Cornell has a rich tradition of offerings in Italian language, literature and culture. Our faculty includes internationally-recognized, dynamic scholars and highly dedicated teachers with particular strengths in medieval studies, women writers and thinkers, Italian politics and philosophy, the Fascist period, Architecture and Art, and Cinema.

Major Requirements

Students who wish to major in Italian are advised to fill out the registration forms and make an appointment to review it with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Cary Howie. He will take into account the student’s interest, preparation, and career goals and will assign the student to an adviser. In conjunction with the major adviser, the student will craft an individualized plan of studies that will meet the minimum requirements for the major in Italian as listed below. Inquiries of a general nature can first be directed to the Undergraduate Assistant, Cal Hile.

Italian Major Registration Form

Eight Classes Required:

  1. Students must take Ital 2190 (or equivalent course).
  2. Students must take Ital 2900, Perspectives in Italian Culture (or equivalent course), offered in English in Spring; OR Ital 2950, Cinematic Eye of Italy (or equivalent course). Students who elect to take both of these classes may count them both toward the total of eight classes required for the major. Note that Ital 2900 has no prerequisites and may be taken at any time.
  3. Students must take Ital 2970, Introduction to Italian Literature (or equivalent course), offered in Italian in the Fall.
  4. Students must take at least five other classes at the 2000 Level or above from an approved list of courses  offered in Romance Studies or other departments such as History, Architecture, History of Art, Government, Sociology, and so on. We strongly urge majors to take as many of these electives as possible in Italian.
    • At least 1 of these 5 courses must focus on a period prior to the 1800s.
    • No more than 3 of these 5 courses may be taken in English.
    • No more than 3 of the total of 8 courses toward the major may be taken abroad.

Course Descriptions

Please refer to the Italian section within the Romance Studies course offerings for detailed descriptions about the courses we offer.  Note that bracketed courses are not being taught this academic year.

See our departmental  fall course roster or spring course roster for courses offered in Italian language and literature during the current academic year.

Minor Requirements

At Cornell, a minor (formerly called a concentration) is meant to supplement one’s central disciplinary focus and as such is indicated on the student’s final transcript.

No matter what a student’s major is, the minor in Italian Studies provides students with a coherent interdisciplinary program that allows for better understanding of Italian culture. It is also possible for students to practice and improve their Italian language skills.

Italian Minor Registration Form

Five Classes Required:

  1. Students must take Ital 2190 (or equivalent course).
  2. Students must take Ital 2900, Perspectives in Italian Culture (or equivalent course), offered in English in the Spring; OR Ital 2950, Cinematic Eye of Italy (or equivalent course). Students who elect to take both of these classes may count them both toward the total of five classes required for the minor. Note that Ital 2900 has no prerequisites and may be taken at any time.
  3. Students must take at least three other classes in Italian Studies. Of these, at least one, but ideally more than one, must be offered in Italian (literature/culture). The three electives may be chosen from an approved list of courses  offered in Romance Studies or other departments such as History, Architecture, History of Art, Government, Sociology, and so on. We strongly urge students to consider Ital 2970, Introduction to Italian Literature, as one of the electives.
    • No more than two of the five classes toward the minor may be taken abroad.
    • Students may declare the minor at any time.

Registration Form

Students wishing to enroll in the minor must fill out the minor registration form and contact the Director for Undergraduate Studies, Professor Cary Howie, who will assign a faculty adviser to students.

Study Abroad

Italian Studies strongly encourages students to consider studying abroad in Italy. There students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Italian and gain a singular perspective on the Italian cultural context.

Students are urged to consider the Bologna Cooperative Studies Program (BCSP) of which Cornell is an associate member. BCSP offers qualified undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a full academic year or a second semester at the University of Bologna for credit. During each semester of the academic year, which begins in October and extends through June, BCSP students enroll in one or two regular University of Bologna courses with Italian students. Students may also take special courses in Italian literature, language, art history, film studies, civilization, and contemporary politics.

Further information

Additional Opportunities

Cornell Italian-American Organization (CIAO)

CAIO promotes the appreciation of Italian culture across the Cornell campus by sponsoring activities related to Italian music, language, history, literature, film, and food. Participating in CIAO-related activities gives students, particularly Italian-Americans, a chance to learn more about Italy, its culture, and their heritage. For further information, please contact K. E. Bättig von Wittelsbach.