Italian Studies Major (B.A.)

Italian Studies Major (B.A.)
Italian Studies Students

What is Italian studies?

As a student majoring in Italian, you’ll learn why Italy’s art, food, literature and cinema have such a large and lasting impact on culture worldwide. While you’re at it, you’ll gain proficiency in Italian, which is spoken as a second language by 250 million people. Italy is a major political and economic force in Europe and beyond and possesses the world’s seventh largest economy. Many employers seek people who speak both Italian and English. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy, and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices there.

Why study Italian at UNH?

The Italian studies degree program provides opportunities both to achieve high competency in Italian language and culture and to apply these knowledge skills to other disciplines. The program encourages independent and innovative thinking and research so that students can pursue and achieve their goals while preparing for the challenges of thriving in the world community. Our internship and study-abroad opportunities in Italy include a program in Rome.

Potential careers

  • Business leader
  • College professor
  • Diplomat
  • Interpreter
  • Journalist
  • Language teacher
  • Nonprofit administrator
  • Public relations professional
  • Tour guide
  • Translator
  • headshot
    Classics and Italian Studies Majors
    Camden Roy entered UNH as an English literature major because he loved to read (fun fact: he’s read at least one novel a week for the last four years). But after exploring more of COLA’s courses, he settled on a dual major in classics and Italian studies. “I ended up in these majors because of the intellectual freedom that the CHI (Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies) Department promotes,…
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  • Camyrn Luby with Nicole Gercke, lecturer in Italian studies
    Humanities and Italian Studies Majors
    Camryn Luby has always had a passion for Italian studies, so when her high school didn’t offer it, she put together a plan: she would apply to UNH as a neuroscience major and later, if things worked out, add Italian as a second major or minor. Ah, sometimes the best laid plans . . . “In my freshman year, I was taking a humanities class taught by Nicole Ruane and suddenly…
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  • photo of Caitlin Truesdale at graduation
    Art History and Italian Studies Majors | Graduate Student
    UNH was a place where I felt free to find what I was most passionate about. I also felt enormously supported by my professors, resident hall directors, bosses, and peers.
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

The Italian studies program offers courses in Italian language, culture, literature, history and cinema, as well as courses on Italian American culture. The program provides opportunities both to achieve high competence in Italian language and culture and to apply these knowledge skills to other disciplines. The Italian studies program encourages independent and innovative thinking and research so that students may pursue and achieve individualized goals while they prepare for the challenges of thriving in the world community.


Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: Yes

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

The Italian studies major curriculum consists of 10 courses (40 credits) that include:

Select 16 credits at 600-level or above16
Select 24 credits in ITAL course electives (up to two courses in Classics (CLAS), Humanities (HUMA) or from the list of approved electives may substitute for two of these courses.)24
Select one of the following Discovery capstone requirements:
Honors Thesis (ITAL 796)
Senior Thesis (ITAL 795)
ITAL course at the 700-level (ITAL 733 or ITAL 775)
Advisor approved 4-credit internship (ITAL 595)
Advisor approved semester immersion experience in Italy (INCO 685 or INCO 686)
Total Credits40

Additional Requirements

  • The minimum grade for each major course is a C.
  • Once students declare the Italian studies major, they must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average in order to fulfill the study abroad requirement.
  • Italian studies majors may use two major-required courses to satisfy two Discovery category requirements.

List of Elective Courses

All CLAS and HUMA courses are acceptable electives. Approved courses from other disciplines are listed below. Approval by the Italian studies advisor is required for courses not listed below.

