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Field of Study: Italian Language and Literature


Programs in Italian language and literature teach people the spoken and written traditions of Italy.



Italian language and literature programs include topics such as:

  • Reading, writing, and speaking Italian
  • Italian culture and society
  • Art
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Literature and poetry
  • Folklore and film
  • Translation techniques
  • Dialects
  • Linguistics

In Italian language and literature, students may be able to specialize in:

  • Conversation
  • Interpreting
  • Literature
  • Teaching

Community colleges offer associate degree programs. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in Italian language and literature. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Several universities offer graduate degrees in Italian language and literature. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.


College preparation

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

  • Humanities
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Second Language
  • World Geography
  • World History
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • World Area Studies
  • Political Science
  • Western Civilization


Graduate admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate that you can speak, read, write, and understand Italian at an advanced level.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Academic writing sample


Typical course work

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Applied Phonetics
  • Civilization and Cultural History
  • Conversation and Composition
  • Linguistics
  • Literary Studies
  • Literature, Folklore, and Film
  • Reading Skills
  • Translation
  • Study in the Italian language or its dialects (beginning, intermediate, advanced)

Graduate programs in Italian language and literature typically require:

  • Required courses
  • Thesis (master's degree)
  • Preliminary exams (doctoral degree only)
  • Dissertation and dissertation defense (doctoral degree)


Things to know

Students who major in Italian language and literature may be required or encouraged to spend some time living, working, and studying abroad. Most programs coordinate semester abroad or work internships. In most cases, you can participate in these after you have completed at least two years of language study.

Colleges that do not have complete programs in Italian language and literature may offer elective courses as part of a major in interdisciplinary studies or liberal arts.


Similar fields of study

Careers you may qualify for

College Foreign Language Teachers
Interpreters and Translators



Languages on the Web
Browse language and literature groups.

Schools that offer program

Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Minneapolis, Located in Metro