Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the 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.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

Transnational Italian Studies Department

Students may complete a major or minor in Transnational Italian Studies. In voting unanimously to embrace this new name in 2021, we are joining other programs in the humanities across the world who are seizing the current moment to make curricular changes for the explicit decolonization of our field(s). By de-centering peninsular Italian culture, questioning concepts of “standard Italian” and “Italian civilization”, and evading ethnocentric, national, and nationalistic rhetoric, we wish to manifest our commitment to an anti-racist, transcultural, and post-colonial approach to Italian Studies.

The aim of our major/minor is to explore the social, linguistic, literary, artistic, ethnic, and political communities that have identified themselves as Italian throughout history. In order to do so across disciplinary boundaries, the Department actively cooperates with numerous institutions, primarily by offering cross-listed and co-taught courses in the Bi-Co.

In particular, we participate in the Romance Languages major with the Departments of French and Francophone Studies and Spanish, as well as with the many departments and programs that inform the Bi-Co major in Comparative Literature. Many of our courses, taught in English and in Italian, count towards History of Art, Growth and Structure of Cities, Russian, Classics, International Studies, Health Studies, Africana Studies, Film Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

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

The Department of Transnational Italian Studies offers a Major in Letters in Italian (track A) and a Major in Intercultural Italian Studies (track B).

Both majors consist of ten courses starting at the ITAL 101/102 level.

For both majors we recommend a senior thesis offered with ITAL 398 and ITAL 399 (required for honors).  See below.

Both majors are required to complete one Writing Intensive (WI) course in the major.  The goal of the WI course will be re-thinking the argument, logical connection, focus, transition, evidence, quotes, organization, and sources. In responding to the feedback, students will experience writing as a process of discovery (re-visioning) and meaning.  

Letters in Italian/ Track A

Major requirements in Letters in Italian are 10 courses. Track A may be appropriate for students with an interest in literary and language studies. Required: ITAL 101/102, plus five courses (or more) conducted in Italian based in our department (ITAL) and three courses in English within the department (ITAL) or two in English within the department (ITAL) and one among the list of electives (courses must be approved in advance by the chair of our department) . Of the courses taken in Italian, students are expected to enroll in at least three 300-level capstone seminars covering both Early-Modernity (ITAL 301, ITAL 304, ITAL 303) and Modern Studies (ITAL 380, ITAL 320, ITAL 313, ITAL 325).

Intercultural Italian Studies/Track B

Major requirements in Intercultural Italian Studies are 10 courses. Track B may be appropriate for students with an interest in arts, culture, and translation. The concentration consists of both interdisciplinary and single-discipline courses. Required: ITAL 101/102, plus three 300 level courses conducted in Italian (based in our department, ITAL 320, ITAL 303, ITAL 304, ITAL 303, ITAL 380, ITAL 325) and four related courses in English within our department at the 200 or 300 level.

Major with Honors

The honors component requires the completion of a year-long thesis advised by a faculty member in the department (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 and at the end of senior year will decide if honors will be given.


Students will write a 30 page thesis that aims to engage with primary texts and relevant secondary literature. By the end of the fall semester, students must have completed a formal proposal and a Table of Content in draft. Proposals for the thesis should describe the questions being asked in the research, and how answers to them will contribute to scholarship. Students must include a discussion of the primary sources on which the research will rest, as well as a preliminary bibliography of relevant secondary studies. It is expected that before submitting their proposals students will have conferred with a faculty member who has agreed to serve as advisor. In December students will formally present the proposal to the department. In April students will give an oral presentation of their work of approximately one hour to faculty members and interested students. The final draft is due on April 28th of the senior year, and will be graded by faculty members. Faculty will retain the option to assign final honors to the research project.

Pre-approved Study Abroad Programs in Italy 

Studying abroad is both an enriching intellectual experience and an opportunity for personal growth: immersion in a foreign culture offers an unmatched means to improve your language skills, and daily life within a foreign community provides cultural breadth essential for the increasingly connected global community. Students, specialists as well as non-specialists, are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester or a summer studying outside the United States.

Students who are studying abroad for the major for one year can earn two credits in Italian and one credit in allied fields (total of three credits) , but to receive more than one credit the student must take one course in our department at Bryn Mawr College immediately upon return. Those who are studying abroad for one semester can earn no more than a total of two credits in Italian, but to receive more than one credit the student must take one course in our department at Bryn Mawr College immediately upon return.

Pre-approved Semester Programs Abroad NOT in Italy 

We will grant a maximum of one credit for a course taken abroad, upon completion of a one credit course in the Italian section (ITAL) at Bryn Mawr College, taken immediately upon return. This credit will not count towards major or minor requirements.

Pre-approved 6-Week Summer Programs in Italy 

We will grant all students a maximum of one credit for a course taken abroad, upon completion of a one credit course in Italian (ITAL), taken at Bryn Mawr College immediately upon return. Only course minors may count this credit toward completion of the course requirements.

University of Pennsylvania

Students majoring at BMC cannot earn more than two credits at the University of Pennsylvania in Italian. Students who receive two credits from abroad cannot receive further credits from the University of Pennsylvania.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor are ITAL 101/102 and four additional units including one 200 level courses (preferably in Italian) and three 300 level courses (one of which in Italian). With departmental approval, students who begin their work in Italian at the 200 level will be exempted from ITAL 101 and 102 and will fulfill the requirement with courses at the 200 and 300 level. For courses in translation, the same conditions for majors apply.

*Elective Courses

  • ARCH B217 Captive Greece, Captor Rome?
  • ARCH B303 Classical Bodies   
  • ARTW B240/COML B240 Literary Translation
  • CITY B207 Topics in Urban Studies
  • CITY B360 Digital Rome
  • COML B200 Introduction to Comparative Literature
  • CSTS B207 Early Rome and the Roman Republic
  • ENGL H220 Epic – at Haverford College
  • CSTS B208 The Roman Empire
  • ENGL H385 Topics in Apocalyptic Writing – at Haverford College
  • HART B253: Survey of Western Architecture: 1400-1800
  • HART B323: Topics in Renaissance Art
  • HART/RUSSIAN B215 Russian Avant-Garde Art, Literature and Film
  • HIST B238 From Bordellos to Cybersex History of Sexuality in Modern Europe
  • HIST B319 Topics in Modern European History
  • LATN B112 Latin Literature
  • LATN B337 Vergil's Aeneid
  • MUS H207 Italian Keyboard Tradition
  • RUSS B218 The Coming-Of-Age Novel in 19th-century Europe

*For elective courses: faculty in other programs must be willing to arrange work within courses that may count for this major. Courses must be approved in advance by the Chair of our department.



Contact Us

Transnational Italian Studies Department

Old Library 103
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5198
Fax: 610-526-7479

Roberta Ricci, Chair
Phone: 610-526-5048

Leslie Diarra, Academic Administrative Assistant
Phone: (610) 526-5198