Italian, Minor

Program Code: IT_UMNR

Program Description

The Italian minor 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 minor is not designed to be directly vocational. Nevertheless, rigorous training in this minor can prepare students for rewarding and unique careers in business, 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 minor can be preparatory for the major and for study abroad, as well as graduate work directed to the Ph.D. degree required for teaching and research in colleges and universities. Students with backgrounds 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.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits of Italian courses12
Select 6 credits of 400-level Italian courses6

Note: Elementary Italian Language courses IT 1, IT 2, and IT 10) and lower-division Culture and Civilization (IT 130 and IT 131) or lower division Literature in Translation (IT 230) courses may not be credited toward the minor.

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

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.


University Park

442 Burrowes Building
University Park, PA 16802