Major/Minor Requirements

Italian Studies Major

Goals for the Italian Studies Major

Students who major or minor in Italian Studies:

· Will speak and understand Italian at the advanced level, as detailed in the ACTFEL proficiency guidelines.

· Will develop advanced knowledge of the major authors and works from a variety of genres - poetry, prose, theatre, cinema - that form, but also contest, Italy’s literary tradition and cultural heritage.

· Will be aware of the crucial moments and events of Italian history, starting in the Middle Ages and going on to the present.

· Will acquire the critical thinking skills and the methodological and theoretical grounding that will serve them well should they opt to pursue their interest in Italian Studies at the graduate school level, such as how to conduct archival and bibliographical research, how to quote sources, and how to write scholarly essays.

Students who study only the language will speak and understand Italian at the intermediate level, as detailed in the ACTFEL proficiency guidelines.

In particular, students will acquire analytical and critical skills in speaking and writing as a result of being exposed to Italian films, literature, history, social and legal issues. They will complete the language requirement with a solid knowledge of grammar and critical understanding of Italian culture.


Requirements for the Italian Studies Major

The major in Italian Culture offers students the opportunity to acquire fluency in the language and to deepen their knowledge in Italy through the study of its literature, art, history, music, and thought. The program for each student will be planned individually with the director. At least 4 units in Italian above the 100-level, one of which must be at Grade III level, must be included in the program; in addition, the major in Italian Studies offers students the opportunity to acquire fluency in the language and knowledge of the culture of Italy in a historical perspective. Students are strongly urged to begin Italian in their first year. Italian 101-102 count toward the degree, but not the major.

Students majoring in Italian are required to take nine (9) units above the 100 level. One of such courses may be taken at Wellesley College but outside the Department, on a related topic to be decided by the student and her major advisor. In addition, two of the nine courses must be at the Grade III level and must be taken in the Department. The requirement to take two courses at the Grade III level may not be met by taking ITAL 350 (Research or Individual Study), ITAL 360 (Senior Thesis Research) or ITAL 370 (Senior Thesis). Students are encouraged to consult with the chair about the sequence of courses they will take. Courses given in translation count toward the major. Qualified students are encouraged to spend their junior year abroad in Italy on the Eastern Consortium program in Bologna (of which the Italian department is a participant) or on another approved program.


Minor in Italian Culture

The Italian Studies minor requires five (5) units above the 100 level. Courses offered in translation count towards the minor.



The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100-level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. See Academic Distinctions.


Advanced Placement Policies and Language Requirement

A student entering Wellesley in fall semester must have an Advanced Placement score of 4 or 5 to satisfy the foreign language requirement.