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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The Italian language is spoken by more than 70 million people residing all over the world. In this hemisphere there are more than 10 million descendants of immigrants from Italy living in countries from Canada to Argentina, with the United States second only to Italy itself in number of Italian-speaking residents. In addition to studying the grammatical aspects of Italian, students will learn the language and about the culture, history, cinema and literature of Italy, a country that for over two thousand years has been at the center of the artistic and cultural history of the western world.

Additionally, the major focuses on the development of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors of intercultural competence, which are essential for succeeding in today's interconnected and diverse world.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in Italian within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate advisor from the Department of French and Italian and arts and sciences advising.

Class time is devoted to developing all four language skills — speaking, listening, reading and writing — as well as a strong background in Italian culture. Through their course work, students are prepared to be interculturally competent, able to appropriately and confidently interact with people of different backgrounds and move in the world with ease. These skills are developed through the use of movies, videos, songs, magazines, the Internet, texts and online language practice. As students progress in the major and develop their language skills, they may choose from a variety of intermediate- and advanced-level linguistics, culture, literature, cinema and history courses. Students are encouraged to study abroad and are required to participate in the World Languages Skills and Competencies Workshop, in which they learn to present their unique set of skills to future employers.

A major in Italian consists of no fewer than 30 hours of Italian courses and participation in the World Languages Skills and Competencies Workshop, taken any time before graduating. All courses are organized around academic subject matter (culture, literature, film, linguistics and media). The study of grammar and development of the four language skills, alongside intercultural competence, are incorporated into the courses.

Core courses include Italian 1101 through 1103 (or Italian 5101). These courses do not apply toward the major.

Additional electives and general education requirements totaling 121 hours are required by the College of the Arts and Sciences for graduation.

Students should begin considering and planning for a study abroad program as soon as they have decided to major in Italian. Students interested in studying abroad during their junior or senior year can get specific information about various programs from the Italian study abroad advisor in the Department of French and Italian.

In the summer, students may study in Lecce, located in the “heel” of the peninsula. Italian majors are encouraged to study at the full-immersion service-learning program in Siena, Tuscany. During the academic year it is possible to study in Lecce or in Siena. For students who would like to take course work in English in Italy, the Office of International Affairs has information about programs offered during the academic year. Contact the Italian study abroad advisor about transferring course credits.

Students can apply for the 12-credit American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) internship in Rome. This semester-long program combines workplace learning with classroom-based studying. Students attend intensive language classes in Florence and Rome and are placed in different fields, including international embassies, cultural institutes, charitable associations and fashion companies.

Students can also apply for the Sant'Anna Internship program in Sorrento. Available as a five-week summer session and during autumn and spring semesters, this program combines workplace learning with classroom-based studying. Placements are available in many fields, including architecture, business, communication, marketing, law, culinary arts, education, environmental studies, hospitality and tourism, music, social work, and more. 

Students in the Italian major are encouraged to do a thesis in order to graduate with research distinction. Students who meet the criteria for completing a final research project work closely with a faculty member specializing in their area of interest.

Learn more about research opportunities at

Italian Club is an organization of students and faculty interested in Italian culture and traditions. Many activities are organized throughout the year, including conversation tables on campus, movies and dinners.

Italian is applicable in a variety of settings in the United States and abroad. Mastery of Italian allows students to consider careers in such fields as education, government, interpreting and translating, international trade (in fashions, machinery, wine and foodstuffs, for example), print or electronic media, or tourism. The development of intercultural competence, the fourth of the ten most sought-after skills for working in the twenty-first century, is attractive to all employers, regardless of language proficiency level. Students from any major, from engineering to business or computer science, should consider a double major in Italian to benefit from the development of their abilities to work efficiently, proficiently and appropriately with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Careers in which proficiency in Italian is a good secondary tool include banking and finance, business, sales, export purchasing, foreign market analysis, journalism, foreign correspondence, science and research, library science, hotel management, publishing, radio broadcasting, and teaching English in Italy to employees in corporations abroad.

Ohio State graduates with Italian degrees have chosen jobs such as manager for World Trade Group, bilingual secretary for Citified Mortgage, director and organizer of study abroad programs, publicist for Salls & Bonda Inc., and community health organizer for the Peace Corps.

Students can explore career options by utilizing Career Connection as well as the Arts and Sciences Career Services Office. Career Connection focuses on helping students establish a career direction, while the Arts and Sciences Career Services Office assists students with finding internships — experiences that are essential to testing out the suitability of career fields they are considering.

Students in the Italian program enjoy a sense of community among their cohort and their instructors, who are readily available for consultation. Those who complete the major will have a sound linguistic foundation in Italian, a firm understanding of Italian culture and the resources necessary to interact as responsible, productive global citizens.