Requirements for the Major, Minor, and Certificate in Italian Studies

The Undergraduate Program in Italian Studies

Italian Studies at Penn is aligned with evolving trends in the discipline, which multiply related subject areas and encourage a variety of critical approaches. Built on requirements of language proficiency and a core knowledge of literary history, the curriculum opens the encyclopedic world of both high and popular Italian culture as it is reflected across time and social groups. The curriculum allows the student considerable discretionary control in the choice of courses.

The Major in Italian Studies

The major in Italian Studies has two tracks or concentrations: 1) Italian Literature, 2) Italian Culture. The foundation of both is Italian language, which students will have the opportunity to master in all four areas of communication: speaking, listening, reading, writing. Building on that firm linguistic base, students may chose one of two tracks. Each one envisions a mix of courses taught in Italian and English, within Romance Languages and in other departments. The difference between the two concentrations is a matter of weighting. Those who choose the first will shape a curriculum that emphasizes the writers of Italy from classical to contemporary and courses taught in Italian. Those who choose the second will take more interdisciplinary courses taught in English, ranging from Italian culture historically to present-day issues of Italian identity in the world.

A third option is the Dual Degree sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages, which accommodates students who wish to combine Italian with French or Spanish.

The Two Major Concentrations in Italian Studies

The Italian Studies major consists of twelve courses beyond Italian 134, 140, or the equivalent. See the language requirement in Italian. To declare a major, students should meet with the Undergraduate Chair, who will approve a course of studies.

1. Italian Literature Concentration

Required Courses

1. Italian 201: Advanced Italian I (or an equivalent course, which can be taken abroad). With permission from the Undergraduate Chair, may be taken concurrently with 202, 203 or 204. Prerequisite for courses taught in Italian at the 200 and 300 level.

2. One of the following:
Italian 202: Advanced Italian II
Italian 203: Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture

Elective Courses for the Major in Italian Literature

The remaining ten courses should include at least six courses in Italian literature or civilization in the Department of Romance Languages; at least three of these must be completed at the 300 level at Penn. Up to four courses may be chosen from Italian Studies offerings outside Romance Languages. See the master course list.

No more than two courses taught in English may be counted for the major in Italian Literature. For at least one English-taught course, students should arrange an Italian component with the professor (e.g., extra class sessions, research, written assignments, or term paper in Italian).

An Italian Freshman Seminar, taken when the student is a freshman, can be counted retroactively as one credit toward the major.

Three of the twelve credits required for the Italian Literature major may be double-counted to fulfill the requirements of a second major.

2. Italian Culture Concentration

Required Courses

1. Italian 201: Advanced Italian I (or an equivalent course, which can be taken abroad). With permission from the Undergraduate Chair, may be taken concurrently with 202, 203 or 204. Prerequisite for courses taught in Italian at the 200 and 300 level.

2. One of the following:
Italian 202: Advanced Italian II
Italian 203: Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture
Italian 204: Italian Civilization through Cinema

Elective Courses for the Major in Italian Culture

Ten courses should cluster around no more than two scholarly disciplines or periods in Italian civilization. For example, one could combine an emphasis on the Middle Ages and Literature; or Renaissance and Art History; or twentieth century and Cinema Studies. At least three courses must be taken in Italian Studies in Romance Languages, including at least two at the 300 level in Italian. The disciplinary courses should include at least two in History, one of which may be an Art History course.

Up to eight courses taught in English may be chosen in Romance Languages or from courses in other departments, provided they have an Italian focus or an Italian cultural component. In the latter case, students are encouraged to arrange with the instructor to tailor the course to their major. This could be accomplished, for example, by doing some of the course reading in Italian or writing a paper on an Italian topic. See the master course list.

Notes for Majors: Either Concentration

An Italian Freshman Seminar, taken when the student is a freshman, can be counted retroactively as one credit toward the major.

Three of the twelve credits required for the Italian Studies major may be double-counted to fulfill the requirements of a second major.

Research Requirement

For the Italian Literature Concentration, a 12-15 page research paper must be written in Italian with bibliography and notes. Students in the Italian Culture concentration may write the paper in English or in Italian. Students can choose to do this in any 300 level course taken at Penn.

The Dual Major in Romance Languages

The dual major in Romance Languages consists of eighteen courses above the 134- or 140-level, nine in Italian Studies and nine in French or Hispanic Studies. To declare a major, students should meet with the Undergraduate Chairs in each of the languages elected, who will approve a course of studies. The application to major must be made by the second semester of the sophomore year prior to advance registration for the first semester of the junior year.

