The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Major in Italian Studies

A major in Italian Studies at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst gives students the opportunity to become fluent in the Italian language and to develop a critical awareness of the literary and cultural traditions that are central to the humanities. Students can pursue a broad curriculum in general Italian Studies or combine Italian Studies with another major, such as business, political science, art history, education, and many others. Courses focusing on Italian Studies offered in other departments or at other Five-College campuses may be included, with the approval of the Undergraduate Advisor. Once you've made up your mind to pursue a degree in Italian Studies, it is important that you declare your major as soon as possible (preferably by your sophomore year).

How to Declare a Major in Italian Studies


The prerequisite to the Italian Studies major is proficiency in Italian at the elementary level: Elementary Italian I and II (ITAL 110 and 120) or Intensive Elementary Italian (ITAL 126 or ITAL 126H).

Majors must then complete 36 credits above the 100 level, including:

  • Preparatory Grammar (6 credits): Intermediate Italian I and II (ITAL 230 and 240) or Intensive Intermediate Italian (ITAL 246).
  • Two core courses (6 credits): 371 Advanced Grammar and Composition; and one introductory course in the selected emphasis (e.g., 324 Introduction to Italian Literary Studies I or 325 Introduction to Italian Literary Studies II).
  • Eight area courses (24 credits). No more than two may be conducted in English or at another 5-College institution without special permission.

To Declare an Italian Studies Major or for more information, contact: 

Cara Takakjian, Undergraduate Program Director

315 Herter Hall

Further considerations

Study Abroad Credits

Students majoring in Italian are encouraged to participate in the University's Language and Culture program in Siena, Italy. It is suggested that prospective majors enroll in the Siena program in the spring semester of their sophomore year. Courses taken in Siena may apply to areas of emphasis in the major, but under normal circumstances, no more than nine credits received during a study abroad semester may be applied to the major. The department also sponsors a summer program in Rome and an advanced program in Forlì. (Visit the International Programs Office in Hills South for other study abroad options.)

Thatcher House

Majors are encouraged to enroll in the Italian language residential program at Thatcher House. While students may re-enroll in the Thatcher program each semester, a maximum of two credits (or three, for honors students) will count towards the major. 

Five Colleges

A limited number of courses offered by other members of the Five-College community may be applied toward the major, with the approval of the Undergraduate Advisor.

The Honors Program

Students enrolled in the Honors Program through Commonwealth College may pursue an Honors Track in Italian Studies. For further information, contact your Commonwealth College advisor or Dr. Cara Takakjian at