Italian Courses in Penn State's Regular Curriculum
For course descriptions of Italian courses at Penn State visit University Bulletin: Italian Course Descriptions.
Basic Italian Language Courses
- IT 001. Elementary Italian (4 credits). For students with no previous knowledge of Italian. Grammar, with reading and writing of simple Italian; oral and aural work stressed. Usually offered every semester.
- IT 002. Elementary Italian 2 (4 credits). Continuation of Italian 1. Grammar and reading; oral and aural phrases progressively increased; composition. Prerequisite: IT 001. Usually offered every semester.
- IT 003. Intermediate Italian (4 credits). Rapid review of elementary grammar; practice advanced grammar points; oral and written composition; short readings on Italian life. Prerequisite: IT 002. Usually offered every semester.
- IT 010. Intensive Elementary Italian (6 credits). Intensive basic Italian grammar (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) for students with no previous Italian language skills. Lab. Equivalent to IT 001 and half of IT 002. Usually offered fall semester.
- IT 020. Intensive Intermediate Italian (6 credits). Continuation of intensive elementary Italian, building grammar and communication skills. Equivalent to second half of IT 002 and all of IT 003. Prerequisite: IT 010. Usually offered spring semester.
- IT 050. Italian Conversation Tutorial (1-3 credits). Optional roundtable conversation practicum for students concurrently enrolled in another basic Italian language course. May be repeated up to 3 times for credit. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in IT 001, 002, 003, 010, or 020. Usually offered every semester.
First-Year Seminar in Italian Literature, Film, And Culture (IT 083S)
- IT 083S First-Year Seminar in Italian Literature, Film, and Culture (GH, IL, 3 credits). Introduction to the study of Italian literature, film, and culture in English translation. Topic varies each time the seminar is offered. Course is restricted to 20 first-year students. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
Topics in Italian Conversation (IT 110)
- IT 110 Topics in Italian Conversation (3 credits). Focus on intensive oral communication practice, especially aimed at preparation for study or work abroad and tourism. Topics can vary. Prerequisite: IT 003 or IT 020. Usually offered once every 2–3 semesters.
Italian and Italian-American Culture and Civilization (IT 130 AND 131)
- IT 130 Italian Culture and Civilization (GH, IL, 3 credits). Italian life from antiquity to the present; literature, film, the arts, and contemporary problems in historical perspective. Usually offered every semester.
- IT 131 Italian-American Culture and Civilization (GH, US, 3 credits). Italian-American experience from the late nineteenth century to the present. Socio-political issues seen through cinema and through literary and other readings. Usually offered once every 2-3 semesters.
Italian Literature in Translation (IT 230)
- IT 230 Masterpieces of Italian Literature in English Translation (GH, 3 credits). Emphasis on works and authors of international importance. Lectures, readings, and written work in English. Focus of course varies each time it is offered. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
Advanced Italian Courses Taught Ii Italian (IT 301, 320, 325, 330W, 412, 415, 422, 430, 450, AND 460)
- IT 301 Pathways to Fluency (3 credits). For majors, minors, and others with adequate preparation; deepening of grammatical skills, integrated conversation, composition, and reading. Prerequisite: IT 003. Usually offered every semester.
- IT 320 Introduction to Italian Culture: Food, Fashion, Family (3 credits). Focus on the social, historical, and socio-political issues of Italian in the last two centuries. Prerequisite: IT 003. Usually offered once every 2-3 semesters.
- IT 325 Introduction to Italy’s Genius (3 credits) Focus on the art, literature, and philosophy of Italy from the Renaissance to present. Prerequisite: IT 003. Usually offered once every 2-3 semesters.
- IT 330W Great Books of Italian Literature (3 credits). Survey of Italy’s literary works that have had the greatest impact on western civilization with focus on improved critical writing skills in Italian. Prerequisite: IT 003. Usually offered once every 2-3 semesters.
- IT 412 Theory and Practice of Translation (3 credits). Advanced practicum in Italian explores the technical, artistic, and practical applications of translation between Italian and American cultures. Prerequisite: any 300-level Italian course. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 415 Dante (3 credits). Close reading of The Divine Comedy with comparisons of ethical treatments to today’s world. Prerequisite: any 300-level Italian course. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 422 Topics in the Italian Renaissance (3 credits). Topics vary each semester and may include “Theories of Love,” “Magic, Witchcraft, Alchemy, and the Emergence of Modern Science,” etc. Check for current offering. Prerequisite: any 300-level Italian course. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 430 Italian Children's Literature (3) This course examines Italian children's books from the post-unification period (1880s) to the present day.
- IT 450 Topics in Nineteenth-Century Italian Literature (3 credits). Topics can vary on Italian romanticism, Verismo and neoclassicism, their origin and development in the novel, poetry, and drama. Prerequisite: any 300-level Italian course. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 460 Topics in Twentieth-Century Italian Literature (3 credits). Topics can vary on modern and contemporary Italian prose, drama, and poetry. Prerequisite: any 300-level Italian course. Usually offered once every 3-4 semesters.
