Italian, B.A.

Program Code: ITBA_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian, a minimum of 122 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 17
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 36

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
IT 301Pathways to Fluency3
IT 320Introduction to Italian Culture; Food, Fashion, Family3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits from the following courses in Italian:9
Applied Advanced Conversation
Introduction to Italy's Genius
Greatest Books of Italian Literature
Foreign Study--Italian
Theory and Practice of Translation
Topics in the Italian Renaissance
Italian Children's Literature
Nineteenth-Century Italian Literature
Twentieth-Century Italian Literature
Select 9 credits at the 400-level:9
Theory and Practice of Translation
Topics in the Italian Renaissance
Italian Children's Literature
Nineteenth-Century Italian Literature
Twentieth-Century Italian Literature
Ghosts and Otherworldly Visions in Italy c. 1300-1600
Modern Italian Literature and Cinema
Italian Women Writers Through the Centuries
Italian-American Cultural Studies
Select one course on Dante:3
Dante in Translation
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Italian Culture and Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Italian American Culture Keystone/General Education Course
Artistic Patronage in Europe Keystone/General Education Course
Organized Crime in Film and Society Keystone/General Education Course
Select 6 credits in a Penn State or Penn State approved education abroad program in Italy or the equivalent experience approved by an Italian major adviser or 6 credits in related disciplines at the 400-level including Art History, History, Comparative Literature, Political Science, Philosophy or others in consultation with an Italian major adviser.6

Program Learning Objectives

The linguistic objectives for students who have completed an undergraduate major in Italian are as follows:

  • Students will have developed oral skills in Italian that allow them to communicate effectively and accurately in a range of settings.
  • Students will have developed written skills in Italian that allow them to communicate effectively and accurately in a range of settings.
  • Students will have developed literacy skills that allow them to read and understand texts in a variety of media ranging from newspapers to literary texts and formal academic prose.
  • Students will have developed a cultural awareness that allows them to interact well with Italians in informal and formal situations and to use knowledge of target culture to interpret texts read, heard or viewed in Italian or English.
  • Students will, ideally, have spent at least six weeks in Italy immersed in the target language and its culture.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Italian, B.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
IT 14IT 24
ENGL 15, 30H, ESL 15, ENGL 137H, or CAS 137H (GWS)3CAS 100, ENGL 138T, or CAS 138T (GWS)3
General Education Quantification Course (GQ)3IT 130, 131, 225N, or 240Q*3
General Education Course3General Education Quantification (GQ) Course3
General Education Course3General Health and Wellness (GHW)3
 16 16
Second Year
IT 34IT Education Abroad X99 Course or 4XX Related in consultation with advising*1,23
General Education Course3IT Education Abroad X99 Course or 4XX Related in consultation with advising*1,23
BA Fields3General Education Course3
Elective (Other Cultures)3BA Fields3
Elective (WAC)3Elective3
 16 15
Third Year
IT 301*3IT 320*3
IT Additional Courses from List*13IT Additional Courses from List*13
IT Additional Courses from List*13400-Level IT Course from List*13
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3BA Fields3
 15 15
Fourth Year
IT 415 or 490*3400-Level IT Course from List*13
400-Level IT Course from List*13General Education Course3
ENGL 202 (GWS)3Elective3
General Education Course3Elective3
Elective (Other Cultures)3Elective2
 15 14
Total Credits 122

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Advising Note:
All incoming first-year students must take a First-Year Seminar (FYS) during Fall or Spring of their first year. Academic advisers can provide a list of FYS being offered and help the student enroll. Most FYS in the College of the Liberal Arts are worth 3 cr. and count as a General Humanities (GH) or General Social Sciences (GS) course. For this reason, the FYS is not listed separately on this eight-semester plan; most students will be able to fulfill the FYS requirement while also fulfilling a GH or GS requirement.

Career Paths

Because the study of Italian comprises advanced-level language proficiency and the development of cultural understanding, critical thinking, and communicative capacities, successful Penn State students have gone on to pursue many professions. In the Italian program, majors and minors have access to:

  • Individualized advising aimed at integrating complementary majors/minors, study abroad, and internship opportunities.
  • Italian-specific fellowships, prizes, and capstone project opportunities to ready them for future goals.
  • Mentorship that connects Italian students with alumni who have applied successfully to graduate schools, participated in Fulbright/Peace Corps/Teach for America/etc., or are making contributions in the career path of particular interest.


As a humanistic program in the liberal arts, Italian is not designed to be directly vocational. Italian prepares students to access a wide array of rewarding and unique careers, including those related to international business, travel, journalism, ministry, diplomacy, banking, science fields, the arts, and education. The federal government employs graduates with advanced foreign-language skills in organizations including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Department of Labor. Students with degrees in the humanities are also particularly successful applicants to graduate and professional schools, such as law, business, and medicine.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Any of the three baccalaureate degree options in Italian (the Bachelor of Arts in Italian Language and Literature, the Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies, or the Bachelor of Science in Applied Italian) can serve as the foundation for graduate studies in Italian, as well as other humanistic, social science, and STEM disciplines. Italian can also lead to advanced professional degrees in business, educational administration, law, and medicine.


University Park

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University Park, PA 16802