Italian Language Degrees: Online and Campus-Based Programs

You can study Italian at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with bachelor's degree programs more focused on teaching language skills and upper-level programs focusing on the details of grammar, linguistics or literature. Some courses may be found online. Read on for more details about what you can learn in a degree program and what work you may find upon graduating. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Italian Language Degrees Can I Earn?

Many schools offer undergraduate degrees in Italian or graduate degrees in Italian studies. A 4-year bachelor's degree program can teach you to read and speak the language. Many programs also provide you with a cultural and historical framework of Italy. If you already have an undergraduate degree, a Master of Arts in Italian Studies will allow you to concentrate on Italian language acquisition or an aspect of Italian language, culture and history. Many graduate programs may also provide you with the opportunity to study abroad in Italy for a semester or longer.

A Ph.D. program in Italian studies will cover similar topics but come with added degree requirements, such as written or oral qualifying examinations on your command of Italian language and culture. Many programs require you to demonstrate reading proficiency in a language other than Italian.

Degree LevelsStudents can obtain bachelor's degree, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in the Italian language
Common CoursesModern Italian novels, Italian films, romance linguistics, Italian as a second language, issues and perspectives in Italian studies
Online AvailabilityItalian courses may be available, but most degrees require students to take courses on-campus
Career PossibilitiesInterpreter, translator, work in the travel industry or for government agencies
Median Salary (2018)* $49,930 (for interpreters and translators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 18% (for interpreters and translators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind Of Courses Will I Take?

In a bachelor's degree program you will take elementary and intermediate Italian language courses. Some schools may offer advanced classes that focus on the written or spoken word. You will also attend survey courses in Italian history, art and politics so that you may put your language studies into a modern and historical cultural context. Degree requirements may also include courses in Italian literature, film and linguistics.

Master's and doctoral degree programs are different from undergraduate programs in that coursework will allow you to conduct research for your master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. You may find yourself completing a comparative study of Italian literature or outlining the finer points of Italian syntax and morphology. Many courses are offered as seminars and are likely to include the following:

  • Issues and perspectives in Italian studies
  • Modern Italian novel
  • Justice in Italian literature and art
  • Italy and Europe
  • Italian film
  • Italian Renaissance literature
  • Romance linguistics
  • Italian as a second language

Can I Complete this Program Online?

Schools offer some Italian language courses online, but these beginning- and intermediate-level courses are rare. Most undergraduate and graduate degree programs will require you to complete the majority of your coursework in a classroom.

Courses available online are often self-paced and you'll probably need to purchase language cassettes and CDs to help you practice and hear the language on your own. You will also need a reliable Internet connection and a current Web browser to download assignments, interact with your instructor and view course materials.

What Can I Do With an Italian Degree?

Students of Italian can go on to work as interpreters or translators. If you have a bachelor's degree, there are opportunities to work in government agencies, non-profit companies and the travel industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, after graduating, some interpreters and translators undergo specialized training programs offered through professional organizations or postsecondary institutions. Translators and interpreters made a median annual salary of $49,930 as of May 2018, reported the BLS (

Italian program graduates may also teach Italian as a second language. If you plan to teach at a high school you may need to complete teacher education training and pass a professional skills exam, such as the PRAXIS, to become state-certified. If you have a master's degree, you may be able to teach at a 2-year college. If you want to teach at a 4-year college or university you'll need a Ph.D., according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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