The goal of the Italian major is to develop educated speakers and readers of Italian with significant cultural competence in Italy’s present and past. 

Why an Italian major?
Italy is one of the top ten economies, but more importantly, its cultural importance spans from antiquity through the present, from the Roman empire to the Renaissance to the worlds of fashion, design, and culinary arts. The natural and artistic beauty of Italy are alone sufficient to fill a lifetime of exploration. In any context, having studied Italian language, literature, and culture gives you a solid vantage point on the history of Western culture, the origins of the modern world, and the position of Europe in a global context.

What are the employment options for an Italian major?
Knowing Italian is greatly beneficial in several career fields.  An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices there, such as Adobe Systems, American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Apple Computer, AT&T, Avon Cosmetics, Bank of America, Bausch & Lomb, Berlitz Language Centers, Bristol-Myers, Estée Lauder, Federal Express, Foot Locker, General Motors, Honeywell, Proctor & Gamble, Qualcomm, Sears, Sheraton Firenze Hotel & Conference Center, Sunrise Medical, Tiffany & Co, Twentieth Century Fox, and Xerox. There are also numerous Italian companies with operations within the U.S., many right here in the Metro Detroit area. 

Learning Italian is not just about being able to communicate in a foreign language; it is about being conversant with the story of civilization.  And that is always something that will make you stand out. Graduates with a degree in Italian have gone on to work in any number of fields such as art and design, business and finance, education, telecommunication, travel and tourism, and government.

When trying to choose a career path for their degree, students are encouraged to take advantage of the academic and career co-advising appointments that are available throughout the year. Students unable to take advantage of co-advising are encouraged to contact the University of Michigan Career Center,

For a list of possible career options for students, click here for the Career Guide.


La Nostra Voce Newsletter

For UM students of Italian written and produced by students of Italian

La Nostra Voce Vol. IX

(Current Issue, April 2015)


La Nostra Voce Vol. VIII

La Nostra Voce Vol. VII

La Nostra Voce Vol. VI

La Nostra Voce Vol. V

La Nostra Voce Vol. IV

Editorial Staff

Alisa Aliaj (Interdisciplinary Chemistry, Italian/Russian)

Soraya Binetti (International Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures)

Interested in writing for La Nostra? Contact Amaryllis Rodriguez,

Why Study Italian?

  • Italy is one of the top five economies in the world, and many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Many Italian firms have offices in the U.S., especially in the Detroit metropolitan area.
  • Knowing Italian is greatly beneficial in several career fields. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment.
  • Italy's cultural importance spans from antiquity through the present, of which the Roman period and the Renaissance are perhaps the two most influential moments.
  • According to UNESCO, over 60% of the world's art treasures are found in Italy. Some of the most famous Western artists, from Giotto to Michelangelo, were Italian. Knowledge of Italian is vital to understand the contexts of this art.
  • Italian literature boasts some of the world's most famous writers and thinkers, from Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch and Machiavelli, to Verga, Svevo, Pirandello, and Gramsci, to name a few.
  • Since Roman times, Italy has exported its literature and culture to other parts of Europe and beyond, in the areas of Latin literature, Romanitas, humanism, opera, film, science, political thought, fashion, design, and cuisine. Knowing Italian allows you to understand, appreciate, and analyze this treasury of human expression.
  • Italy has the cultures, landscapes, and histories to fill a lifetime of investigation. Knowing Italian places you in a position to explore Italy's past and present from the most fulfilling vantage point.

Major Requirements

Major Prerequisite

  • Italian 230, 232 or 233; or the equivalent.  

Major Requirements

  • A minimum of 30 credits in Italian courses numbered 235 and above.
  • 18 credits must be conducted in Italian.
  • At least one course must be at the 200-level beyond 233.
  • At least one course must be at the 300 level.
  • At least two courses must be at the 400 level. 
  • Of these, at least two courses (six credits) must come from courses focused on Italian literature and/or periods prior to 1900.
  • Three credits may be accepted from courses in a cognate field, selected in consultation with and approved by the major advisor.

Residence Requirement

A minimum of 15 credits of the required 30 credits must be taken at U-M or a study-abroad program affiliated with U-M.

Students wishing to pursue an academic major must develop a specific plan for its completion in consultation with an Italian advisor. Appointments may be scheduled at 4108 Modern Languages Building, (734) 764-5344.

