Undergraduate Programs in Italian

From antiquity well beyond the Renaissance, the Italian peninsula was widely considered to be at the center of Western culture. Now, in the 21st century, Italy continues to influence our understanding of the human experience thanks to a tradition of prolific cultural production and intellectual thought.

The first class in Italian at UW-Madison was offered in the 1850s, and Italian language courses became a regular part of UW-Madison curriculum in academic year 1887-88. Italian at UW-Madison remains one of the oldest and most important Italian programs in the world.

UW-Madison students of Italian develop their proficiency in the language while discovering the region’s history, literature, art, architecture and film in one of the largest and most successful Italian programs in the US. Italian faculty are worldly-renowned experts in literature, culture, history, film, and art, from the Middle Ages to the present. A combination of dynamic course offerings, on-campus immersion opportunities, study abroad and a variety of outreach events in Madison make the study of Italian a constantly evolving and enriching experience.

Skills & Strengths of a Liberal Arts Major       

People who speak multiple languages make the best employees for one big reason

Don’t go to school for finance — liberal arts is the future

Why Liberal Arts Majors often Make the Best Techies 

STEM is Missing an Important Subject: Languages

We need more STEM Majors with Liberal Arts Training

With some Specific Skills, Liberal Arts Majors have Plenty of Job Prospects

Major in the Humanities for a Good Job – and for a Good Life

Benefits of Multilingualism

For a Better Brain, Learn a Foreign Language

Improved Health, Memory, Decision-making, and Perception

Bilinguals are More Attractive

Benefits of Language Learning

Language learning supports academic achievement

Language learning provides cognitive benefits to students

Language learning affects attitudes and beliefs about language and culture

Language Study as a National Imperative

Some Facts & Figures about Italian

  • An estimated 7,000 US companies do business in Italy, while more than 1,000 have offices in Italy: Cisco, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, Mars, Tetra Pak, PepsiCo, City Bank, Fedex, S.C. Johnson, Kraft, Unilever, McDonalds, Kellog, and many more
  • There are roughly 30 Italian companies currently doing business in Wisconsin
  • Italian is the fourth most-studied foreign language in the world
  • Italy is the third largest economy in the eurozone

The Department of French & Italian has an informal Italian placement test to find the best fit for students with previous experience in Italian.  To get access to the test, please contact Mandi Schoville, Undergraduate Advisor and Program Coordinator.

Retro-Credits 

Students enrolled in 102, 182, 203, 204, 311 or 312 are eligible for retro credits. Consult complete retroactive credit policy for more information.

Course taken
Retro Credits
102
4
203
8
204
12
311, 312
16

Note: Italian 201, Italian for Speakers of Other Romance Languages, is an intense, 2 semesters-in-one course designed for students who have had the equivalent of 4 college semesters of another romance language (French, Spanish, Portuguese).

 Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Policy

College credit will be awarded to students who receive a 3, 4, or 5 on their AP Italian Exam.  More information can be found here.

Score Credit Policy To also earn retro credits, take
3 or 4 4 cr. 204 311
5 4 cr. 452 311
The Undergraduate Certificate in Italian offers students the opportunity to develop their proficiency in Italian language and their knowledge of literature and culture in the Italian- speaking world. The Undergraduate Certificate also strengthens the applications of students who intend to pursue careers or graduate study in areas where Italian is useful. The Undergraduate Certificate in Italian is open to all undergraduate students.

For information on requirements for the Italian Certificate, please refer to the Undergraduate Guide.

To declare the Italian Certificate or for general questions, contact Mandi Schoville, Undergraduate Advisor and Program Coordinator.

Major Requirements

For information on requirements for the Italian Major, please refer to the Undergraduate Guide.

Outcomes

Having completed an undergraduate major in Italian, you will be able to:

 Skills

  • Demonstrate understanding and ability to analyze literary and non-literary texts in Italian representing a broad spectrum of topics, time periods, and geographical regions
  • Express yourself effectively in spoken and written Italian to inform, persuade, and narrate for different audiences of listeners, viewers, or readers
  • Express yourself effectively in spoken and written Italian to share information, reactions, and opinions related to a broad spectrum of topics and texts

 Knowledge

  • Recognize and explain cultural artifacts, practices, and perspectives of the Italian-speaking world including how these cultural elements relate to literary and non-literary texts in Italian
  • Demonstrate a good degree of understanding of lexical, grammatical, syntactic, and stylistic features of the Italian language

