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An estimated 180 million people worldwide speak Italian as their primary or secondary language. Almost 17 million North Americans identify as having Italian ancestry.

Italian culture is traditionally recognized for its rich contributions to art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy. Today Italy attracts interest in a wide variety of areas, including tourism, its emigrant heritage, filmmaking, fashion industry, and gastronomy.

Undergraduate Studies

Italian is the 3rd largest language program at the University of Oregon, and Italy remains the most popular destination country for UO undergraduates studying abroad.  The Department offers an undergraduate major and minor in Italian as well as a major in Romance Languages.

We encourage students of Italian to enroll in one or more of our language and culture programs in the historic towns of Ferrara, Macerata, Pavia, Lecce, and Siena.  The Department offers several scholarships to help students pursue their studies. In addition, through the IE3 program, undergraduates can earn academic credit for doing a professional internship in Italy.

Our majors and minors participate actively in the weekly Italian conversation hour, the Circolo Italiano (Italian Club), and Global Talk, the campus’ multilingual publication.

Graduate Studies

We offer M.A. programs in Italian and in Romance Languages, which combines Italian with French or Spanish.

Our Ph.D. program is in Romance Languages. Students work in Italian as their primary language and take some coursework in either French or Spanish.

Most of our graduate students hold a Graduate Teaching Fellowship that provides a tuition waiver, health insurance, and pays a salary. The department offers scholarships and funds to support research projects and travel to professional meetings.

Our Italian faculty’s areas of expertise are interdisciplinary, and we are members of programs such as Comparative LiteratureEuropean Studies, Cinema StudiesMedieval Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Recent courses in Italian include Misogyny Medieval and Modern, Italy and the Americas in the Renaissance, Postwar Cinema and Literature and Testimony. We also teach thematic courses organized around major figures of Italian literature (such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Vico, Leopardi, and Manzoni), and cultural issues such as autobiography, gender and sexuality in Italian film, travel literature, translation, humanism, and alterity.

UO  student Kevin Regan on the benefits of speaking Italian: