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Department of Italian and Italian Studies
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899

Phone: (610) 526-5198
FAX: (610) 526-7479

Program Requirements and Opportunities

The information listed below is a direct excerpt from the 2016-17 Course Catalog.

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare her major before the end of her sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

2016-17 Catalog
2015-16 Catalog
2014-15 Catalog
2013-14 Catalog

Students may complete a major or minor in Italian Studies.

Based on an interdisciplinary approach that views culture as a global phenomenon, the aims of the major in Italian Studies are to acquire a knowledge of Italian language, literature, and culture, including cinema, art, journalism, pop culture, and music. The Department of Italian Studies also cooperates with the Departments of French and Spanish in the Romance Languages major and with the other foreign languages in the TriCo for a major in Comparative Literature. The Italian Department cooperates also with the Center for International Studies (CIS).

College Foreign Language Requirement

Before the start of the senior year, each student must complete, with a grade of 2.0 or higher, two units of foreign language. Students may fulfill the requirement by completing two sequential semester-long courses in one language, either at the elementary level or, depending on the result of their language placement test, at the intermediate level. A student who is prepared for advanced work may complete the requirement instead with two advanced free-standing semester-long courses in the foreign language(s) in which she is proficient. Non-native speakers of English may choose to satisfy all or part of this requirement by coursework in English literature.

Major Requirements

Italian Language/Literature (ILL) and Italian Cultural Studies (ICS) Major

The Italian Language/Literature major and the Italian Cultural Studies major consists of ten courses starting at the ITAL 101/102 level, or an equivalent two-semester sequence taken elsewhere. The department offers a two-track system as guidelines for completing the major in Italian or in Italian Studies. Both tracks require ten courses, including ITAL 101 -102. For students in either Track A or B we recommend a senior experience offered with ITAL 398 and ITAL 399, courses that are required for honors. Students may complete either track. Recommendations are included below --models of different pathways through the major:

Majors are required to complete one Writing Intensive (WI) course in the major. The WI courses will prepare students towards their senior project and to competent and appropriate writing, manly in three ways: 1) Teach the writing process - planning, drafting, revising, and editing; 2) Emphasize the role of writing by allocating a substantial portion of the final grade to writing assignments; 3) Offer students the opportunity to receive feedback from professors and peers (through class peer review sessions). In responding to the feedback, students will experience writing as a process of discovery (re-visioning) and meaning. The goal of the new WI course will be to get students to re-think the argument, logical connection, focus, transition, evidence, quotes, organization, and sources.

ILL Major/ Track A

Major requirements in ILL are 10 courses. Track A may be appropriate for students with an interest in literary and language studies. Required: ITAL 101/102, plus six courses (or more) conducted in Italian and two selected from among a list of approved ICS courses in English that may be taken in either within the department or in various other disciplines offered at the College (i.e. History, History of Art, English, Visual Art and Film Studies, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Cities, Archaeology, Classics). Adjustments will be made for students taking courses abroad. Of the courses taken in Italian, students are expected to enroll in the following areas: Dante (ITAL 301), Renaissance (ITAL 304 or 302), Survey (ITAL 307), and two courses on Modern Italian literature (ITAL 380, ITAL 310, ITAL 320)

ICS/Track B

Major requirements in ICS are 10 courses. Track B may be appropriate for students with an interest in cultural and interdisciplinary studies. The concentration is open to all majors and consists of both interdisciplinary and single-discipline courses drawn from various academic departments at the college. Required: ITAL 101/102, plus three courses conducted in Italian and five related courses in English that may be taken either within the department or in an allied-related fields in various disciplines throughout the college, or courses taken on BMC approved study-abroad programs, such as: Culture, History, History of Art, English, Visual Art and Film Studies, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Cities, Archaeology, Classics. *Faculty in other programs may be willing to arrange work within courses that may count for the major.

Major with Honors

Students may apply to complete the major with honors. The honors component requires the completion of a year-long thesis advised by a faculty member in the department. Students enroll in the senior year in ITAL 398 and ITAL 399. Application to it requires a GPA in the major of 3.7 or higher, as well as a written statement, to be submitted by the fall of senior year, outlining the proposed project (see further below) and indicating the faculty member who has agreed to serve as advisor. The full departmental faculty vets the proposals.


Students will write and research a 40-50 page thesis that aims to be an original contribution to Italian scholarship. As such, it must use primary evidence and also engage with the relevant secondary literature. By the end of the fall semester, students must have completed twenty pages in draft. In April they will give an oral presentation of their work of approximately one hour to faculty and interested students. The final draft is due on or around 30 April of the senior year and will be graded by two faculty members (one of whom is the advisor). The grade assigned is the major component of the spring semester grade. Proposals for the thesis should describe the questions being asked in the research, and how answers to them will contribute to scholarship. They must include a discussion of the primary sources on which the research will rest, as well as a preliminary bibliography of relevant secondary studies. They also must include a rough timetable indicating in what stages the work will be completed. It is expected that before submitting their proposals students will have conferred with a faculty member who has agreed to serve as advisor.

Study Abroad

Students who are studying abroad for the Italian major for one year can earn two credits in Italian Literature and two credits in allied fields (total of four credits). Those who are studying abroad for one semester can earn no more than a total of two credits in Italian Literature or one credit in Italian Literature and one credit in an allied field (total of two credits).

University of Pennsylvania

Students majoring at BMC cannot earn more than two credits at the University of Pennsylvania in Italian.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor in Italian Studies are ITAL 101, 102 and four additional units including two at the 200 level one of which in literature and two at the 300 level one of which in literature. With departmental approval, students who begin their work in Italian at the 200 level will be exempted from ITAL 101 and 102. For courses in translation, the same conditions for majors apply.

Elective Courses

ARTW B240/COML B240 Literary Translation

CITY B207 Topics in Urban Studies

CITY B360 Digital Rome

COML B225 Censorship: Historical Contexts, Local Practices and Global Resonance

COML B213 Theory in Practice: Critical Discourses in the Humanities

CSTS B207 Early Rome and the Roman Republic

CSTS B208 The Roman Empire

CSTS B220 Writing the Self

CSTS B223 The Early Medieval World

CSTS B310 Forming the Classics

ENGL H385 Topics in Apocalyptic Writing - at Haverford College

ENGL H220 Epic - at Haverford College

HART B104-001 Critical Approaches to Visual Representation: The Classical Tradition

HART B253: Survey of Western Architecture: 1400-1800

HART B323: Topics in Renaissance Art

HART B630:Topics in Renaissance and Baroque Art: Mannerism

HART/RUSSIAN B215 Russian Avant-Garde Art, Literature and Film

HIST B208 The Roman Empire

HIST B212, Pirates, Travelers and Natural Historians

HIST B238 From Bordellos to Cybersex History of Sexuality in Modern Europe

HIST B319 Topics in Modern European History

MUSC H207 Italian Keyboard Tradition

LATN 200 Medieval Latin Literature

SPAN 202 Introduction to Literary Analysis