Required Courses for the Dual Major in Romance Languages

Italian 201: Advanced Italian I
Italian 203: Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture

Elective Courses for the Dual Major in Romance Languages

Seven additional courses are taken at the 200- or 300-level. At least two 300-level courses must be completed in the department at Penn.

No more than two courses taught in English may be counted toward the major. Up to three may be major-related courses outside the Italian Studies Program in Romance Languages.

One credit can be fulfilled by an Italian Freshman Seminar, taken when the student is a freshman, which will be counted retroactively toward the major.

Credit Abroad

Majors may receive credit for up to six Italian courses taken in a study abroad program at Venice, Milan, Bologna, Rome or in the Penn Summer Program in Venice. Minors may receive credit for up to three Italian courses taken in any of these study abroad program. Students generally attend a semester-long or a year long program abroad in their junior year. The Penn summer Program in Venice accepts students from all years.

Courses taken in Venice, Milan, Bologna, or Rome must be pre-approved in person by the Undergraduate Chair before enrollment.

Majors are expected to complete 201 before beginning their program abroad, with the exception of Penn in Venice, where an equivalent course is offered. When returning to Penn, students should consult with the Undergraduate Chair to determine which courses they should take to round out their curriculum.

Honors in Italian Studies

Applicants for Honors in the Major should have an average of at least 3.5 in the major and at least 3.3 overall GPA during the fall term of their senior year. All applicants must register for Italian 398 (1 course) in the spring semester of their senior year and write a senior thesis of approximately 30 pages in length under the supervision of a faculty member whose area of expertise coincides with the subject of the thesis. Italian Literature majors will write the honors essay in Italian; Italian Culture majors will write it in English. In order to qualify for honors in Italian Studies, students must receive at least an A- in Italian 398. Interested majors should confer with the Undergraduate Chair early in the fall semester of their senior year to select a thesis advisor and to discuss the requirements of the Honors Program.

Submatriculation

Exceptional students whose work is of high quality and who complete most of the major requirements by the end of the junior year may submatriculate and begin to take courses at the graduate level in Italian before completing the B.A. This option, which allows students to complete a B.A. and M.A. simultaneously, is primarily for those considering going on for a Ph.D. elsewhere in Italian Studies. Submatriculants would take a full schedule of graduate courses in their senior year, six in Italian Studies in Romance Languages and two from major-related fields. See further the College policy on submatriculation.

The Minor in Italian Studies

The minor in Italian Studies consists of six courses beyond Italian 134, 140, or the equivalent. See the language requirement in Italian. It may be in either of the two Italian Studies concentrations: 1) Italian Literature, 2) Italian Culture. To declare a minor, students should meet with the Undergraduate Chair who will approve a course of studies.

1. The Minor in Italian Literature

Required Courses

Italian 201: Advanced Italian I (or an equivalent course, which can be taken abroad). With permission from the Undergraduate Chair, may be taken concurrenlty with 202, 203 or 204. Prerequisite for courses taught in Italian at the 200 and 300 level.

One of the following:
Italian 202: Advanced Italian II
Italian 203: Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture (or the equivalent)

Of the four elective credits, at least two must be courses taught in Italian. At least one of these two must be at the 300 level. No more than two extra-departmental Italian Studies courses taught in English may be counted toward the minor.

2. The Minor in Italian Culture

Required courses

Italian 201: Advanced Italian I (or the equivalent, which can be taken abroad). With permission from the Undergraduate Chair, may be taken concurrently with 202, 203 or 204. Prerequisite for courses taught in Italian at the 200 and 300 level.

One of the following:
Italian 202: Advanced Italian II
Italian 203: Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture
Italian 204: Italian Civilization Through Cinema

Of the four elective credits, at least one must be a course taught in Italian at the 300-level. The remaining three courses should be chosen in related fields offered by Comparative Literature, Cinema Studies, departments affiliated with the Center for Italian Studies, or other offerings in humanities and social sciences as appropriate. For intellectual coherence, students should plan their electives to focus on one discipline and one historical period.

Credit Abroad for the Minor in Italian Culture

Students may receive credit for up to three Italian courses taken in a study abroad program at Venice, Milan, Bologna, or Rome, as pre-approved by the Undergraduate Chair. Students must meet with the Undergraduate Chair when they return to determine the level of Italian Studies courses they should register for at Penn.

