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MA in Italian Language and Literature Requirements

MA in Italian

This two-year program ensures that students acquire a broad knowledge of Italian language, literature, and culture. A minimum of ten one-term courses in Italian literature and culture is required. Candidates must also pass comprehensive examinations, write a research paper and demonstrate proficiency in a second language.


  • A minimum of ten one-term courses in Italian literature and culture is required, of which at least nine must be 2000-level courses. Occasionally, a student’s particular circumstances, as well as the nature and content of an Italian-taught upper level undergraduate course make it suitable to be taken for credit, but only one such course may count towards the degree.
  • Italian 2710 (Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory) is required of all students. Italian 2970 (Teaching of Italian) is required for students holding a teaching assistantship, but does not count among the eight courses.
  • Students must register for at least one semester of ITAL 2910 (Comprehensive Examination MA), typically during their third or fourth semester, and one semester of ITAL 2903 (MA Research Paper Directed Study), typically during their final semester in the program.
  • Directed and independent studies in Italian are offered upon request, whenever faculty members are available and willing to teach and/or supervise one or more students in a particular area of interest; such courses may be taken in addition to, but not in substitution of, regularly scheduled graduate courses, and only one may count towards the degree.

Candidates must also pass comprehensive examinations and fulfill the following requirements:

  • Research Paper: Each MA candidate is required to write a long final paper in Italian (30–40 pages). Two faculty members determine its suitability as an example of research methodology and scholarly writing. Students are strongly advised to decide upon a topic, and have it approved by one faculty member, by the end of his/her third term. 

The final version of the paper must be turned in at least 10 days before the deadline for certification of graduation. This deadline typically falls in mid-December for fall graduation and in the last week of April or first week of May for spring graduation.

  • Second Language: Candidates must demonstrate a reading knowledge of Latin or German or a Romance language other than Italian (other languages will be considered upon petition). This requirement is waived for those students who come to the program with two terms of undergraduate Latin, or four terms of German or a Romance language a Pitt or the equivalent.