 Dispositions

  • Demonstrate awareness of difference and diversity by comparing and contrasting culturally situated  beliefs, behaviors, and norms of the Italian-speaking world with your own
  • Engage in a sustained fashion with the Italian language, its users, and cultural artifacts in and beyond the classroom, e.g., in your own community, virtual communities, and study abroad

  How to Declare

  1. Contact Mandi Schoville, Undergraduate Advisor and Program Coordinator, to complete the Major Declaration Form.
  2. Note: If you have declared another major in a College other than L&S, and wish to double major in Italian, contact Mandi Schoville to complete the Italian Major Declaration Form. Take the signed form to the Student Academic Affairs office of the other college in which you are enrolled, and file an “Academic Action Form.” Once the Academic Action Form has been filed, you should notify Mandi Schoville.

Click here for L&S Undergraduate information about Honors  – General

TAKING A CLASS FOR HONORS

Student can choose to register for the course for honors credit. Students taking a course for honors should contact their instructor or professor as soon as possible at the very beginning of the semester to begin organizing the honors curriculum for the semester.

Students in the L&S Honors Program do not need permission to take a class for honors. Please note that students in the L&S Honors Program must take a minimum number of credits in designated honors sections. More information available here.

GRADUATING WITH HONORS IN THE MAJOR

To graduate with honors, a major in Italian must register with the department advisor as an honors candidate and must complete the junior-senior honors curriculum with a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major. Students must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.

ITALIAN 101 – 102

A student who wants to do the Honors option will meet with the instructor to discuss projects and activities to do in addition to the normal 101-102 homework and activities. Students need to write down the terms of the agreement in a sort of contract that will be given to the instructor as well as to the Course Chair before the beginning of the project.

ITALIAN 101:

  1. Attend three screenings at the UW Cineteca OR attend 3 Italian Club events OR attend 3 campus lectures sponsored/approved by the Italian department. Meet with your instructor to present a short summary of the three films / events (who were the characters, what happened, what is your opinion on the films/events) in Italian (a 5 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW in which you present a short summary of the three films / events. You must also write a 3-4-page paper in English in which you describe what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned from the films/events. NB: These extra-curricular events when attended for the honors project will NOT count towards extra credit points.
  2. Research a topic related to Italian literature, history, art, politics, music, or culture in general (preferably something that we discussed already in class). Meet with your instructor to present your findings in Italian (a 5 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW. Then write a 3-4-page paper in English in which you explain why you chose your topic (what drew you to it?) and what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned in preparing this topic.

ITALIAN 102:

  1. Attend three screenings at the UW Cineteca OR attend 3 Italian Club events OR attend 3 campus lectures sponsored/approved by the Italian department. Meet with your instructor to present a short summary of the three films / events (who were the characters, what happened, what is your opinion on the films/events) in Italian (a 5 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW in which you present a short summary of the three films / events. You must also write a 2-page paper in Italian in which you describe what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned from the films/events. NB: These extra-curricular events when attended for the honors project will NOT count towards extra credit points.
  2. Research a topic related to Italian literature, history, art, politics, music, or culture in general (preferably something that we discussed already in class). Meet with your instructor to present your findings in Italian (a 5 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW. Then write a 2-page paper in Italian in which you explain why you chose your topic (what drew you to it?) and what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned in preparing this topic.

Each student will write up an individual contract with the TA stating the following:

–       Specific descriptions of the activities the student will participate in and a deadline for the final product. OR A brief description of the topic of the project, sources to be examined, and deadline for the final product.

Copies of the agreed-upon proposal (which are signed and dated by the student) should be shared electronically with the TA, student, and course chair before work on the project begins.

ITALIAN 203 – 204

A student who wants to do the Honors option will meet with the instructor to discuss projects and activities to do in addition to the normal workload of Italian 203 or Italian 204. Students need to write down the terms of the agreement in a sort of contract that will be given to the instructor as well as to the Course Chair before the beginning of the project.

ITALIAN 203:

Attend 4 screenings at the UW Cineteca OR attend 4 total Italian Club events AND/OR campus lectures sponsored/approved by the Italian department. Meet with your instructor to present a short summary of the 4 films / events (who were the characters, what happened, what is your opinion on the films/events) in Italian (a 5-8 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW in which you present a short summary of the three films / events. You must also write a 4-page paper in Italian in which you describe both what you attended and what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned from the films/events. NB: These extra-curricular events when attended for the honors project will NOT count towards extra credit points.

