitt's annual Fulbright Distinguished Scholar from Italy, giving students at all levels yet another exciting opportunity for intellectual exchange.
Our MA offers a comprehensive and rigorous introduction to the field and preparation for further study in Italian Literature, Culture, Theater, Film, and Linguistics. Through an intensive two-year period of study, research, and apprenticeship, students wishing to continue their studies are given individualized advising with the goal of identifying PhD programs that best match their goals and interests. This might mean doctoral study at Pitt in related fields like Linguistics or Theater. More often, with a Pitt MA in hand, our students have been impressively successful at securing admission and funding at the best Italian PhD programs in the country—Berkeley, Brown, Duke, Indiana, Illinois, Madison @ Wisconsin, NYU, U of Oregon, U of Texas @ Austin, and Yale, just in the last ten years' worth of graduates. Pitt MA alums have also been successful in obtaining teaching positions in the profession: we are proud to have our graduates occupying faculty positions at Texas @ Austin, Gettysburg College, the University of Alberta, Drexel University, University of California @ Davis, and Ohio State University.
Pittsburgh is an exciting city that has reinvented itself over and over again, most recently as a hub of technological entrepreneurship and as a destination residence (attractive for its affordability, green urban spaces, and rich cultural life), all the while staying true to its past by investing in its vibrant urban ethnic neighborhoods and maintaining a commitment to a robust cultural life that is the legacy of storied Pittsburghers like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Thomas Mellon. Over the years, Pitt has emerged as a center of economic activity, drawing talent and resources from around the world and the attention of national and international media: National Geographic; Forbes (article | fact slide); The Economist; The Washington Post; The Huffington Post; The Chicago Tribune. The New Yorker said it best in January of 1989: "If Pittsburgh were situated somewhere in the heart of Europe, tourists would eagerly journey hundreds of miles out of their way to visit it."
Pittsburgh's Italian American community is one of the largest in North America, and we benefit in countless ways from the long-standing presence of organizations like the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Società Dante Alighieri (founded in 1910), the Italian Nationality Room Committee (founded in 1928), the AMerican Italian Cultural Institute or AM.I.C.I. (founded in 1983), and the Heinz History Center's Italian American Collection (founded in 1990); we at Pitt are proud that our vital connections to these institutions are not only part of this community's history but of its dynamic present. Furthermore, UPMC's collaboration with the ISMETT transplant hospital in Palermo, Italy, ensures us of strong current ties to Italy and Italians through medical and staff exchanges, as do the many Italian professionals, artists, restaurateurs, and small business owners who call Pittsburgh home.
Pitt MAs gain a broad exposure to the field of Italian Literary and Cultural Studies, learning and honing the skills necessary for the intellectual work of the field: analysis, critical reading, clear writing and argumentation, teaching. Most MA students—through our generous teaching assistantships—acquire cutting-edge pedagogical training and two years of teaching experience in stand-alone introductory Italian-language courses. Thanks to our newly expanded Study Abroad offerings they have the opportunity to go abroad as Program Assistants or Teaching Assistants with our exciting new slate of Study Abroad programs in Italy.
Of the 26 students that completed the MA in Italian between 2000 and 2010…
- 7 have completed PhDs in related fields; of these, 6 are in academic posts after completing their studies at institutions such as Brown U, CUNY, NYU, U of California @ Berkeley, UPenn, Pitt, and U of Wisconsin @ Madison;
- 10 are currently in PhD programs in related fields, enrolled in programs at NYU, U of California @ Berkeley, Pitt, U of Oregon, U of Texas @ Austin, and Yale U;
- 5 are secondary or post-secondary teachers of Italian;
- In short: of the 26 students that completed the Italian MA between 2000 and 2010, 21, or 80%, continue to be part of the profession, either as post-secondary (TS or PT) faculty, doctoral students, or secondary teachers.