The Certificate in Italian Language

Students who have completed any three courses in the 200-300-level sequence are eligible for the Language Certificate in Italian. At least two of these courses must be taken in the Department of Romance Languages at Penn. Only courses taught in Italian count toward the Certificate. A "B+" average is required across the three courses. To apply for the certificate, please email the Undergraduate Coordinator in Romance Languages with a list of relevant courses.

Submatriculation in the Graduate School of Education

As the study of foreign languages at the k-12 level is growing across the country, undergraduate students in the Italian program are eligible to apply for an accelerated program of master's degree study by seeking admission to the Graduate School of Education as submatriculants in their junior or senior year. A submatriculant takes graduate education courses for graduate credit while continuing to register in the undergraduate college. The requirements for a Major in Italian do not change with submatriculation in the Graduate School of Education. Find all information at http://www.gse.upenn.edu/academics/submatriculation

Transfer of Credit

In order to evaluate requests for transfer credit for courses taken at an institution other than Penn, the following material should be provided with a Transfer Credit Application (available in the College office): a catalogue course description, an actual course syllabus, a list of assigned readings and texts used, graded tests, examinations, and/or papers used for evaluating the student's work. Credit will be awarded only for courses taken in time frames equivalent to SAS schedules (semester and summer sessions). For courses at the language level, contact the Undergraduate Coordinator or the Director of the Language Program. For courses above 202, contact the Undergraduate Chair.

Advice for Prospective Majors and Minors

If you think you might be interested in Italian Studies as a major or minor at Penn, consider the following options. 

1. Enroll as early as you can in an appropriate language course. To find out how to determine your level, consult the Placement web page. If you have questions concerning your situation, consult the Director of the Language Program.

2. Choose a fall-semester Freshman Seminar with Italian cultural content. A Freshman Seminar can be counted retroactively as one credit toward a major or minor.

3. Consider taking the intensive first-year Italian course in the spring semester of your freshman year. As a next step, take the intensive second-year course on the Penn-in-Venice summer program. You will then have the language requirement satisfied by the end of your first year.

4. Make an appointment to meet the Undergraduate Chair in Italian to discuss your concentration and academic courses.

5. Plan to take advantage of one or more study abroad programs. Students may arrange a a summer, a semester, or a year abroad. Some students choose to attend both the Venice summer program and an academic-year program. This may be done in successive years, or the two may be combined to piggy-back a summer and semester-abroad.

6. Familiarize yourself with the Italian Studies website for a full picture of program options.

How to Declare and Plan a Major

1. See your College academic advisor to create a worksheet on Penn-in-Touch.

2. Make an appointment with the Undergraduate Chair in Italian to discuss your concentration and academic courses.

3. Check in with the Undergraduate Coordinator in Romance Languages to make sure all the university bureaucracy is in order.

4. Plan ahead through consultation with your advisors about when to integrate study abroad in your curriculum and which program(s).

5. If you wish to compete for the Amici Prize for a reseach project during your Penn-abroad stay, consult the Undergraduate Chair a semester before your departure.

6. To apply for Honors in the Major, you should consult with the Undergraduate Chair early in senior year.

7. Check with both the Undergraduate Coordinator in Romance Languages and the Italian Undergraduate Chair at the beginning of your senior year to make sure your plan fulfills all major requirements.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is highly encouraged whenever possible. The University of Pennsylvania requires that students participate in a Penn-approved program to receive course credit for such study. Information on study abroad options may be obtained from the Undergraduate Chair in Italian Studies, the Director of the Center for Italian Studies, or from the Overseas Program Manager for Italy in the Office of International Programs. On return, students should consult with the Undergraduate Chair to determine appropriate course levels for continuing work at Penn.

Students must meet with the Director of the Language Program when they return to determine the level of Italian Studies courses they should register for at Penn.

Advising

The Department of Romance Languages maintains a web site at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/roml. It is a repository for all information about the Department, including course descriptions, profiles of the faculty, and requirements for major and minor programs. For advising on Italian language courses, contact the Director of the Language Program; for advising on major and minor programs, transfer credit, and general advising on Italian Studies courses and programs abroad, contact the Undergraduate Chair. For extra-departmental courses, students should also freely consult informally with faculty who are members of the Center for Italian Studies Advisory Committee. These are Classical Studies, Joseph Farrell; English, David Wallace; History, Jonathan Steinberg; History of Art, Chris Poggi; Political Science, Julia Lynch; Religious Studies, Ann Matter.