BA in Italian Studies

The major in Italian Studies provides students all the means necessary to attain three, interrelated kinds of proficiency. The first is spoken and written Italian, sufficient to live and study successfully in Italy and/or to use Italian media and research tools for careers involving Italy and Italian culture. The second is the ability to read and interpret Italian literature of all periods and genres. The third is a knowledge of the social, political, economic, and cultural realities of today’s Italy.

All Italian Studies majors are encouraged to spend at least one semester of study at Boston University’s Centro Studi in Padua, where they live with an Italian family and may enroll directly at the University of Padua, taking courses alongside their Italian peers in any academic field. An “Interdisciplinary track” is also available for the major, in which students may elect 3 of their 13 major courses from a field related to Italian culture such as history of art & architecture, history, European studies, philosophy, international relations, and classical studies.

An undergraduate degree in Italian Studies enables students to pursue careers in a great variety of areas: diplomacy, professional translation, design, fashion, language instruction, the arts, arts management, bilingual journalism, international business, and law. The degree also qualifies students for graduate study in education, Italian literature, and history.


Thirteen 4-credit courses with a grade of C or higher are required for the major. Students entering with advanced standing in Italian studies must complete a minimum of six principal courses at Boston University. Students participating in the Boston University Study Abroad program in Italy must complete a minimum of four principal courses in Italian language and literature on the Boston campus; two of these four courses must be taken at the 400 level or above on the student’s return from Padua.

Specifically required are the following:

  1. One course in either linguistics (CAS LX 250) or comparative literature (CAS XL).
  2. Two advanced language courses: CAS LI 303 and LI 304 or 305 or 310.
  3. Six literature courses: CAS LI 350, 351, 352, and three courses from LI 450, 452, 453, 459, 551, 553, 555, 556, 590.
  4. Two culture courses from CAS LI 340, 349, 452, 473, 480, 540.
  5. Two additional CAS LI courses or related courses from other departments chosen with advisor’s approval. Students may use these two courses, along with one cultural offering in item 4 (above), to form an interdisciplinary cluster within their Italian Studies major.


Students may take courses to fulfill their language requirement or courses toward their major or minor 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.

Placement Test

A placement test is required of all students whose most recent course in Italian was taken in high school or at a college other than Boston University and who wish to continue their study of this language here. Information regarding online placement exams is available in the Department of Romance Studies or on the departmental website.