Italian is one of four Latin-based (or Romance) languages taught in the Department of Romance Languages, along with French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Undergraduate degree: BA
Language, Culture, and Travel
Leonardo da Vinci said, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” There’s something especially wonderful about understanding another language. It enables you to think and express yourself in a new way. Using that newfound skill to communicate with people whose culture and life experiences are very different from yours can bring you much joy.
An estimated 180 million people worldwide speak Italian as their primary or secondary language. Almost 20 million North Americans identify as having Italian ancestry. Italy is internationally recognized for its rich contributions to art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy. Today Italy attracts interest in a wide variety of areas, including tourism, emigrant heritage, filmmaking, fashion and design, and gastronomy.
You might want to study Italian to get in touch with your family’s history, or with Italy’s incomparable artistic heritage. Or maybe you’re looking forward to traveling in a famously beautiful country, and you want to take some language skills with you. Perhaps you’re interested in a global business career that involves multinational companies. Whatever the basis of your interest, the University of Oregon’s Department of Romance Languages will help you to expand your knowledge and horizons.
Romance Languages is a diverse, multicultural and multilingual unit that offers a first-rate faculty from around the world. As a major or minor, you will gain an extensive knowledge of languages and cultures and will have invaluable opportunities for intellectual growth. You’ll also be able to engage in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including lectures and film festivals, language conversation groups, study abroad programs, and internships.
Points of Interest
- Immerse yourself in Italy—experience the magic of a study abroad program.
- Practice your language skills during casual weekly gatherings of native and non-native speakers at the Circolo Italiano.
- Apply for an internship in Italy. Romance languages students have found great internships with a ski manufacturer, a bike touring company, a vineyard, and northern Italian high schools as assistants in English classes.
- Students enrolled in Cultura e Lingua: Arte, Musica, i Mass Media study artistic expressions over time and the influence of the mass media on social structures and language.
- Cultural Legacies of Italy concentrates on Italian contributions to world cultures, and includes topics such as modern Italian life, Italians in America, Italian cinema and its influence, the Italian Renaissance, Roman art, and Italian opera. Conducted in English, ITAL 150 fulfills both Arts and Letters and Multicultural (IC) requirements.
- Dante in Translation covers the entire Divine Comedy, read in English. The class focuses on Dante’s worldview, his relevance for modern readers, and the effects and process of translation.
- See more courses in Italian language and culture.
While studying other cultures, you will learn from experts across the disciplines. A major in a Romance language works well with a double major, minor, or elective courses in European Studies, Business Administration, Cinema Studies, International Studies, Humanities, Comparative Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Latin American Studies, Religious Studies, or Medieval Studies. You might also consider adding courses in history, art history, music, or linguistics to your academic plan.
You already know the benefits of gaining intercultural experience and language skills. A study abroad program is one of the best ways to expand your second-language abilities and enrich your undergraduate career. The University of Oregon sponsors study abroad programs in nearly 90 countries around the globe. You may be able to study abroad by the end of your first year at the university, so talk with your adviser as soon as you choose a focus.
In Italy, the UO offers programs in Lecce, Siena, Ferrara, and Pavia, among others. Choose from courses focusing on Italian art history, culture, literature, politics, history, and other subjects. As Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun, put it, “I went to Italy initially for the art, architecture, food and history, but I stayed there because of the people.”
Italian majors have gone into a wide variety of careers, including law, hospital administration, music management, international development, museum administration, information technology, hospitality, finance, energy management, and education. You can also use a bachelor’s degree in Italian to pursue a career in teaching or in any field that requires fluency in your second language. You might go into international business, diplomacy, government, or Foreign Service, translation, and editorial work. You may decide to pursue a graduate degree in Romance languages or in another discipline. The faculty members in Italian are ready to talk with you about options.