Advanced Italian Courses Taught in English (IT 475, 480, 485, AND 490)
- IT 475 Modern Italian Literature and Cinema (3 credits). Introduction to Italian silent films, works during Fascism. Focus on Neorealism and reactions against Neorealism in film and literature. Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 480 Italian Women Writers through the Centuries (3 credits). Analysis of the works of women authors in their historical and literary contexts. Occasionally taught in Italian. Check for prerequisites. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 485 Italian-American Cultural Studies (3 credits). In-depth exploration of Italian-American cultural contributions. Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Usually offered once every 3–4 semesters.
- IT 490 Dante in Translation (3 credits). The reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy, along with selected minor works. Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Usually offered once per year.
Other Italian Courses at PSU and Abroad
Foreign Studies (IT 099, 199, 299, AND 399)
- IT 099 Foreign Studies (IL, 1-12 credits). Coursework completed in Italy. Can include elementary language skills, cultural orientation programs, etc.
- IT 199 Foreign Studies (IL, 1-12 credits). Coursework completed in Italy. Can include intermediate language skills, topics in culture and civilization, etc.
- IT 299 Foreign Studies (IL, 1-12 credits). Coursework completed in Italy. Can include intermediate language skills reviews, topics in Italian literature or culture in English translation, etc.
- IT 399 Foreign Studies (IL, 1-12 credits). Coursework completed in Italy. Can include advanced language skills, contemporary Italian culture courses and surveys of Italian literature usually taught in Italian, etc. Prerequisite: IT 003 or IT 020.
Please note: Students should discuss any plans to study abroad in Italy with an Italian adviser to assure that Italian credits transfer back to PSU as students anticipate. See the section on Study Abroad.
Special Topics Courses (IT 197, 297, AND 497)
- IT 197 Special Topics (1–9 credits). Course content varies, but typically encompasses broad introduction to culture or basic language skills. Check for prerequisites. Offered infrequently. May be repeated for credit as long as the topic differs each time.
- IT 297 Special Topics (1–9 credits). Course content varies, but typically focuses on an aspect of Italian literature or culture in English translation. Offered infrequently. May be repeated for credit as long as the topic differs each time.
- IT 497 Special Topics (1–9 credits). Course content varies, but typically offers advanced work on single author, movement, or genre of Italian literature or culture. May be offered in either English or Italian. Check for prerequisites. Offered infrequently. May be repeated for credit as long as the topic differs each time.
Research Projects, Internships, And Independent Studies (IT 294, 296, 395, 494, AND 496)
- IT 294 Research Project (1–12 credits). Student-initiated research projects, usually completed abroad. Special permission is required. See Italian adviser.
- IT 296 Independent Studies (1–18 credits). Student-initiated, lower-division independent study with approved faculty member supervision, usually abroad. Special permission is required. See Italian adviser.
- IT 395 Internship (1–18 credits). Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. Special permission is required. See Italian adviser.
- IT 494 Research Project (1–12 credits). Student-initiated research projects, usually completed as part of a Schreyers Honors College thesis in Italian. Special permission is required. See Italian adviser.
- IT 496 Independent Studies (1–18 credits). Student-initiated, upper-division independent study with approved faculty member supervision. Special permission is required. See Italian adviser.
Please note that these 200-level courses are most often taken in conjunction with study in foreign programs; these 400-level courses are rarely approved and usually only for graduating Italian majors who have taken 4 or more other advanced Italian courses at Penn State.
Honors Options for Italian Courses
Schreyers Honors students who wish to receive Honors Option credit for advanced Italian courses (usually permitted only for 300- and 400-level courses taught by tenure-line Italian faculty) should speak first with the Schreyers Honors adviser in Italian, Sherry Roush, who will discuss with the student an appropriate honors project to propose to the course instructor. The student should then approach the course instructor to propose Honors Option credit. Signatures from both the course instructor and Schreyers Honors advisor in Italian are necessary for Honors Option credit in Italian courses.
The Honors Thesis in Italian
Who can write an honors thesis in our department?
In general students who wish to write an honors thesis in Spanish or Italian must have a major in the department. Under exceptional circumstances non-majors may be allowed to write an honors thesis in Spanish or Italian. Non-majors who wish to write an honors thesis should send a petition to the departmental honors adviser, indicating their qualifications for writing the thesis and a justification for presenting an honors thesis in Spanish or Italian. These materials must be submitted electronically to the departmental honors adviser. Materials must be submitted even if a potential faculty thesis supervisor has been contacted. Contact Schreyers Honors adviser in Italian, Sherry Roush for more information.
What Italian language class should I take (including questions about placement policies and proficiency exams)?Back to top
See the section on "Basic Language Courses" or contact the Italian Language Coordinator for more information.
Whom should I ask for a letter of recommendation? And how should I ask?Back to top
You should ask a faculty member with whom you have taken at least one class (and done your best work) and who is familiar with the school/profession to which you are applying (i.e. If you are applying to graduate programs in Anthropology, your best bet would be your anthropology professors first, then other professors, internship directors, or employers close to the anthropology field.). Choose a professor who knows you by name and has praised your work.
