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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts in Italian


The Italian major offers students the opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge of Italian literature, language, and civilization through a highly flexible program combining course work in Italian with work in such fields as art history, classics, comparative literature, economics, English, French, history, international relations, music, philosophy, and political science. All Italian majors are required to have completed three second-year language courses (or the equivalent taken at the Florence campus):

ITALLANG 21. Second-Year Italian, First Quarter

ITALLANG 22. Second-Year Italian, Second Quarter

ITALLANG 23. Second-Year Italian, Third Quarter

Completion of the department's two-quarter Great Works IHUM sequence entitles a student to 5 units towards the Italian major or minor. Students considering an Italian major should consult with the Italian undergraduate adviser as early as possible (even before completing the language requirement) in order to ensure a maximum of flexibility in designing a course of study suited to individual needs and cultural interests.

Italian majors must complete 60 units of course work. (updated October 1, 2008)

The remaining requirements for the major are:

  1. A minimum of 32 units of Italian courses:

    ITALGEN 181. Philosophy and Literature

    ITALGEN 233. Afterlife of the Middle Ages

    ITALGEN 242. Women Mystics from the Middle Ages to the Present

    ITALGEN 267. French and Italian Literary Theory

    ITALGEN 289. French and Italian Women Writers

    ITALLIT 239. Renaissance Foundations of Modernity

    ITALLIT 249. Love and Death in the Decameron

    ITALLIT 258. Italo Calvino

    ITALLIT 283. Modern Italian Poetry

  2. Of these courses, at least one on Dante is required, as well as at least one in each of the following areas.
    1. the Middle Ages (FRENGEN 204, ITALGEN 233, ITALLIT 249); a Dante course may fulfill the Middle Ages requirement.
    2. the early modern period (ITALLIT 239); and
    3. the modern period (ITALGEN 242, 267, 289, ITALLIT 258, 283).
  3. The intermediate-level survey sequence; any one of these courses fulfills the Writing in the Major Requirement.

    ITALLIT 127. Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca

    ITALLIT 128. The Italian Renaissance and the Path to Modernity

    ITALLIT 129. Modern Italian History and Literature

  4. One advanced language course: (updated October 1, 2008).

    ITALLANG 113. Italian Cultural Studies

    ITALLANG 114. Advanced Stylistics and Composition

    ITALLANG 115. Academic and Creative Writing

Of the 60 units required for the major, up to 28 units of course work in related fields may be taken outside the department.

Cognate Courses—Credits earned for completion of the following cognate courses may be applied to unit requirements for the departmental major:

COMPLIT 101. What is Literature?

DLCL 189. Senior Honors Thesis

ENGLISH 185. Opera as Cultural History

OSPFLOR 34. The Woman in Florentine Art

OSPFLOR 44. The Revolution in Science: Galileo and the Birth of Modern Scientific Thought

OSPFLOR 48. Sharing Beauty: Florence and the Western Museum Tradition

OSPFLOR 49. The Cinema Goes to War: Fascism and World War II as Represented in Italian and European Cinema

OSPFLOR 54. High Renaissance and Maniera

OSPFLOR 67. Women in Italian Cinema: Maternity, Sexuality and the Image

OSPFLOR 106V. Italy: From an Agrarian to a Post-industrial Society

OSPFLOR 111Y. From Giotto to Michelangelo: Introduction to the Renaissance in Florence

OSPFLOR 115Y. The Duomo and Palazzo della Signoria: Symbols of a Civilization

OSPFLOR 134F. Modernist Italian Cinema

Relevant courses from other departments or programs may also earn credit toward the major with the consent of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


A second option is now possible within the Italian major, offering students the opportunity to combine studies in literature and philosophy. Students take most of their courses alongside students from departments specializing in the intersection of literature and philosophy.

