Italian Language and Literature Major

A major in Italian gives students at the University of Pittsburgh the opportunity to study in detail a foreign language and to acquire an education in a literary and cultural tradition central to the humanities.

Beyond the Major

Studying Italian language and literature prepares students for graduate study in law and international affairs, advanced work in the humanities, and careers in business, governmental service and teaching.

The University is committed to international study and students are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to study abroad.

Students can also combine a major in Italian with a second major in a field such as political science, history, history of art and architecture, English, business, or another foreign language. Students who choose to study the grammar, linguistics, rhetoric, literature and film of Italy will acquire an invaluable technical resource and an in-depth knowledge of a diverse and foundational intellectual tradition.

Learn more about Italian major advising or visit the Italian advisor, Professor Francesca Savoia .

Required Courses

For a credit count summary and checklist of the Italian Language and Literature major requirements click here: Italian Language and Literature Checklist (PDF)

After one year of college instruction in the language, (ITAL 0001 and 0002, or the equivalent as determined by placement test results), Italian majors may enroll in ITAL 0003 for credit toward the major.

The major requires the completion of 33 credits beyond elementary Italian and must include:
ITAL 0003, 0004, 0055, a fifth-semester course (either 0060 Literary Italian 1; 0061 Literary Italian 2; or 1041), ITAL 0080 Italian Cultural Heritage 1; 0081 Made in Italy; a writing-intensive (W) course taught in Italian; and five 1000-level courses.

At least three of the 1000-level courses must be taught in Italian and not more than two may be taught in English, subject to the major advisor’s approval.

ITAL 0001, 0002 (do not count towards major)  
ITAL 0003, 0004 6 cr.
ITAL 0055 Conversation (effective Spring term 2007; students who declared the Italian Major prior to that term may have ITAL 0050 satisfy the conversation requirement. Conversation taken during the summer with Pitt-in-Italy program also satisfies this requirement.) 3 cr.

ITAL 0060W/0061W Introduction to Literary Italian or

ITAL 1041W Italian Theatrical Workshop

3 cr.
ITAL 0080 Italian Cultural Heritage (fall) and ITAL 0081 (spring) 6 cr.
Five 1000-level courses 15 cr.

Total credits for the major above elementary level should equal 33.

Note: ITAL 0080 and ITAL 0081 are not sequential, and so may be taken in either order; because they have no prerequisites and are taught in English, it is recommended that students interested in majoring in Italian take these and all other English-taught courses as early in their studies as possible, while working their way through the language sequence and toward the upper-level courses taught in Italian (1030, 1031, 1032, 1041, or the 1060 series).

Students must successfully complete their fifth-semester advanced language course (with a B- or better) before enrolling in upper-level courses taught in Italian (unless otherwise stated in course description or in consultation with the advisor).

Grade Requirements:
A minimum QPA of 2.0 in departmental courses is required for graduation.

Satisfactory/Audit Option:
Majors cannot take ITAL 0060W, 0061W, 1041W, or any 1000-level course on an S/NC basis.

Writing (W) Requirement:

Students must complete at least one W-course in the major.

Related Area:
A minimum of 12 credits is required in any one (1) Dietrich School department chosen in consultation with the major advisor. The completion of an official Dietrich School minor or a Dietrich School/UCIS certificate also satisfies this requirement.

Honors Major Requirements:

To qualify for Honors students in Italian Language and Literature must have an average GPA of 3.5 in their Italian major. They may earn the "Honors" designation by selecting one of the following options:

  • Completion of a 25-30 page research paper in Italian developed in consultation with a faculty advisor and approved by a second faculty member. Work on this project would take place over three terms (for a timeline see Appendix 2)
  • Participation in the advanced track of the Pitt-in-Florence program or in the six-week advanced Italian summer Panther Program abroad AND completion of ITAL 1905, Internship in Italian or  ITAL 1909, Undergraduate Research in Italian, for at least 2 credits 
  • Completion of an additional Italian-taught 1000-level undergraduate course or  graduate-level seminar AND  ITAL 1905, Internship in Italian or  ITAL 1909, Undergraduate Research in Italian, for at least 2 credits

Language Study:
Reading competency in another language is recommended for those students planning to do graduate study in Italian.

Language-Learning Goals:
Our goal in the French and Italian language programs is to guide you in the development of literacy skills in Italian through the communicative acts of reading, writing, and creating discourse around texts of all types.

We want you to develop to the greatest possible extent a competency in comprehending and producing Italian, both spoken and written, as well as socio-cultural competency in communicating with people who speak it.

The main focus of classes is on communication, and we strive for maximum use of the foreign language in the classroom. Because you might have limited opportunities to speak or hear Italian outside of class, classroom time is devoted to help develop your competency in these areas. This means that your instructor will speak only Italian to you during class, and you will be expected to do the same with your instructor and classmates.

Should you need additional explanations or wish to discuss matters not directly related to course content, your instructor will be happy to speak to you in English before or after class and during office hours.