  • Research a topic related to Italian literature, history, art, politics, music, or culture in general (preferably something that we discussed already in class). Meet with your instructor to present your findings in Italian (a 5-8 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW. Then write a 4-page paper in Italian in which you explain why you chose your topic (what drew you to it?) and what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned in preparing this topic. NB: This research project cannot be the same topic as the final oral exam project for Italian 203.

ITALIAN 204:

  1. Attend four screenings at the UW Cineteca or watch 4 Italian films (chosen in consultation with the instructor) and write 4 analytical essays (2 pages each) in Italian based on the movies, with emphasis on cultural content. NB: Screenings at the Cineteca when attended for the honors project will NOT count towards extra credit points.
  2. Research a topic related to Italian literature, history, art, politics, music, or culture in general (preferably something that we discussed already in class). Meet with your instructor to present your findings in Italian (a 5-8 minute one-on-one oral presentation) OR record a video to share with your classmates on Learn@UW. Then write a 6-page paper in Italian in which you explain why you chose your topic (what drew you to it?), your overall findings, and what new or surprising information regarding Italian life/culture you learned in preparing this topic. NB: This research project cannot be the same topic as the final oral exam project for Italian 204.

Each student will write up an individual contract with the TA stating the following:

–       Specific descriptions of the activities the student will participate in and a deadline for the final product. OR A brief description of the topic of the project, sources to be examined, and deadline for the final product.

Copies of the agreed-upon proposal (which are signed and dated by the student) should be shared electronically with the TA, student, and course chair before work on the project begins.

 ITALIAN 311 AND ABOVE

Curriculum for honors level work in courses at the 311 level and above will vary depending on the instructor.

TO GRADUATE WITH HONORS, STUDENTS MUST:

– Register as an honors candidate with a department honors advisor

– Take 16 honors credits beyond 204. Honors credit is generally available in all courses

– Complete the junior-senior honors curriculum in the department with a Major GPA of at least 3.5

– Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW-Madison at the time of graduation

– Complete a Senior Honors Thesis of 6 credits (Italian 681 and 682) or substitute two semesters of literature (6 credits) at the 600 level

Italian academic advising will help you:

– Navigate the Italian language program.

– Learn about majoring or double majoring in Italian.

– Choose the best study abroad program(s) for you.

– Explore the possibility of post-undergraduate studies.

– Investigate careers related to the language and your degree.

– Understand Letters & Science degree requirements for graduation.

– Discover resources on campus for additional support.

Before making an appointment with an advisor:

– If you’re just getting started, check out this great Academic and Career Planning Guide.

– It is sometimes very helpful to run a “DARS” report, or a “DARS What-if” if you are considering a major or interested in adding a study abroad program to your udergraduate career. You can run these through your ‘My-UW‘.

– You could also print out and fill out your portion of the Major and Certificate Declaration Form if you haven’t done so already.

– If you are considering study abroad, make sure you research your opportunities at studyabroad.wisc.edu and read this handout on How to Determine Equivalents.

Academic Advisor in Italian 

Contact Mandi Schoville, Undergraduate Advisor and Program Coordinator,

A degree in Italian strengthens your credentials and offers unique career paths in International Business, Law, International Affairs, Education, Diplomacy, Translation, Security, Retail, Design, Fashion, Apparel Merchandizing, Public Relations, Communication Arts, Telecommunications, Historian, Management, Arts Administration, Public or Environmental Affairs.

Our graduates acquire and develop versatile world-readiness skills and competences that can be applied in a variety of different careers:

  • intercultural knowledge and competence
  • public speaking
  • leadership
  • creative and critical thinking and writing
  • communication
  • analysis and interpretation
  • collaboration
  • conflict management
  • self-expression

What can you do with a major in Italian?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers confirms that a degree in foreign languages assures the highest salary among the liberal arts majors. Read more here.

Many Italian companies do business in the US: Fiat Chrysler, Armani, Bulgari, Dolce&Gabbana, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Peroni, Bianchi Bicycle, Lavazza, Illy, Edison G&E, Ferrero, Vespa, Telecom, EXOR, Unicredit, Enel, etc.

Many US companies do business in Italy: Cisco, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, Mars, Tetra Pak, PepsiCo, Fedex, S.C Johnson, Kraft, Unilever, McDonalds, Kellog, Starcom Mediavest, etc.

From Steve Jobs to Wall Street Journal to Forbes, everyone agrees that a degree in liberal arts gives you an edge in the ever-changing job market: “technology alone isn’t enough” and therefore “software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger.” Read more here and here.

Studies have shown that a degree in a less-commonly taught language adds significant amount to your salary, with Italian being at the top of the list. Read more here.

