Undergraduate Program

Introduction and Overview


The University of Pennsylvania, strong in its interdisciplinary and international dimensions, supports a flourishing Italian Studies Program. The Program's distinctive configuration reflects our setting on the Penn campus and in the heart of Philadelphia, as well as the the opportunities to study abroad. Students can choose a traditional concentration in language and literature or shape more individualized curriculums that connect to sister programs. Such cross-disciplinary study may engage another Romance Language or reach beyond the Department, through courses sponsored by Comparative Literature, the Center for Italian Studies, Cinema Studies, and a growing number of electives in Arts and Sciences related to issues of national and ethnic identity. Additionally, at a time when the study of foreign languages at the k-12 level is growing across the country and there is a global need for teachers of English as second language, 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.

Philadelphia, whether sampled informally or more in depth on academic field trips, complements Penn Italian Studies. Its rich history and multicultural heritage are arrayed in the city's museums, libraries, national monuments, musical institutions, theatrical troupes, its Italian Market, and International Film Festivals. A sister-city of Florence, Philadelphia is home to an Italian Consulate with which the University closely collaborates.

The Center for Italian Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences promotes the culture of Italy and Italian-Americans through activities involving the campus community and residents of the Philadelphia-Delaware Valley area. Administered by a faculty Director and Academic Advisory Committee, it coordinates initiatives that promote ties with Italy and link many departments within the University. Currently, these are Classical Studies, English, History, History of Art, Landscape Architecture, Music, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Romance Languages. This network provides an academic structure within which students of Italian Studies at all levels can plan the courses they will take.