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World Languages and Cultural Studies

Italian Studies


As an Italian studies major, you’ll develop your language skills while immersing yourself in Italian literature, history and culture.

In addition to becoming fluent in Italian, you’ll also take part in an interdisciplinary program that covers topics ranging from medieval civilization to international financial management.

Meet Your Major

In the Italian Studies program, you will:

  • Hone your ability to understand, speak, and write Italian
  • Be immersed in the language by taking select courses that are taught entirely in Italian
  • Gain a greater understanding of Italian literature, film, and other creative achievements
  • Study the cultural heritage and history of Italy, from classical to modern times
  • Explore topics related to international politics, finances, and business

Hands-On Learning

You can elect to spend a semester in Florence, Italy through CAPA, Merrimack’s study abroad provider that coordinates academics, housing, and excursions, and provides in-country support. Through your travel and coursework, you’ll broaden your worldview—enabling you to pursue a career in business, government, or the non-profit sector. Bonus? If teaching is in your future, you can secure Massachusetts licensure through Merrimack and explore your options as an Italian and Education double major.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of the Italian Studies program, you’ll be well equipped to pursue a career in business, academics, politics, the arts, or a variety of other fields. Positions may include:

  • Cultural Advisor
  • Diplomat
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • International Business Consultant
  • Teacher
  • Translator

What You’ll Take

All Italian Studies majors take a combination of required and elective courses to satisfy the 34-credit and minimum-of-9 course requirement. To graduate with a degree in Italian Studies, you must maintain a grade point average of at least 2.0 in your selected Italian Studies courses.

Required Courses

All Italian Studies majors must take 6 courses (minimum 22 credits) in Italian Language and Culture (ITA), and at least one course must be at the 3000 level or above.

Italian Language

Select two Italian Language courses at the Intermediate level or beyond. Please note that the Introductory Italian sequence (ITA 1110 and ITA 1120) will not be counted as part of the major. Only the following courses may be used to fulfill the language requirement in the major:

ITA 2010 Intermediate Italian I
ITA 2020  Intermediate Italian II 
ITA 3010   Composition & Culture 
ITA 3020  Conversation & Culture 
ITA 3050 Attualità italiana 
Italian Culture

Select four Italian Culture courses from among the following options:

ITA 2530 Italian Women Writers
ITA 2550  Italian Americans and Film
ITA 2560W   

The Italian Southern Question
in Literature and Film

ITA 2570  Italian Culture through Film I
ITA 2580 Italian Culture through Film II
ITA 3010  Composition & Culture 
ITA 3020  Conversation & Culture  
ITA 3050  Attualità italiana  

Elective Courses

Choose three courses from the following options, with no more than two courses from the same department. At least two of these courses must be from departments within the School of Liberal Arts.
(* indicates a course with prerequisites)

ENG 3860 Italian American Women Writers
FAA 2620 Classical Art
FAA 2630 The Art of the Middle Ages
FAA 2640W                                    First Light: The Beginnings of
Modernism in Western Art
FAA 2650 Artists, Princes and Popes: From Renaissance to Reformation
FAA 2660  The Art of the Baroque: European Art of the 17th and 18th Century 
FAA 3650  The World of Michelangelo 
HIS 1119  The European Experience: Antiquity to the Reformation 
HIS 1120 The European Experience: Early Modern to the Present 
HIS 3350  Ancient History 
HIS 3355 Barbarians and Holy Men 
HIS 3360  Medieval Civilization 
HIS 3370  Renaissance, Reformation and Exploration 
HIS 3376  Era of the French Revolution and Napoleon 
HIS 3401  Topics in Nineteenth-Century Europe 
HIS 3410   Twentieth-Century Europe  
HUM 1010  Stories of Ancient Greece 
HUM 1020  Medieval Europe 
PHL 2200W  History of Ancient Philosophy* 
PHL 2330  History of Medieval Philosophy* 
PHL 2350W  Philosophy of Augustine* 
RTS 2425  Pellegrinaggio in Italia* 
POL 4850W  Public Service Internship (approval of Italian Studies Dir required)  
POL 4851 Public Service Summer Internship (approval of Italian Studies Dir required)  
ECO 3306  International Economics* 
POL 1500  Comparative Politics 
POL 2510  International Politics* 
POL 2581 Political Thought: Plato to Machiavelli* 
POL 2582  Political Thought: Machiavelli to Marx* 
POL 3526 Politics of the European Union* 
POL 3540  International Political Economy*
FIN 4406 International Financial Management*  
MGT 3357 International Management*  
MKT 3320 Global Marketing*                               


Minor Concentration in Italian Studies
.  An interdisciplinary minor with a concentration in Italian Studies requires a minimum of 18 credits consisting of a minimum of 5 courses.  The minor consists of one year of the Italian language (for example, ITA 1110 and ITA 1120), plus a combination of 3 language and/or culture courses.

Minor Concentration in Italian.  A minor concentration in Italian requires a minimum of 18 credits consisting of a minimum of 5 courses in Italian with the ITA prefix.

Study Abroad in Florence, Italy.  Students pursuing a major concentration in Italian Studies or a minor concentration in Italian are strongly advised to spend one semester of foreign study Florence, Italy.  Please visit the Office of Global Education (GEO) web page for further detailed information.

More Info 

Luis Sáenz de Viguera Erkiaga

Chair & Associate Professor

World Languages and

Cultural Studies 

978-837-6976
saenzdevigul@merrimack.edu