Undergraduate Program in Italian

Studying Italian at Penn State enables students to develop proficiency in the language and a historically informed understanding of Italy’s contemporary cultures.  Students explore a rich literary and cinematic tradition and can pursue coursework in such topics as Italian American Culture and the Theory and Practice of Translation. With two major paths that are easily combined with a second major, and a minor, Italian offers various enrichment opportunities to our students including: Internships, Gamma Kappa Alpha National Honor Society, Peer Tutoring opportunities, Italian Student Society, Italian Alumni-Student Mentoring, Tavola Italiana and multiple study abroad options.

Which Courses Should I Take?

If you have little or no previous experience of Italian, choose IT 001 or IT 010. (Please note that intensive language courses can be time-consuming and demanding, and should only be attempted by students who plan to make language learning a priority and/or who have a natural language learning facility.) IT 050 is a supplemental option for dedicated students who desire individual attention to oral accent and speaking proficiency. If you have some Italian language skills (in high school, in another college or university, or in Italy), but are not a native speaker of Italian, see the following information about Italian language placement and contact the Italian Language Coordinator. If you are a native speaker of Italian, please contact an Italian adviser for enrollment options.

Placement Policy for Students with Prior Knowledge of Italian

Students who have studied Italian within four years immediately before admission to Penn State may enroll in that language for credit based on the number of Carnegie units prior to admission. (A Carnegie “unit” refers to one course level of a foreign language—Italian 1, Italian 2, Italian 3, etc.— equivalent to one year of study and accredited as such by the school.) If a period of four or more years has elapsed between a student’s graduation from high school and admission to college, he/she may be eligible to enroll in level 1 of the language studied in high school.

Units of Study prior to Admission to Penn State:
Register in Penn State Language Level:
Fewer than two
Italian 001 (4cr.)
Two or three
Italian 002 (4cr.)
Four or more
Italian 003 (4cr.)

Students may choose to audit a lower-level course but may not receive credit for it. Students who feel they are qualified for a more advanced course may take a placement exam (contact Italian Language Coordinator for proficiency examination dates)

Non-Course Work Knowledge of Foreign Languages

Students who have acquired a knowledge of a foreign language by means other than course work (e.g., family background, travel or study in a foreign country, participation in noncredit summer language programs, etc.) may enroll in elementary and intermediate courses in that language only with permission of the course coordinator or department head. Once students have been placed in a skills course, they may not receive credit for a lower-level skills course.

Accelerated and Intensive Courses

Students may choose to enroll in accelerated courses such as IT 010 and 020. Because the objectives of these courses are somewhat different, students may schedule them for full credit even if they have studied the language previously.

Proficiency Examination

A department may offer students an opportunity to take an examination for credit or require an examination for initial placement in a course or course sequence. Credits for this course will be reflected on the student’s record with a symbol of S, equivalent to a grade of C or better. Credit awarded in this manner does not affect a student’s grade-point average at this University. Such credit shall not be granted for any course that the student has previously failed. In Italian, proficiency examinations are scheduled by the Italian Language Coordinator.