Write or email your professor at least two weeks before the application deadline (but preferably longer) and request that they write a letter of recommendation for you. You should explain:
- What you are applying for (job, professional school, internship, study abroad program, scholarship, etc.)
- What courses you've taken with this professor
- Why you believe the professor would be a good person to write you a letter of recommendation (Did you do a special project related to your application essay? Did you demonstrate the kinds of presentation skills your prospective employer is seeking?)
- When the deadline is
- Where the letter should be sent
- Any other information that the professor can use to personalize your letter of recommendation and make it stronger (remind the professor of any awards you've won, any study abroad opportunities you have successfully completed, etc.)
Remember, the more detail you provide, the more likely your professor is to agree to the request and the more likely it is that he/she will be able to write a strong, specific letter of endorsement.
How can I practice my Italian language skills when I'm not in class?Back to top
Speak to your professors in Italian whenever you can, take advantage of the Language Tutoring Center in Sparks (or apply to be a peer tutor, if your Italian is advanced), join the Italian Student Society and attend language tables, check out books and videos in Italian from the library, watch Italian programs on SCOLA (the international cable network to which PSU subscribes - available in on-campus dorms and classrooms), surf Italian websites and listen to Italian radio on-line, attend International Student gatherings and offer to help Italians with their English if they chat with you in Italian, and keep a journal in Italian. Read Italian texts out loud, so that you can hear and practice your accent. Barnes & Noble sells Italian periodicals, like L'espresso and Vogue (Italia).
I've gotten decent grades in my Italian language classes, but I still don't understand when some Italians speak (or I can understand everything, but I have such a difficult time saying exactly what I mean in Italian). It's frustrating. What can I do?Back to top
First, congratulate yourself on your progress thus far. Not too long ago you didn't know a single word of Italian, right? Not all Italians speak with the same accent (not all Americans do, either – just think about how differently a Texan and a Bostonian speak!), and some take some getting used to. Not everybody makes the same rate of progress in foreign language learning, either. Usually, the Intermediate Italian and the 300-level classes can be the most frustrating, especially if there are more advanced students in your class. Do not despair. With patience, practice, and perseverance you will also become fluent in Italian. Formulating your own thoughts is almost always more difficult than reading or listening to others speak. For this reason, intermediate and advanced Italian courses prompt you to write and speak your own thoughts so often. The more your practice – even if you sometimes make mistakes! – the faster you will improve your language skills and gain confidence in using a foreign language. Study or travel in Italy helps many students to make the jump from frustration to proficiency, but it is not absolutely necessary. See the question above for ideas on how to practice your Italian in State College.
I want to take an Italian class, but it is full. What do I do?Back to top
If it is a language class (IT 001, 002, 003, 010, or 020), contact the language coordinator for your options. If it is any other course, contact the instructor directly. Sometimes the classroom can accommodate a few more students and the instructor may permit more students, especially if they are declared Italian majors, to enroll. If there are as many students enrolled as the classroom can maximally hold, however, then the professor must turn students away in order to respect fire codes.
I took IT 490 (or some other course) and on the syllabus it states clearly that course can count for the Italian minor, but it doesn't show that it counts on my audit. What do I do?Back to top
This has been a glitch in the curricular system for a long time. IT 490 does count for the Italian minor. The Italian advisers know this and they are the ones to sign off on your minor when you are about to graduate. So if you have checked in with your Italian adviser and have met all of the other requirements, too, you need not worry. If your major adviser should ask about the discrepancy, you may request a memo to give him/her from Sherry Roush.
I officially declared my Italian minor, but I have decided to graduate without fulfilling all of the minor requirements. What do I need to do to "undeclare" my Italian minor?Back to top
You do not need to do anything to "undeclare" an Italian minor. If you have not met the requirements when you declare your intent to graduate, you will be cleared to graduate (if all major requirements have been met), but you not receive the minor. You must "undeclare" only majors.
I really like my IT 001 instructor and wish to take all of my language classes with Prof. X. Is that a good idea?Back to top
We believe it is best for Italian students to become accustomed to different accents and language teaching approaches during their first semesters of study. Choosing different instructors of elementary and intermediate Italian makes you more prepared for advanced courses and study/travel/business in Italy, where you will encounter many other speaking styles. So even if it might be possible to take more than one course with an instructor you like, it's not a good idea.
I took Spanish (or French or Latin) in high school. Can it count toward my 8th-credit proficiency in a second Romance Language for the Language and Literature Option?Back to top
You may elect to take a proficiency exam in the language to "test out" of the requirement, yes, but you will not receive the 8 credits. You will need to make these credits up in your electives.
There are 400-level courses that have a pre-requisite of 350 or 351, but those 300-level courses are never taught. What do I do?Back to top
IT 350 and IT 351 were deleted from the curriculum in Summer 2005 and thus are no longer taught. Some of our 400-level courses, though, still (mistakenly!) list those as their pre-requisites. As long as you have taken at least one 300-level Italian course (301, 320, 325, or 330W), you may enroll in any 400-level course conducted in Italian