Italian Studies Major

A major in Italian Studies gives students at the University of Pittsburgh the opportunity to gain familiarity with the Italian language and to acquire a broad education in a literary and cultural tradition central to the humanities.

Beyond the Major

The Italian Program's major option in Italian Studies is an exciting opportunity for University of Pittsburgh students to gain valuable language skills in Elementary and Intermediate level Italian language courses, and then explore the complex realities of Italian culture, history, and society through a variety of disciplinary perspectives. This major 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 anthropology, political science, history, history of art and architecture, English, business, linguistics, 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 Studies major requirements click on this link: Italian Studies 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 Italian Studies Major requires the completion of 33 credits beyond elementary Italian and must include:
ITAL 0003, 0004, 0055, a fifth-semester course (either 0060, 0061, or 1041), a Cultural Heritage course (either 0080 or 0081), a writing-intensive (W) course taught in Italian, and six other courses, two of which must be taken from among Italian Program (ITAL) course offerings and the rest may be selected from an approved list of Italian Studies courses from across the Arts and Sciences.

Note: 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). Students thinking about an Italian major should take ITAL 0080 or 0081 (and any other courses taught in English) as early as possible in their studies, while still working their way up toward the upper-level courses given in Italian (1030, 1031, 1032, 1041, or the 1060 series). 

ITAL 0001, 0002 (do not count towards major)  
ITAL 0003, 0004 6 cr.
ITAL 0055 Italian Conversation (effective Spring term 2007; students declaring 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 0060/ITAL 0061 Intro to Literary Italian or ITAL 1041 Italian Theatrical Workshop 3 cr.
ITAL 0080 Italian Cultural Heritage I (Fall) or ITAL 0081 Italian Cultural Heritage II (Spring) 3 cr.
Six 1000-level courses in Italian Studies 18 cr.

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

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

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

Writing (W) Requirement:
Students must complete at least one W-course in the major; ITAL 0060, 0061, and 1041 are all W-designated courses.

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

Honors Major Requirements:

To qualify for Honors students majoring in Italian Studies must have an average GPA of 3.5 in their major courses. They may earn the "Honors" designation by

  • Submitting a portfolio consisting of their best output (from both core culture courses and upper-level courses) and a 10-page formal summary and evaluation of the outcomes of their interdisciplinary Italian studies. Work on this project would take place over two terms

AND selecting one of the following options:

  • Participation in the advanced track of the Pitt-in-Florence program or in the six-week advanced Italian summer Panther Program abroad
  • Completion of 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.