Italian Studies

The Special Field of Italian Studies highlights major periods and authors of the Italian literary tradition, from Dante to the present, and includes contributions to modern popular culture, theater, film, philosophy, state-of-the art industrial design, and the burgeoning field of cultural economics. Courses also introduce the literatures and cultures of immigrant populations within Italy and Italian-speaking communities in the world. Concentrators are encouraged to supplement their coursework with individual projects under the supervision of faculty members and to incorporate interdisciplinary studies in their program. Harvard has a Local Chapter of Gamma Kappa Alpha National Italian Honor Society, formed to acknowledge outstanding undergraduate scholarship in the field of Italian language, literature, and culture.


A. Courses in language and culture (minimum 2 courses or proficiency in Italian; maximum 3 courses)

Recommended courses (or equivalent as approved by the Special Field Adviser in Italian Studies):
ITAL 40: Advanced Oral Expression and Performance
ITAL 50: Advanced Written Expression: Italy, In Other Words

B. Introductory courses in literary and cultural history (minimum 2 courses)

Recommended courses (or equivalents as approved by the Special Field Adviser in Italian Studies):
AESTHINT 51: The Cosmos of the Comedy
ITAL 142: The Italian Renaissance: Beauty, Power, Innovation

C. Sophomore Tutorial (1 course)

      Recommended course: ITAL 97 or ITAL 100-level or ROM-STD 97

D. Courses in RLL/ITAL at the 80, 90, 100 and 200 levels (4 courses)

At least three of these courses must be taught in the target language (or at least the readings and papers must be in Italian). At least two must be at the 100-level or above.

N.B. At least one course in category B or D should deal with literature and culture before 1800.

E. Courses in related fields (minimum 2, maximum 4)

Content must be clearly related to Italian Studies. Special Field Adviser or DUS may require that research for the course, such as final paper, incorporate Italian content.

F. Elective course (maximum 1 course)

Category A, B, D, E course, or approved Gateway or General Education course.

G. HONORS track (2 courses)

Students who qualify for the Honors track may elect a thesis or no-thesis option. See section on Honors track for details.

Use this worksheet to create and track a Plan of Study with your faculty adviser. Click here for the downloadable version of this page.

Image: Geomangio, "Venice like a model" (detail). Creative Commons attribution.