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Overview The University of Virginia is recognized as a leading national center for the study of languages and literature. Thomas Jefferson, in his original plan for the University, established a School of Modern Languages for the study of the language, literature, and culture of each five areas: Anglo-Saxon, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. It should come as no surprise that Italian has been taught at the University without interruption since its founding. Students studying in Italian can choose to concentrate on language and linguistics or literature and culture, or some combination of the two. Through systematic analysis, students learn the way language works as well as a means of promoting the successful exchange between people, businesses, and governments.
Faculty The faculty of the Italian department has a wide range of interests as well as a desire to work closely with students. Since the number of students actually majoring in Italian is relatively small, advanced classes are small, and there is a close-knit environment in which to learn.
The current faculty includes an internationally renowned Dante scholar, who has also made significant contributions to the study of Tasso, Galileo, Verga, Pavese, and 20th-century poetry; the author of a recent book on Dante commentaries in the Renaissance, whose other specialities include Boccaccio, Svevo, Eco, literary criticism, and pedagogym; a scholar whose interests focus on 15th- and 16th-century literature, Ariosto, theatre, opera, and the history of the language; and a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century literature who has recently been studying the historical novel.
Students Enrollment in Italian classes has increased threefold during the past five years to reach the current number of 300 per academic term. Many of the students who major in Italian are double majors; combinations include Italian and classics, Italian and Spanish, Italian and English, and Italian and government/foreign affairs.
Students who concentrate on Italian studies have essentially three paths leading to vocational or professional choices: teaching in secondary schools; applying for a great variety of vocational positions; or continuing studies in professional schools or in a graduate program.
Numerous Italian graduates will find employment in school systems. The teaching of Italian in high schools has vastly increased over the past decade. The trend is likely to continue, considering the recent sharp upward turn in college enrollments in Italian. College employment prospects for the specialist in Italian language and literature are excellent. Yearly placement statistics consistently show a "full-employment" situation for Italian Ph.D.s. A majority of Italian majors, however, will find employment outside the field of education. Prospective employers include the federal government, international businesses, multinational corporations, press agencies, and the World Bank.
Tavola Italiana Tavola Italiana is a weekly informal get-together of students and faculty for conversation and conviviality.
Circolo Italiano This student-run club has organized film showings, field trips to museum exhibitions in Washington, and volunteer tutoring.
Study Abroad While the department does not sponsor a program of study in Italy, many students spend at least part of their junior year abroad. The faculty aid in the choice of a program and arrange for the transfer of credit.
Requirements for Minor in Italian 18 credits, exclusive of ITAL 101-202, and including: either ITTR 215 or 216; one ITTR course from the range 226-262; ITAL 301 and 302; either ITAL 311 or 312; and one 300- or 400-level course. Substitutions: by agreement with the Italian undergraduate advisor.
Requirements for Major in Italian Prerequisite for enrolling in the Program: ITAL 202 or equivalent. Course requirements for the B.A. degree in Italian language and literature: 27 credits (beyond ITAL 202), including: ITTR 215 or 216; ITAL 301, 302, 311 and 312; two ITAL 300-level and two ITAL 400-level courses. Substitutions by agreement with the Italian undergraduate advisor.
The Distinguished Major in Italian Prerequisites and curricular requirements are the same as for the major. In addition, students must have, at graduation, a GPA of 3.5 in all major courses, and must take 3 credits (thus reaching a total of 30) in connection with the senior thesis, to be written in Italian, of a length and nature accepted by the sponsor (selected by the student), and evaluated by a committee of three faculty, including one not a member of the Italian staff.
Distinctions The Italian program recognizes outstanding students of Italian through its chapter of Gamma Kappa Alpha, the National Italian Honor Society. Each spring (in April), the program awards the Lola Pelliccia Prize for the best undergraduate paper written in Italian during the academic year; in each term it awards its Dante Prize for the best essay written in English on Dante's Divine Comedy.
Additional Information For more information, contact Ms. Della Coletta, Assistant Professor of Italian, 115 Wilson Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 924-7159.
Continue to: Italian Course Descriptions
Return to: Chapter 6 Index