The undergraduate program in Italian at Washington University offers a variety of courses for students interested in Italian language, civilization, culture, and literature.
Beginning students may enroll in one of two introductory language sequences: Italian 101/102, for students with no previous experience in a Romance language, and Italian 106/107, for students with at least four years of high school French or Spanish or three semesters of college French or Spanish. Both courses approach the study of Italian language and culture through the use of authentic materials, including a variety of visual media, and the latest language-learning technology.
Our advanced language courses help students pursue their mastery of Italian grammar and build the foundation for literary analysis through creative and argumentative writing about Italian novels, short stories, poetry, and plays.
Our literature surveys introduce students to Italian classics from the Middle Ages through the modern period.
Our topics seminars address aspects of Italian culture over time, and include such subjects as Rome, Italian cinema, and the history of Italian theater.
Our advanced seminars offer in-depth study of individual authors (Boccaccio, Ariosto, Machiavelli), or look at broader topics of Italian literature and culture (the Enlightenment, women authors, the mystery novel, the Sicilian novel since the Unification).
Washington University Italian students enjoy additional study and research opportunities outside of the classroom, both on campus and abroad. Italo, a student-run organization for the promotion of Italian culture, holds regular events throughout the semester. We also host a regular Tavola Italiana during the semester, at which you can enjoy an Italian snack and chat in Italian with friends and faculty members.
Our summer program in Castelraimondo, Le Marche, offers both Italian 101, our entry-level course, and Italian 201, our third-semester course, in a total immersion setting. Our semester- and year-abroad options allow students to study at the Università degli Studi di Padova under the aegis of Boston University.
If you’ve studied Italian before enrolling at Washington University, you’ll want to take our Placement Exam to ensure you begin your work here at the proper level.
Sometimes students want to create their own course, addressing an author or a topic not otherwise available to them. See our Independent Study Policy for details.
All Italian majors should fill out a Senior Major Exit Survey upon graduation.
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures also offers the following degree options: