Italian, B.S.

Program Code: ITBS_BS

Program Description

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 through 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. Learning a foreign language also improves oral and written skills in English interactions. The Italian B.S. encourages students to develop skills in Italian (speaking, reading, writing) in preparation for careers in professional areas where fluency in Italian is particularly relevant and useful.

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:

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


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Italian, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 24
Requirements for the Major 51

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
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
IT 301Advancing Italian in Context3
IT 412Theory and Practice of Translation3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
IT 310Advancing Conversation3
or IT 320 Global Italy: An Introduction to Italian Culture
Select 15 credits from the following:15
Italian Culture and Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Italian American Culture Keystone/General Education Course
Organized Crime in Film and Society Keystone/General Education Course
Artistic Patronage in Europe Keystone/General Education Course
Advancing Conversation
Global Italy: An Introduction to Italian Culture
Italy's Inspiration for Your Life Keystone/General Education Course
Greatest Books of Italian Literature
Foreign Study--Italian
Dante in 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
Special Topics
Other course in consultation with major adviser
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select a minimum of 6 credits in a Penn State or Penn State approved education abroad program in Italy or an equivalent experience approved after consultation with an adviser. (IT 99, IT 199, IT 299, IT 399)6
Select 21 credits (at least 6 credits at the 400-level) in consultation with the adviser in any related area of study such as social services, Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics or any other professional area in which competency in Italian is desirable.21

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 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

Integrative Studies

  • 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.

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.

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.

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 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.S. 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.

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 (GQ)3General Education Course (N)3
General Education Course (N)3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
 16 14.5
Second Year
IT 34IT Additional Courses from List*13
General Education Quantification (GQ)3IT Additional Courses from List*13
General Education Course3IT Education Abroad X99 Course*1,23
General Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5IT Education Abroad X99 Course*1,23
Applied Option Course*13Elective3
 14.5 15
Third Year
IT 301*3IT 310 or 320*3
IT Additional Courses from List*13Applied Option Course*13
Applied Option Course*13Applied Option Course*13
General Education Course3IT Additional Courses from List*13
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
IT 412*3Applied Option Course at the 4XX Level*13
ENGL 202 (GWS)3Applied Option Course*13
IT Additional Courses from List*13General Education Course3
Applied Option Course at the 4XX Level*13Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits 120

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 satisfy a portion of that General Education requirement. If the student’s program prescribes GWS these courses will replace both ENGL 15/ENGL 30H and CAS 100A/CAS 100B/CAS 100C. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Notes:

  • 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.

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

442 Burrowes Building
University Park, PA 16802