All Romance Languages and Literatures PhD students are awarded 5-year fellowships that include a stipend, full tuition, and health insurance coverage. Students starting the program in 2015–16 received a stipend and teaching remuneration of $28,000 over 12 months.

The Division of the Humanities has additional information on the types of financial support available to doctoral students.


Our graduate students are not required to teach during their first year in order to focus on course work. Students first serve as language assistants who lead weekly discussion sections, then take on increased responsibility as lecturers in the college's language program and as course assistants for our literature courses.

Additional teaching opportunities are available after the first 5 years as a lecturer, language assistant, or course assistant. Eligible students must have completed the Department’s pedagogy seminar, finished any required coursework, and made satisfactory progress on their dissertation.

Interdisciplinary Engagement

In addition to the primary field in Italian Studies, all of our PhD students create an individual course of study in a secondary field, which can be in a second romance literature or in another discipline. By defining their own path of study while acquiring a rigorous grounding in their chosen fields, students develop the skills and versatility necessary to adapt and succeed in an evolving profession.

The University of Chicago’s graduate workshops are a hallmark of graduate study at this University. The Department sponsors two workshops: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Modern France and the Francophone World and Western Mediterranean Culture. Many of our students participate in additional workshops. These workshops provide opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange among students and faculty across the University. PhD students participate in and coordinate these forums for sustained interdisciplinary exchange among students and faculty.

Research Resources

  • University of Chicago hosts the OVI (Opera del Vocabolario Italiano) a textual database containing 1960 vernacular texts (22.3 million words, 456,000 unique forms) the majority of which are dated prior to 1375. The OVI together with its French counterpart, ARTFL, make the University of Chicago one of the premier centers for Digital Humanities. A longstanding collaboration with the Accademia della Crusca and Notre Dame University, the OVI offers a select number of research assistantships for students wishing to develop skills in the area of digital humanities.
  • The Italian Women Writers project (IWW) is a long-term research endeavor to preserve and provide access to an extensive corpus of literature written by Italian women authors. It currently includes authors from the 13th century until 1945. Graduate students regularly serve as assistants for the database. 
  • The University of Chicago Library. One of the largest research libraries in North America, with 12.6 million volumes in print and electronic form, the Library holds a vast collection of French and Francophone printed materials, manuscripts, rare books, journal holdings, databases and microfilm sets, and provides extensive support for developing personal research skills.

Mentorship and Professional Development

Each year the Italian graduate students produce in close collaboration with a faculty member a volume of an edited texts, translations, or original essays, published in the Susan and Donald Mazzoni series with Longo Editore. This year-long collaborative seminar provides students with a scholarly skill set that goes well beyond what can be learned in the classroom: firsthand experience in preparing a work for publication.