The Italian and Philosophy major track requires a minimum of 16 courses, for a minimum total of 65 units, distributed as follows:

  1. Italian Survey Sequence (ca. 12 units): ITALLIT 127, 128, 129.
  2. Advanced Language Course (ca. 4 units): ITALLANG 113 and above.
  3. Philosophy Writing in the Major (5 units): PHIL 80. Prerequisite: introductory philosophy class.
  4. Philosophy and Literature Gateway Course (4 units): ITALGEN 181 (same as PHIL 81). This course should be taken as early as possible in the student's career, normally in the sophomore year.
  5. Aesthetics, Ethics, Political Philosophy (ca. 4 units): one course from the PHIL 170 series.
  6. Language, Mind, Metaphysics, and Epistemology (ca. 4 units): one course from the PHIL 180 series.
  7. History of Philosophy (ca. 8 units): two courses in the history of philosophy, numbered above PHIL 100.
  8. Upper Division Italian Courses (ca. 12 units): at least three courses numbered ITALLIT/ITALGEN 100 or higher.
  9. Related Courses (ca. 8 units): two upper division courses relevant to the student's chosen area of specialization.
  10. Capstone Seminar (ca. 4 units): this year's capstone seminars are:

    COMPLIT 226. Narrrative and Ethics

    ILAC 240E. Borges and Philosophy

    RELSTUD 212. Chuang-Tzu

One of these courses must be taken in the student's senior year.

The capstone seminar and the two related courses must be approved by both the undergraduate adviser of Italian and the undergraduate adviser of the program in philosophical and literary thought administered through the DLCL. No more than 24 units may be drawn from courses offered overseas. Substitutions, including transfer credit, are not normally permitted for items 5, 6, and 7, and are not permitted under any circumstances for items 3, 4, and 10. Up to 10 units of courses taken in the Philosophy department may be taken CR/NC or S/NC; the remainder must be taken for a letter grade.


Requirements for both extended majors are essentially identical to those of the Italian major with a concentration in Italian literature.

Italian and English Literatures—In addition to the 32 departmental units required for the B.A. in Italian, candidates must complete four English literature courses numbered 100 and above related to the field of concentration in Italian Studies.

Italian and French Literatures—In addition to the 32 departmental units required for the B.A. in Italian, candidates must complete four French literature courses numbered 100 and above related to the field of concentration in Italian Studies.


Students considering a minor in Italian are encouraged to design a course of studies that fosters their understanding of the interaction between Italian and their second area of expertise. A minimum of 24 units of undergraduate work beyond ITALLANG 21 must be completed.

Requirements for the minor include ITALLANG 22 and 23 (or equivalent); all three of the introductory series on Italian literature and culture (ITALLIT 127, 128, 129); and a minimum of one advanced course in language or literature numbered 113 and above. All courses must be chosen in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who is responsible for evaluating all requests and individual study plans for the minor.

Honors Program

Italian majors with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 (B+) or better in all Italian courses are eligible for department honors. Students interested in the honors program should consult the Italian undergraduate adviser early in their junior year. In addition to the requirements listed above, the student must submit to the Italian faculty a proposal for the honors essay by the end of Spring Quarter of the junior year. During the quarter, students may enroll in ITALLIT 189B while drafting and revising the proposal and conducting preliminary research. In Autumn Quarter of the senior year, honors students must enroll in DLCL 189, a 5-unit seminar that focuses on researching and writing the honors thesis. Students then enroll for 5 units of credit in ITALLIT 189A while composing the thesis during Winter Quarter. Students who did not enroll in a 189B course in the junior year may enroll in ITALLIT 189B in Spring quarter of the senior year while revising the thesis, if approved by the thesis adviser. A total of 10-12 units are awarded for successful completion of honors course work, independent study, and the finished thesis. Honors essays are due to the thesis adviser no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 15 of the terminal year. If an essay is found deserving of grade of 'A-' or better by the thesis adviser, honors are granted at the time of graduation.

Honors College—The Department of French and Italian encourages honors students to enroll in the honors college run by the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL). The college meets at the end of every summer, during the weeks directly preceding the start of the academic year, and is designed to help students develop their honors thesis projects. Applications must be submitted by Spring Quarter of the same calendar year. For more information, contact the undergraduate student services officer in the DLCL.

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