ANTH 411Global Perspectives on the Human Condition: An Introduction to Anthropology4
ANTH 500Peoples and Cultures of the World4
ARTH 444Mona Lisa to Much Ado About Nothing: An Introduction to Renaissance Culture4
ARTH 474Introduction to Architectural History4
ARTH 480Introduction to Art History4
ARTH 583Baroque Art: Realism, Caricature, Shock4
ARTH 675Roman Art and Architecture4
ARTH 677Early Medieval Art4
ARTH 678Romanesque and Gothic Art4
ARTH 681Early Renaissance Art4
ARTH 682The High Renaissance4
ARTH 685Graphic Art of the Renaissance and Baroque Periods4
ECON 645International Economics4
EDUC 500Exploring Teaching4
ENGL #403WExploring Literature4
ENGL 419How to Read Anything4
ENGL 510Introduction to the Digital Humanities4
ENGL 533Introduction to Film Studies4
ENGL 618Film Theory4
ENGL 714Critical Skills4
GEOG 401World Regions: Europe and the Americas4
GEOG 581Society, Environment and Justice4
HIST #435Origins of European Society4
HIST 436Europe and the Modern World4
HIST 500Introduction to Historical Thinking4
HIST 501Medieval Military History4
HIST 521Origins of Modern Science4
HIST 540Foundations of Medieval History: 300-1300 CE4
HIST 565Women in Modern Europe4
HIST #640Holy War in the Holy Land: The Medieval Crusades4
HIST 641Europe after the Black Death4
HIST 642Saints, Sinners, and Heretics: Europe in the Age of Religious Reform4
IA 401International Perspectives4
IA 501Global Issues in International Affairs4
LLC 552Comparative Literature: Masterpieces of World Literature II4
LLC 791Methods of Foreign Language Teaching4
LING 405Introduction to Linguistics4
LING 605Intermediate Linguistic Analysis4
MKTG #756International Franchising4
MKTG 760International Marketing4
MUSI 501The Western Musical Canon3
MUSI 502Musics in Context3
MUSI #715Survey of Opera3
NUTR 595Mediterranean Diet and Culture4
PHIL 401Introduction to Philosophy4
PHIL 430Ethics and Society4
PHIL 560Philosophy Through Fiction4
PHIL 570Ancient Philosophy4
PHIL 580Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant4
PHIL 62020th Century European Philosophy4
POLT #520Politics, Justice, and Morality4
POLT 550Comparative Government and Society4
POLT 551Ethnicity ,Violence, Democracy4
POLT 552Contemporary European Politics4
POLT 560World Politics4
SUST 401Exploring Sustainability4
THDA 436History of Theatre I4
THDA 438History of Theatre II4

  • Demonstrate speaking proficiency in Italian: Students speak Italian at the Advanced Level per standard guidelines established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
  • Demonstrate listening proficiency in Italian: Students’ aural comprehension is at the Advanced Level per standard guidelines established by ACTFL.
  • Demonstrate reading proficiency in Italian: Students' read at the Advanced Level per standard guidelines established by ACTFL.
  • Demonstrate writing proficiency in Italian: Students' write at the Advanced Level per standard guidelines established by ACTFL.
  • Exhibit contemporary cultural competency: Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary aspects of Italian culture and the ability to interact appropriately and effectively within diverse social and cultural contexts.
  • Exhibit historical cultural competency: Identify the major movements in Italian cultural history and analyze critically Italian cultural production from the 13th century to the present through close readings and audio and visual texts (e.g., literature, cinema, music, visual arts, traditional and social media) to provide critical insight on a range of topics in Italian culture.
  • Exhibit intercultural competency: Present a global perspective through the articulation of cultural differences as well as shared values between cultures, societies, and nations.
  • Exhibit research competency: Demonstrate ability to conduct research in both Italian and English: to produce coherent analyses utilizing primary and secondary sources, applying critical thinking and methodologies of argumentation, and integrating disparate areas of knowledge.

Explore Program Details

Italian is spoken by 61 million people in Italy and by 85 million people throughout the world. As a second language, Italian is spoken by 250 million and is the fourth most studied second language in the world.

While Italy’s artistic and culinary patrimony is internationally recognized, the country’s significant achievements in science, technology, engineering, manufacturing, and medicine are less well known. Italy is a major political and economic force in Europe and the world. It possesses the world’s seventh largest economy, and many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, art restoration and preservation, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The iconic Chrysler Group LLC, one of the “Big Three” American automobile manufacturers is owned by Italian automaker FIAT as of 2014. Many Italian firms have offices in the U.S., especially in the Boston metropolitan area.

A major or minor in Italian Studies allows students to pursue careers in a variety of fields including though not limited to education, business, computer programming and web design, law, public relations, journalism, archaeology, telecommunications, arts administration, non-governmental organizations, hospitality management, publishing, library science, graduate studies, politics, or public and environmental affairs. In the public sector, government agencies and the military also offer many and diverse opportunities for individuals with international proficiency.


Italy: The Extraordinary Commonplace

This video, presented at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Switzerland, describes Italy’s important contributions to the global community. 

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