Studying the Italian language and the history of Italian culture at UCLA provides invaluable insight into the origins and development of the Western European tradition and its continuing legacy and influence in today’s globalized world. The UCLA department of Italian is one of the most academically renowned Italian studies programs in the English-speaking world, and offers the opportunity to work closely with faculty and peers in an informal atmosphere within a closely-knit community fostering communication, dialogue and an enjoyable learning environment. Our Italian program provides courses, activities (such as the Italian Club and the Dante Club) and opportunities (including internships and studying in Italy for a summer, quarter or entire academic year) that allow students to gain in-depth knowledge of the language and culture of Italy while also acquiring solid training in the humanities, critical thought, analytical work and communication skills.
Our courses cover the early modern as well as the modern/contemporary periods, and offer a variety of perspectives on literature, theater, music, cinema, history, politics, geopolitical and migratory movements, gender and sexuality, food and fashion.
In the early modern period, between the 13th and the 17th century, Italy was one of the wealthiest areas in Europe and became not only the birthplace of banking and merchant culture but also the most influential center of humanistic and scientific research, literary and artistic creation, philosophical inquiry, and world-wide exploration. Early modern figures you may study with us include Dante and Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Modern and contemporary Italy produced extraordinary writers and filmmakers such as Luigi Pirandello, Italo Calvino, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Amelia Rosselli, Anna Maria Ortese, Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini, whose masterpieces have become classics studied and imitated across the globe. At UCLA, we are particularly strong in modern and contemporary literary, film, and gender studies, and our faculty members have published research on all of the above authors.
The history of unified Italy to which you will be introduced is both fascinating and problematic due to the perennial North-South split that plagues Italy still today; to poverty and migration; and to recurrent explosions of violent political conflict, including anarchism and terrorism, not to mention the unique role of political leaders from Benito Mussolini to Silvio Berlusconi. Today’s Italy is nonetheless one of the world’s most highly developed and creative economies, a member of the European union and a magnet for international immigration, tourism, and religious pilgrimage. Italy’s unparalleled patrimony of landscape, art and architecture near and in cities such as Florence, Venice, Rome and Naples makes it a treasure-trove for visitors and scholars. The peninsula is also a renowned and thriving center for fashion and design, craftsmanship and commerce. One of the Italian universities UCLA students may attend for credit is in fact the famous Bocconi University for commerce and business in Milan. UC Study Abroad Programs are also available in Rome, Florence and Bologna, where you can take courses in English or Italian, or both. Our department offers a summer program in Rimini, on the Adriatic coast.
Maybe you are of Italian descent and would like to explore your family’s Italian heritage; or else you speak Spanish, or French, and would like to learn another romance language. Whether you are interested in the past, the present, or the future, in art or business, in law or medicine, in teaching or translating, studying Italian in our department and in Italy will give you an intellectual formation and a set of linguistic, critical and cultural tools that will be priceless for undertaking any career and any graduate or professional program.
For information on the student learning outcomes for the B.A. in Italian, click here.
For complete information on our undergraduate programs, go to the UCLA catalog.
For information on programs in Italy, visit the Education Abroad website.