Why Study Italian
The Major and Minor in Italian Studies will introduce you to over two thousand years of intellectual, cultural, and artistic history. A crossroads between East and West, North and South, Italy is the 8th largest economy in the world, and hosts more World Heritage Sites, as designated by the United Nations, than any other country in the world. Contemporary Italy is a vibrant meeting place between past and future, local and global.
There are no prerequisites to start learning Italian language. Most students start without any previous knowledge of Italian and proceed to more advanced courses. Students typically follow six quarters of language classes (or three quarters of Intensive Italian) that allow them to access content courses taught in Italian, and study abroad opportunities. Language classes at Northwestern are dynamic and highly interactive, and focus on linguistic production, both oral and written, using authentic content from contemporary Italy. In language classes, students acquire intercultural literacy that prepares them for their professional careers, and develop critical thinking skills that can be further cultivated in more advanced courses.
In advanced content courses (both in Italian and English), students explore Italian history, culture, and society from the Middle Ages to the present day. Recent offerings include courses in medieval and modern Italian literature, Italian cinema in a global perspective, critical theory, art history, and fashion studies. Courses in related fields may contribute toward requirements for the major.
Knowing Italian is a unique asset in today's job market. Since the United States have historically held strong ties with the Italian economic, political, and social reality, students who study Italian in college are particularly apt for a variety of professions. Our recent graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in fields as diverse as journalism, medicine, business, K-12 education, entertainment, and research in literature and the arts.