A complex transnational space rich with linguistic and social diversity, Italy has always been at the center of exchanges between different cultures. From Dante's Divine Comedy to Elena Ferrante's novels, from the invention of opera to cinematic Neorealism, from Renaissance art to Futurism, Italian cultural production contributed to unique innovations in the artistic, social, and political spheres. Today, the study of Italian language, literature, and culture is a gateway into both a centuries-long humanistic tradition and contemporary issues of global significance (such as migration, climate change, and relation between politics and media).
At Northwestern University, alongside two years of proficiency-oriented language training, students explore Italian history, culture, and society from the Middle Ages to the present day. The program offers a six-quarter long language sequence taught by trained experts, and a variety of courses (in English and Italian) exploring Italian culture taught by scholars in Italian Studies, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media Studies. Recent offerings include courses in medieval and modern Italian literature, Italian cinema in a global perspective, critical theory, visual studies, and fashion studies. Courses in fields related to Italian studies and offered by different departments may count toward requirements for the major.
The Major and the Minor in Italian Studies are open to all students at Northwestern. They are flexible programs that allow you to begin language study as a First-Year student and integrate your interest in Italian with a second major. Our diversified course offerings in fact allow students to select Italian as a double Major, or Minor, combined with Art History, Biological Sciences, Classics, Communication Studies, Comparative Literary Studies, Economics, Film and Media, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, International Studies, Journalism, Music (Performance and Music Studies), Political Science, and Social Sciences. 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.
The Italian program also puts special emphasis on Study Abroad programs, including the Bologna Consortial Studies Program, BU Padua Language & Liberal Arts Program, and SU Abroad Florence, as well as programs specifically tailored to students of Economics, Music, and Classics.