At which campus can I study this program?
The major offers training in the skills required for fluency in Italian and knowledge in Italian culture, civilization, and literature. Its aim is to open to the student both the traditions of one of the major formative components of the Western world and the continuing vitality of modern Italian and Italian-American life.
As one of the humanistic programs of the College of the Liberal Arts, the Italian major prepares students for rewarding and unique careers in business, media, travel, ministry, banking, and education. In addition, the federal government employs liberal arts graduates with foreign-language skills in organizations including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Department of Labor. The Italian major is also preparatory for graduate work directed to the Ph.D. degree required for teaching and research in colleges and universities. Students with degrees in the humanities are particularly successful applicants to professional schools, such as law and medicine.
What is Italian?
Italian is the voice of one of the formative cultural traditions of the Western world. The study of Italy and its language offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary exploration of the continuing vitality of modern Italian and Italian American culture though literature, cinema, translation studies, the arts, Roman thought, fashion, tourism, Mediterranean cuisine, and much more. Italian, in its humanistic breadth and depth, offers students access to a wide variety of professional pathways through an emphasis on global communicative understanding and cultural sensitivity. Italian is increasingly important in business; six of the 100 biggest companies are headquartered in Italy, and Italy is the world’s fifth largest industrial producer of goods. Learning a foreign language also improves oral and written skills in English interactions. Penn State's Italian program is small, and prides itself on its capacity to provide individual attention and mentoring to each of its majors and minors.
You Might Like This Program If...
- You enjoy learning languages and communicating with people from a particularly rich cultural civilization.
- You dream of studying abroad. More Penn State students currently study in Italy than in any other nation of the world, and you will enjoy more memorable experiences with a deeper preparation through advanced coursework in Italian.
- You wish to learn more about the roots of your family heritage and traditions.
Entrance to Major
In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:
- attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
- have at least third-semester classification.
For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian, a minimum of 122 credits is required:
|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 Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.
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: Require a grade of C or better|
|IT 301||Advancing Italian in Context||3|
|IT 320||Global Italy: An Introduction to Italian Culture||3|
|Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|Select 9 credits from the following courses in Italian:||9|
|Italy's Inspiration for Your Life|
|Greatest Books of Italian Literature|
|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|
|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|
|Introduction to Italian American Culture|
|Artistic Patronage in Europe|
|Organized Crime in Film and Society|
|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|
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 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 and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)
- Arts (GA): 3 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 3 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits
- Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits
- GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
- GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 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.
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.
Program Learning Objectives
- 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.
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.
Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers 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 2023-24 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contains suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).
Italian, B.A. at University Park Campus and Commonwealth Campuses
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.
|IT 1||4||IT 2||4|
|ENGL 15, 30H, ESL 15, ENGL 137H, or CAS 137H (GWS)‡||3||CAS 100, ENGL 138T, or CAS 138T (GWS)‡||3|
|General Education Quantification Course (GQ)‡||3||IT 130, 131, 225N, or 240Q*||3|
|General Education Course (N)||3||General Education Quantification (GQ) Course‡||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Health and Wellness (GHW)||3|
|IT 3||4||IT Education Abroad X99 Course or 4XX Related in consultation with advising*1,2||3|
|General Education Course (N)||3||IT Education Abroad X99 Course or 4XX Related in consultation with advising*1,2||3|
|BA Fields||3||General Education Course||3|
|Elective (Other Cultures)||3||BA Fields||3|
|IT 301*||3||IT 320*||3|
|IT Additional Courses from List*1||3||IT Additional Courses from List*1||3|
|IT Additional Courses from List*1||3||400-Level IT Course from List*1||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Course||3||BA Fields||3|
|IT 415 or 490*||3||400-Level IT Course from List*1||3|
|400-Level IT Course from List*1||3||General Education Course||3|
|ENGL 202 (GWS)‡||3||Elective (IL)||3|
|General Education Course||3||Elective||3|
|Total Credits 122|
Course requires a grade of C or better for the major
Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education
Course is an Entrance to Major requirement
Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement
In consultation with IT adviser
Study abroad is encouraged but this requirement may be met in other ways in consultation with an adviser
University Requirements and General Education Notes:
US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity 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.
General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.
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.
- 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.
- Students pursuing this major at a Commonwealth Campus might require summer attendance, study abroad, or additional semesters to complete the major coursework. Students should contact the University Park adviser to plan their major courses accordingly.
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.