Studies in Italian


Inspired by the full symbological import of the famous image of Janus, the Italian program aims at developing a well rounded appreciation for Italy by facing both forward, at its ever changing reality, and backwards, at its millenary cultural heritage. Through courses in Italian, students gain proficiency in understanding, reading, writing, and — most importantly — speaking this language. Laboratory facilities are used extensively to supplement the classroom instruction. All the language courses are conducted primarily in Italian and are based on an interactive methodology, which incorporates videos, music, and film. The program is complemented by courses on literature, culture, and civilization, some of which are taught in English, to give students with different backgrounds an opportunity to benefit from these offerings.

Under a new leadership, since 2003, the Italian program has:

  • placed more of 40% of its Special Majors in competitive graduate studies programs in the US and abroad
  • increased overall enrollments by more than 20% (03/04: 167 –>09/10: 203)
  • launched a new, four-week, six credit, study abroad program in Orvieto, Italy, which has been one of the most popular programs in MDFL, with a total of 57 students enrolled in its five editions
  • created a new student-exchange teaching program with the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan that provides the department with qualified teaching professionals, that act as adjunct faculty under the supervision of the program’s director
  • launched a new Semester Abroad exchange program with the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan


Any student may use Italian to satisfy the University’s general education requirement for proficiency in a foreign language.

A special major in Italian studies is possible for students who wish to apply. Graduates in Italian Studies may pursue careers in Italian culture and literature, in Art History, Historic Preservation, fashion and design, music, history, sociology, and other areas for which knowledge of this language and culture are essential.