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Department of

Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Italian Program

Please read the placement policy of this department before enrolling in your first Italian class at USD or elsewhere.

Italian Studies Major | Italian Minor

Preparation for the Italian Studies Major

Students must have finished Italian 202 or the equivalent, thereby demonstrating proficiency in oral and written expression. Lower-division courses provide the necessary training in the four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) as well as basic cultural competency.  Upper-division courses further develop these skills and bring students to a level of proficiency of Advanced Low to Advanced High on the ACTFL scale.  The experience of living and studying in Italy is highly recommended.

Requirements for the Italian Studies Major:

25 units of upper-division work—8 courses plus the 1-unit capstone project—of which a minimum of 18 units (6 courses) must be in Italian (ITAL). The remaining 6 units may be either in Italian (ITAL) or interdisciplinary courses taught in English.

A minimum of 18 upper-division units must be taken on the USD campus.


Italian 202, or placement into upper division courses through the department's placement process.

Italian Courses (ITAL) Required:

ITAL 301

ITAL 302

One course on the early modern period (ITAL 320, 410, 420, or 394/494 when applicable)

One course on the modern or contemporary period (ITAL 321, 403, 411, 412, 413, or 394/494 when applicable)

Two elective upper-division Italian Courses

ITAL 495 Senior Capstone Project (1 unit): The capstone project is carried out in the student's last year in the program, and it should be linked thematically to one of the last two upper-division courses taken for the major. The student must consult with the program director to determine her or his project and enroll in ITAL 495.

Interdisciplinary Courses:

Students can complete all coursework in Italian. However, a maximum of 6 upper-division units (2 courses) may be taken in English from among the courses listed below, their equivalents, or other appropriate courses. In order for an interdisciplinary course to count for the major in Italian Studies, one of the following conditions must be met: 1) the course inherently includes significant content on Italy or Italian topics; or 2) during the course the student completes a project (e.g. research paper, presentation, portfolio, etc.) with a substantial focus on Italy or Italian topics. In either case, in order to count for the major in Italian Studies, all interdisciplinary courses require submission of an Approval of Interdisciplinary Coursework application prior to enrolling in the course. Download the form here, and consult with the Director of Italian Studies.

Interdisciplinary Courses – Double Counting:

The Department of Languages and Literatures will allow students to count interdisciplinary courses for both the Italian Studies major and any other major the student may have.

Interdisciplinary Courses with Preliminary Approval:

ARTH 334 Art of the Twentieth Century in Europe and the Americas
ARTH 342 Contemporary Architecture (Cross-listed as ARCH 321)
COMM 475 Intercultural Communication
ECON 333 International Economics (Prereq: ECON 102)
FINA 405 International Financial Management (Prereq: FINA 300)
MKTG 305  International Marketing (Prereq: MKTG 300)
ENGL 310 Dante
HIST 312 Roman Civilization
HIST 321 The Fall of the Roman Empire
HIST 322 Castles and Crusades
HIST 331 Renaissance Europe
HIST 341 World War II
MUS 442 Opera
SOCI 460 Immigrant America

Other bulletin courses and special topics courses may count provided they have significant content on Italy or Italian topics. Consult with the Director of Italian Studies.

Recommended Program of Study for the Italian Studies Major:

This program of study is designed for incoming freshmen with little or no previous knowledge of the Italian language. Students with sufficient prior language preparation, as determined through the department's placement policy, may initiate upper-division course work as early as their freshman year. Additionally, students can also take one or both of the interdisciplinary courses in English as early as their freshman year. Please note that students must fulfill the requirement of one course in the early modern period, and one in the modern or contemporary period.

Early modern: 320, 410, 420, or 394/494 when applicable
Modern: 321, 403, 411, or 394/494 when applicable
Contemporary: 321, 403, 412, 413, or 394/494 when applicable

Freshmen Year

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

Senior Year

Semester 1

Semester 1

Semester 1

Semester 1

ITAL 101

ITAL 201

ITAL 301 or 302 +

One Interdisciplinary course

One 300- or 400-level course +

One 400-level course

Semester 2

Semester 2

Semester 2

Semester 2

ITAL 102

ITAL 202

ITAL 301 or 302

ITAL 320 or 321

One 400-level course +

One Interdisciplinary course +

495 Senior Capstone Project (linked to a 400-level course)

Requirements for the Italian Minor

All courses for the minor must be taken in Italian (ITAL).
A minimum of 6 upper-division units must be taken on the USD campus.

Two options are available:

  1. 18 units: at least 9 of the 18 units must be in upper division courses (at the 300-level or higher) in Italian.
  2. 12 units of upper-division courses in Italian. Prerequisites: Fouth semester competency and approval of the department chair.