Italian Major Worksheet (PDF)

Minor Requirements


The objectives of the academic minor in Italian are to develop some facility in the use of Italian, to recognize major monuments of Italian literature, and to gain insight into the history and present of Italian culture.

This academic minor offers students an opportunity to complement the knowledge gained in their principal field while focusing on linguistic competence and a grounding in one of the world's most historically influential, currently vibrant literatures and cultures.


  • Italian 230, 232, or 233; or the equivalent


  • Minimum of 18 credits of courses in ITALIAN numbered ITALIAN 235 or higher
  • 12 credits (four courses) must be conducted in the Italian language
  • At least one 200-level course, 235 or above
  • At least one 300-level course
  • At least one 400 level course

Residence Requirement

A minimum of 9 of the 18 required credits must be taken at U-M or a study-abroad program affiliated with U-M.

Students wishing to pursue an academic minor must develop a specific plan for its completion in consultation with an Italian advisor. Appointments may be scheduled at 4108 Modern Languages Building, (734) 764-5344.

Italian Minor Worksheet (PDF)

Course Information

Course Offerings

For a complete, at-a-glance list of all Italian courses offered in any given semester, see the LSA Bulletin. For information on currently offered Italian courses, visit the LSA Course Guide.

Independent Studies


RLL course information and highlighted courses


Italian Culture (without language prerequisite)
You can study Italian culture even before you finish the language track. These courses are taught by are faculty in English, are open without prerequisite, and can count toward the Italian major or minor. 

  • 240     Italian Mafia
  • 250     First-Year Seminar in Italian Studies
  • 310     Italian Cities
  • 311     Making Difference
  • 312     Genius and Geography
  • 313     Italian Families
  • 314     Italy: 1815-Present
  • 315     Cinema & Society
  • 316/SAC 316   Screening Italian-Americans
  • 317     The Renaissance
  • 333     Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • 358/SAC 358 Italian Cinema
  • 359     Italian Culture & History 
  • 467     Screening Italian Fascism

Once you finish the elementary language track, all upper-division courses taught in Italian are open to you.  While 270, 271, and 275 are the lowest level bridge courses, all offerings integrate attention to improvement of comprehension, speaking, and writing skills into the study of literature, history, politics, society, cinema, music and popular culture, and they can be taken in any order. Minors must complete at least one, and majors at least two, 400-level courses on the Ann Arbor campus.

Intermediate-Advanced Classes (after 232 or equivalent)

  • 270     Italian Literature and Culture
  • 271     Language in Action
  • 275     Multimedia Language and Culture, I
  • 300     Advanced Composition and Conversation
  • 305     Introduction to the Study of Literature in Italian
  • 320     Modern Italian Literature
  • 325     Novels and Film
  • 340     Contemporary Italian Culture
  • 374     Advanced Topics
  • 387     Italian Renaissance Literature
  • 420     Modern Italian Poetry
  • 422     Politics and Literature
  • 425     Romanticism
  • 430     20th Century Italian Literature
  • 450     Medieval Italian Literature
  • 467     Screening Italian Fascism
  • 468     Italian New Media
  • 471     Italian Theater
  • 475     Petrarch
  • 481     The Novella
  • 483     Ariosto & Tasso
  • 486     Petrarch

Non-UM Study Abroad and Domestic Transfer Credit

Review and follow this checklist which outlines the approval process for non-UM study abroad and domestic transfer credit. 

Please note:  students are required to have coursework pre-evaluated by an RLL faculty advisor prior to enrolling or going abroad; syllabi and specific course descriptions are needed. A final evaluation of coursework is required upon completion of the course or upon return from abroad. Specific courses and credits must appear on the transcript; syllabi and completed coursework are needed.  

For information regarding earning credit for UM/CGIS study abroad programs, please reference the RLL Study Abroad page. 

Italian Honors Major

Italian Honors Major. For information on honors concentrations in RLL, please visit the RLL Honors page. For specific information on the Italian Honors requirements, please proceed to the Italian Honors page.

Teacher Certification

Students who are interested in learning more about pursuing Teacher Education should contact Dr. Maria Coolican. For further information about teacher certification options in the School of Education, please review the Teacher Certification Options. To review the specific courses that are required for the various teaching majors, please see the Teaching Major and Minor Requirements.