Italian Studies, BA

Italian Studies, BA


Italian Majors immerse themselves in the language, literature, and lives of Italy.

Our multidisciplinary program is vibrant, flexible, challenging, and engaging. In this independent, highly individualized major, you will work toward linguistic proficiency in Italian, honing your basic vocabulary and progressing toward sophisticated communication, oral and written. From there, you’ll encounter Italian culture through a plethora of film, history, politics, art, and music. In small, discussion-based classes, you’ll engage with writers and thinkers like Elena Ferrante, Dante, Italo Calvino, and Machiavelli, to name a few.

Throughout your journey, you’ll receive highly personalized instruction from our world-renowned faculty. We are here to equip you for whatever future you envision!


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The Italian Studies Major is designed for students who wish to achieve proficiency in oral and written Italian, as well as an excellent and well-grounded knowledge of Italian culture in an interdisciplinary context.  

Since the Italian Studies Major is an independent, individualized major, it must be discussed with the professors for eligibility and specifications.  For this purpose, please contact Professor Maria Grazia de Angelis ( and Professor Costanza Dopfel (

To be admitted to the major, students must complete level 4 of the language, plus at least one upper division and one lower division conversation class by the end of sophomore year. They should continue taking one upper division conversation class throughout their junior and senior year for a total of three upper division and one lower division conversations plus a capstone course.  (capstone description)

To complete the major, students must take nine upper division courses, three from each of the following categories:

  1. History and civilization
  2. Literature and theory
  3. Art and culture

Upper division courses can be taken in English.  Their goal is to enrich the students’ cultural background and to teach them techniques of analysis and criticism, rather than focus on the language.  Students can take courses outside the department of World Languages and Cultures upon approval from their advisor and the Department Chair.  Courses listed as Modern Languages in Translation as well as Art History 145 (Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art) are designed for Italian Studies Majors and Minors.  Students studying in Italy should discuss their upper division courses with their advisor.

Please note that all courses are not offered every semester, and the list of courses offered through the John Cabot University in Rome program are subject to change.  Special Topics courses may be taken with SMC faculty as Independent Studies courses only if they have not been offered during the previous or current year.

After successfully completing levels 1–3, students will be able to...

  • Understand and produce speech in a variety of personal and social contexts; initiate and sustain conversations about multiple topics in the past, present and future tenses. 
  • Read and comprehend texts with varied subject matter, multiple points of view and verb tenses. 
  • Write prose that includes description and narration on a variety of topics with varied vocabulary.
  • Provide interpretations and supporting ideas. 
  • Exhibit understanding and demonstrate knowledge of cultural, geographical, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of other societies. 
  • Demonstrate an ability to see the world from multiple perspectives and become aware of themselves as members of the global community.

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