The Italian major helps you develop a solid mastery of language skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and aural comprehension. It also provides you with an historical overview of Italian literature and culture through a variety of texts, media, and interrelated subjects (music, film, international politics, sociology, gender studies). The faculty includes experts in language and language pedagogy, literature, film, and culture.
The Department of French and Italian has one of the most active co-curricular programs on campus, with many students participating in both academic and non-academic activities. In-depth study, weekly Italian films, an Italian Club (Circolo Italiano), sports tournaments, talent shows, and overseas programs are all part of the culture of the Italian major.
The B.A. in Italian is offered by the Department of French and Italian, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of French and Italian also offers an Italian Minor. More information about the Minor can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.
If you haven’t had any Italian language study experience, you will begin with the 100-level language course. There are also options to do accelerated first- and second-year Italian courses.
You start earning credit towards the Italian major once you begin 200-level Italian coursework. Students with previous Italian experience take a placement test before new student orientation to determine which course level they should take during their first semester.
Tracks and concentrations
There are no official tracks or concentrations in the Italian major. Courses cover a range of topics, including literature, film, theater, popular culture, art, history and linguistics. As you progress through the major, you are able to choose advanced courses that coincide with your interests, constructing an undergraduate experience that is unique to you and your goals.
Talk with the academic advisor about the possibilities.
Upper level coursework
Upper level coursework focuses on Italian literature and culture. The Department of French and Italian offers a variety of 400-level courses with topics ranging from early Italian history to contemporary writers, filmmakers, and socio-political concerns. You can also pursue in-depth study through individual readings based on your interests and faculty guidance.
Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates
Your major represents about one quarter of your degree requirements. With the help of your academic advisor, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.
Students frequently pair the Italian major with majors in fields as diverse as History, Art History, Linguistics, French, English, International Studies, and Psychology. Combinations with any major can be possible. Contact your academic advisor to help you plan.
- Enhance your major
Working with faculty
When pursuing a degree in Italian, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.
You can get involved in research as early as your freshman year. Many incoming freshmen apply to the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program. ASURE students experience project-based learning enhanced by a community of supportive faculty and peers. Choose an ASURE path in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, or natural and mathematical sciences. Consider joining one that will deepen your skills and knowledge in an area related to your major or a different one to become a more well-rounded thinker.
During their junior and senior years, Italian majors have the opportunity to participate in FRIT-X493: Individual Readings, working closely with a faculty member to develop their own reading list, topic, project, or paper based on some aspect of Italian culture, art, history, or literature. Talk to your academic advisor or department chair about this option.
The Honors Program in Italian offers motivated majors the opportunity to take an active role in their own learning and to pursue their interests while developing close mentor relationships with faculty. Honors courses and independent study help you develop key skills for lifelong learning, including the critical thinking, writing, and research capabilities that are useful in graduate study or future careers.
Honors students beginning their language study may choose Italian FRIT-M 115: Accelerated Elementary Italian, and then continue with FRIT-M 215: Accelerated Second-Year Italian. Students planning to earn an honors degree in Italian are expected to enroll in FRIT-M 499: Reading for Honors, and to prepare an honors thesis during their senior year.
Foreign travel is strongly encouraged for honors students, and credit may be earned for intensive study or research projects done abroad. Interested students should talk with the academic advisor and also contact the Office of Overseas Study.
Undergraduate scholarships and awards
The Department of French and Italian offers the Carol Ann Brush Hofstadter Memorial Scholarship for study in Bologna and other awards such as:
- Eneria Ruggeri Memorial Award
- Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society
- Lander MacClintock Memorial Award
- Mario and Katrina Vangeli Undergraduate Award
- Mary V. Lèbano Memorial Award
- Palmer-Brandon Prize
For additional scholarship options, see:
- Anderson Overseas Study Scholarship
- Indiana University Office of Scholarships
- College of Arts and Sciences Scholarships
- National Italian American Foundation
- Office of Overseas Study Scholarships
- Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
- Sally Kissinger Wilt Merit Scholarship
- Selective Scholarships
- Service-Learning Student Travel Scholarship
Talk with your academic advisor about how to apply for scholarships.
Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.
Indiana is part of the SITE Lombardia consortium that places graduating seniors and MA students in 3-9 month paid internship positions for teaching English to Italian high school students in the Lombardy region.
Many students find local internships, including at the following organizations:
- Mathers Museum of World Culture
- Indiana University Archives
- Indiana University Press
- Eli Lilly and Company
- Indiana General Assembly
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.
Foreign language study
As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 80 languages.
Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington.
- Arabic Flagship Program
- Center for Language Technology
- Chinese Flagship Program
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
- IU Language Workshop
- Language Tables
- Project GO
- Russian Flagship Program
Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in our increasingly interconnected world. Italian students often pursue language study and other coursework through the following exchange programs:
The College of Arts and Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU facutly, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with faculty, your academic advisor, and through the Office of Overseas Study.
The Department of French and Italian has some of the most active students on campus. The Circolo Italiano student group meets regularly and is open to all who want to improve their language skills and celebrate Italian culture in a friendly club environment.
Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.
