Romance Languages and Literatures

Italian Studies Undergraduate Programs

A major or minor in Italian Literature and Culture prepares students to succeed in a multilingual and multicultural world. Students will develop the knowledge and critical skills necessary to understand and engage with a variety of aspects of Italian culture and society, enhancing interdisciplinary study in fields such as classical music, opera, art history, and cinema. Our faculty teach students how to read and analyze texts with rigor and insight, write carefully and with well-supported arguments, and refine their written and oral expression.

Interdisciplinary Study

Students may choose from a wide range of courses in Italian literature and culture from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to modern times. Our students are often double majors who bring to the classroom a multiplicity of perspectives that enrich our interdisciplinary approach to the study of language, literature, and culture. Moreover, many of our majors and minors take cross-listed courses that focus on cinema, art history, music, and philosophy, among other disciplines. Students with competence in Spanish, French, Catalan, or Portuguese may wish to pursue a degree in more than one Romance language. Students who complete a BA thesis may be nominated for the Samuel T. Fleck Prize (awarded annually to the best paper written by a student in Italian).

Requirements for Italian Major

The program in Italian consists of ten courses beyond ITAL 20300 Language, History, and Culture III, and is aimed at developing a broad knowledge of the field through the close study of major works and the critical techniques appropriate to their interpretation. For full details, see the College Catalog. A summary of requirements is available here.

Requirements for Italian Minor

The minor in Italian requires a total of six courses beyond the second-year language sequence (20100-20300). One of the six courses must be ITAL 23410 Reading and Practice of the Short Story or an equivalent introductory gateway course. The four remaining courses in the minor will be upper-level courses in or related to Italian. Most will be Italian literature and culture courses, but up to two may be Italian studies courses, which are largely interdisciplinary courses taught by affiliated faculty.

Students who elect the minor program must meet with the Italian undergraduate adviser before the end of Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. Students choose courses in consultation with the Italian adviser. Students must submit to the departmental office an approval form for the minor program signed by the Italian adviser. Students must then submit a copy of the signed approval form to their College adviser.

For full program details, see the College Catalog. A summary of requirements is available here.

Study Abroad

We strongly encourage our students to study abroad, both to improve their language proficiency, and to gain invaluable cultural experience in a foreign country. The College offers a year-long direct enrollment program at the venerable University of Bologna, where students may take coursework in their major and beyond, alongside Italian university students. The College also offers an autumn quarter program in Rome that fulfills the College's Civilization core requirement and an autumn semester program at Bocconi University in Milan. For summer experiences, students can apply for funding for Italian language study or research in Italy through the College's Summer International Travel Grants. For more information, please visit

Italian at UChicago

Students are encouraged to participate in events organized by our Italian Language Program which offer opportunities for social interaction and engagement with aspects of Italian culture, from opera to cinema to authentic cuisine.

Language Study at the University of Chicago


Recent graduates say:

Zeev Hurwich (Class of 2014)

Liz Kerr (Class of 2011)