Studies have shown that knowing a second language provides a significant advantage over competitors in job market.

Seek and Gain Experience 

International Internships

Morgridge Center for Public Service

Center for Leadership and Involvement 

Study Abroad with UW International Academic Programs

Study Abroad with the School of Business

Study Abroad with International Engineering Studies and Programs

Undergraduate Research

Consider taking INTER-LS 210: L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative – This one-credit course helps students develop critical skills and knowledge for making future career-related decisions. Designed specifically for L&S students, or those exploring an L&S major, course discussion focuses on leveraging and articulating the value of the liberal arts and science degree. Our goal is to enforce students’ capacity to become leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the 21st-centrury workforce. Students are encouraged to take the course in their second-year of college.

Career Exploration

SuccessWorks, provides career advising specifically for L&S students.

Hand Shake connects students and employers.

UW-Madison Language Institute offers career advising.

The Institute for Regional and International Studies Advising Office offers advising in the area of international opportunities and helps students navigate international resources at the UW-Madison.

If you are interested in international internships, visit the International Internship Program’s advising service.

American Job Center O’Net

Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Join Badger Bridge: This professional network is an exclusive place where UW-Madison alumni and students can come together to offer support in achieving career goals and exploring professional opportunities.

Career Kickstart in Ogg Hall: Launched in Fall 2015 in Ogg Residence Hall, Career Kickstart is a career-themed program in a community that is designed for non-freshmen. Join returning students and make the next step in your life with access to special events and resources: On-site academic/career advising and related programming; “Back stage access” to employers, alumni, and resources on campus; learn how to land and internship and get a job; develop your resume, polish your interviewing skills, and more!

STUDY ABROAD

UW in Bologna

Fully immerse yourself in the Italian culture, improve your language skills, and spend your academic year or semester engaged in courses with Italian students at the University, and other BCSP participants in consortium classes.

UW in Florence

This program is ideal if you’re looking for an academically rich study abroad experience with an introduction to Italian language. In Florence, the renowned history of Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, the Medici, and Botticelli will become part of your daily experience.

Arcadia Program in Perugia

On this program, you will be intentionally immersed in an Italian language and culture experience.

UW Classics in Italy

This program will help you navigate new educational systems, observe Italian perspectives on academic disciplines and daily life, and deepen cross cultural understanding through site visits and educational tours.

UW in Rome

Study abroad at John Cabot University in Rome. This experience will help you strengthen your language skills, and allow you to discover a distinctly American learning experience while being enriched by Rome and the international faculty and student population.

INTERNSHIPS

International Internship Program heps you explore international internship options. Click here for there latest schedule and deadlines.

Italian Club

An avenue to expand interest, knowledge, and enjoyment of Italy and Italian culture. Contact Loren Eadie for more information.

Cineteca Italiana

Weekly Italian film screenings with English subtitles. Contact Irene Hatzopoulos for more information.

Piazza Italia

With a designated instructor on side, this on-campus language immersion program offers a unique residential opportunity and language and cultural exposure.  Part of International Learning Services, a program offering contact and collaboration with other foreign language and culture enthusiasts. Contact Loren Eadie for more information.

CIAO! SCHOLARSHIP

CIAO (Cultural Italian American Organization) is a social group made up of those with Italian heritage living in the Madison area. The club’s goal is to maintain a connection with those of Italian heritage and to support the understanding of the impact of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans on Madison and surrounding communities. Every fall, CIAO awards a scholarship in the amount of $1000 to a student of Italian spending at least one semester studying abroad in Italy. While all students are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to:

  • Students pursuing a Major in Italian or a Certificate in Italian at the UW-Madison (any student who has declared the Italian major or certificate by November of the current academic year)
  • Students of Italian heritage (but all students are encouraged to apply)
  • Students planning their first study-abroad experience in Italy
  • Students with at least a 3.0 GPA

Applicants should provide a letter (2 pages maximum) providing information about themselves, their Italian background (if applicable), their goals for studying abroad, their academic interests and career plans, and how they hope to use their Italian language in the future.

Deadline: Typically November of the current academic year

The successful recipient will be notified, and will receive $1000 from CIAO to help offset study abroad expenses. At the end of the semester, the successful recipient will send a one- to two-page final report about their study abroad experience in Italy to CIAO by email.

Questions regarding the scholarship and how to apply can be directed to Grazia Menechella.

Current Courses in Italian

For a complete listing of sections and times, consult the Schedule of Classes.