There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:
- Bloomington Worldwide Friendship
- Bridges: Children, Languages, World
- IU Corps
- Lotus Education and Arts Foundation
- The Monroe County Public Library
- Student Involvement and Leadership Center
- Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center
Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.
A number of professional organizations are relevant to students of Italian, including:
- American Association of Teachers of Italian
- American Association of Italian Studies
- Medieval Academy of America
- Modern Language Association
- National Italian American Foundation
- Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
- Renaissance Society of America
- Build your skills
Through the major
The major in Italian provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:
- Speaking: the ability to converse and present in Italian on a wide range of familiar and course-relevant subjects in the three main time frames (present, past, future) and with appropriate formal or informal style. This includes the ability to properly express, compare and support ideas.
- Listening: the ability to understand and interpret a variety of aural texts in Italian. This includes identifying main ideas and relevant details.
- Reading: the ability to read and interpret Italian-language tests of varying length, genre, and period. This includes understanding main ideas and arguments, identifying and analyzing styles and aesthetic properties.
- Writing: the ability to write in Italian on a wide range of familiar and course-relevant topics with precision and appropriateness of grammar and vocabulary, and to develop coherent arguments and supporting ideas with evidence.
- Cultural Competence: the ability to describe and analyze phenomena from Italian culture and compare these to your native culture, demonstrating a basic knowledge of history and geography, and a more advanced knowledge of language, literature, film and other media.
- Information Literacy: the ability to find, consult, and use relevant research tools and resources for the further study of Italian.
Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree
Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:
- Question critically
- Think logically
- Communicate clearly
- Act creatively
- Live ethically
These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.
Skills desired by employers
Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.
The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical and quantitative skills
- Ability to take Initiative
- Being detail oriented
- Demonstrating adaptability
- Technical skills relevant to the field
- Interpersonal skills
- Computer skills
- Organizational ability
As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.
Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after your college career.
- Launch your career
Plan your search
The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.
Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.
Maximize your career preparation with a career course. Italian majors should consider enrolling in ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. The section dedicated to Arts and Humanities provides the opportunity for you to explore the relationship between your field of study and life after graduation, while developing an academic and career development plan for post-collegiate success. If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, you may wish to enroll instead in the section dedicated to graduate school preparation. Regardless of the section you select, you will leave the class with your resume, a cover letter or personal statement, and a LinkedIn profile ready to go!
The job market
The employment outlook is positive for students with a degree in Italian, offering a wide variety of opportunities depending on your broader interests. Italian is spoken not only in Italy, but all over the world. Italy is one of the largest economies in the world, and it significantly influences the politics of Europe.
Students pursuing a major in Italian have a deep understanding of not only the language, but also the history, religion, art, literature, politics, and economics of specific features of Italian culture. Students develop a global perspective that allows them to be both competitive and thorough in reading, writing, and listening with strong logical and organizational thinking skills. The skills developed through this major help students adjust to a variety of environments that strengthen their ability to connect and communicate with international clients.
Italian majors take their education in many directions, whether moving directly into a career or going on to graduate or professional studies.
Initial and long-term destinations include positions in many sectors: business, industry, commerce, computer programming and web design, education, public relations, journalism, telecommunications, arts administration, publishing, library science, linguistics, interpretation and translation, politics, public policy, and environmental affairs.
Graduates may work for federal or state governments, non-governmental organizations, the cooperative or nonprofit sectors, and for multinational corporations. They can become policy analysts, administrators or managers, non-profit executives, language teachers, artists, independent consultants, fundraising officers, musicians, librarians, or writers.
Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!
Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.
Post-graduate short-term experiences
The beginning of your post-graduate career might be an ideal time to explore an international internship or other short-term experience through organizations such as these:
- Cultural Vistas
- Global Experiences
- Go Abroad
- IES Abroad
- Peace Corps
- Teach for America
Find international English teaching jobs through organizations such as:
Using these and other resources, your career coach can help you craft a unique post-graduate short-term experience, whether in the United States or abroad.
Fellowships for post-graduate study
Fellowships are temporary opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund your education. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.
Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:
- Boren Awards for International Study
- Cultural Vistas Professional Fellowships
- USAID Payne International Development Fellowship
- Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships
Graduate and professional study
When applying to graduate or professional schools, you’ll need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.
An Italian major will also prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as area studies, foreign languages and literature, library science, law, history, politics, religious studies, international studies, or business.
With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other professional programs.
Students who pursue graduate studies in Italian have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, non-governmental organizations, media, private entrepreneurship, and law.
Here are examples of graduate programs offered at IU:
- Hamiliton Lugar School of Global and International Studies
- Comparative Literature
- History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine
- Master of Business Administration
- Media School Graduate Programs
- O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
- Second Language Studies
- School of Medicine
- Theater and Drama
The College of Arts and Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.
Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts and Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.
Is it for you?
Italian attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:
- Desire to learn a second language for personal or professional reasons
- Open to experiencing and understanding cultural differences
- Interest in the arts, design, history, literature, or music
- Wish to learn more about Italy and the contributions of Italians and Italian culture to the global community
Contact the French and Italian academic advisor and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.
- Department website
- Advisor email address