BA in Italian & Linguistics
The Italian & Linguistics major enables students to combine the study of human language from a variety of perspectives with the study of Italian language, literature, and culture. In their linguistics courses, students explore the formal structures of language (sound system, internal structure of words, syntactic organization, and representations of meaning) as well as language universals, variability across languages, social dimensions of language use, and historical language change. At the same time, they achieve proficiency in Italian (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and gain an appreciation and critical understanding of Italian cultural and literary traditions, practices, genres, and great works. Class projects and interactions with faculty provide frequent opportunities for making connections between the major’s two primary areas of study. Study abroad is strongly encouraged and, with careful planning, easily accommodated.
The joint major equips students with sought-after language skills and intercultural competence and provides excellent background for a range of careers including language education, testing and assessment, translation and interpretation, international business, speech therapy, voice coaching, information technology, law, nursing and medicine, child development, and social work. It also prepares students for graduate study in the areas of language, literature, linguistics, and related areas such as regional studies and cognitive science.
The major consists of thirteen 4-credit courses, all completed with a grade of C or higher. Further information on individual courses can be found in the list of Italian course descriptions and Linguistics course descriptions and on the Linguistics program website.
Six courses in Italian
- One Italian language course at the 300 level (CAS LI 303–310)
- One Italian literature course chosen from CAS LI 350 or 351
- Four additional Italian literature courses at or above the 300 level from among CAS LI 350, 351, 352, 450, 452, 453, 459, 553, 555, 556, 590
Six courses in linguistics
- CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics
- Three core courses in linguistics, to be taken in any order (all have CAS LX 250 as a prerequisite):
- CAS LX 301 Phonetics & Phonology: Introduction to Sound Systems (previously offered as CAS LX 510)
- CAS LX 321 Syntax: Introduction to Sentential Structure (previously offered as CAS LX 522)
- CAS LX 331 Semantics & Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning (previously offered as 502)
- Two additional CAS LX electives above the level of CAS LX 250
One additional elective
- in Italian — Italian literature (see above listing) or Italian culture: chosen from CAS LI 349, 452, 473, 480, 540
- in linguistics — from courses in general linguistics (CAS LX courses at or above the 300 level) or other linguistics courses with advisor approval
Honors in the Major
Students with a sufficient GPA overall (at least 3.65) and in the major (at least 3.7) and who have already taken at least two of the core courses in Linguistics (from CAS LX 250, 301, 321, 331) as well as CAS LI 350 or 351 plus another of the required courses in Italian literature can apply to participate in the Honors program, which involves additional advanced coursework. See the Linguistics Program website for details. Applications will be accepted no sooner than the end of sophomore year and no later than the beginning of the second semester of the junior year.
Students may take courses to fulfill requirements of the Italian & Linguistics major in the Boston University Study Abroad program in Padua. Additional information on this program is available in the Study Abroad and Internship Programs section of this site. Students should consult with their advisor to determine which Study Abroad courses may fulfill major and minor requirements.
A minimum of 6 of the 13 courses required for the major must be taken on the Charles River Campus.