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Italian Graduate Studies at Pitt

MA in Italian

Who are we?

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 Machiavelli, 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. Some of us have the honor and distinction of having been awarded "best book" prizes 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 StudiesFilm Studies, and TESOL.The Italian Program also periodically hosts Pitt's annual Fulbright Distinguished Scholar from Italy, giving students at all levels yet another exciting opportunity for intellectual exchange. Read on for detailed program description and requirements.

Why the MA?

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, or in Pitt's new and innovative Critical European Culture Studies PhD. 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, U of Michigan, NYU, UNC, U of Oregon, U of Texas-Austin, Stanford, and Yale, just in the last 20 years' worth of graduates. Pitt MA alums have also been successful in obtaining teaching positions in the profession: our graduates currently occupy faculty positions at Bucknell College, Santa Clara University, the University of Alberta, the University of Texas-Austin, and the University of Oklahoma. Others are pedagogical and curricular leaders at Columbia University and private language schools around the country; still others teach Italian in primary and secondary education positions in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Many of our more recent graduates are working in language-related positions in Pittsburgh's booming tech sector.

Ready to Explore Pittsburgh?

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. 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 Program (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.

What Do Our Students Do?

During their time here, 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 recently expanded Study Abroad offerings they often have the opportunity to go abroad as Program Assistants or Teaching Assistants with our exciting slate of Study Abroad programs in Rome and Florence. Read more about some of our Italian MA Program Alums and Italian Success Stories.