Romance Languages Major, B.A.–Italian

Department of Romance Studies

238 Dey Hall, CB# 3170

(919) 962-2062

Dr. Amy Chambless, Undergraduate Advisor and Director of Italian Language Instruction

Dr. Glynis Cowell, Director of Undergraduate Studies

UNC–Chapel Hill has a rich tradition of Italian studies, including courses on language, literature, film, food, politics, history, philosophy, and theater. The field of Italian is growing, with increasing course offerings and an increasing number of enrolled students and majors.

This concentration is a popular choice for those interested in careers in journalism, diplomacy, international business or education, or for those seeking a well-rounded education in preparation for medical or law school after college.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs


In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
ITAL 300Communicating in Italian: Media, Culture, and Society3
Seven courses chosen from among the following:21
Italian Conversation
Italian Civilization I
Italian Civilization II
Italian Film and Culture
Themes in Italian Film
Cinema for Italian Conversation
Italian America in Literature and Film
Italian Culture Today: Modern Italy as a Nation 1860 to Present
Italian Women Writers
Italian Food and Culture
Survey of Italian Literature I
Survey of Italian Literature II
The Modern Italian Novel
Independent Study in Italian Literature
Undergraduate Seminar in Italian
Survey of Italian Literature and Culture I (to 1600)
Survey of Italian Literature and Culture II (1600 to present)
History of the Italian Language
Total Hours24

A prerequisite for entering the program is knowledge of the Italian language, demonstrated by successfully completing ITAL 204 or ITAL 402 or the equivalent. With the approval of the undergraduate advisor for Italian, students majoring in Romance languages with an emphasis in Italian may count up to nine hours in related areas in such departments, programs, and curricula as classics, art, music, cultural studies, and women’s and gender studies.

Italian (ITAL) course descriptions.

Special Opportunities in Romance Studies


The departmental honors program is open to any qualified major with a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or higher and 3.5 or higher in their major courses. Eligible honors candidates will formulate a topic and select an appropriate faculty member to supervise the writing of an honors thesis. Specific coursework for the major with honors consists of enrollment in a special topics course in the language of the major emphasis (FREN, ITAL, PORT, or SPAN 691H Research for Advanced Students) in the fall semester of the senior year, and 692H Honors Thesis in the spring semester. FREN, ITAL, PORT, SPAN 398 Undergraduate Seminar may be substituted for the research course if the subject of the seminar is central to the research project chosen. In the 692H course the thesis will be completed and the student examined by the supervisor and two additional faculty members, to be agreed upon by the student and supervisor. The director of honors, in consultation with the examiners, will recommend that the student who has defended the thesis graduate with honors, highest honors, or with course credit. Courses numbered 691H or 398 may count toward the eight courses for the major, but 692H may not. Students who intend to graduate in December should adjust the scheduling of these courses in order to allow for completion of the honors project in December. Students meeting the required grade point averages should contact the undergraduate advisor for their language. For detailed information on the B.A. with honors, click here.

Out-of-Class Language Experience

Students may enrich their cultural and language experience by applying to the Spanish House, a section of Craige North residence hall. Equipped with a lounge and a kitchen, the house has space for eight male and 16 female students. Students make an effort to speak only Spanish while in residence.

The department offers credit-bearing service-learning opportunities through SPAN 293. This course satisfies the experiential education (EE) General Education requirement and is always connected to a specific course.

Students also find opportunities to speak Spanish and meet native Spanish speakers in an informal weekly Tertulia. Additional activities such as lectures, receptions, and films are organized by the department and student organizations such as CHispA (Carolina Hispanic Association). Numerous volunteer opportunities using Spanish are available in the local community through CHispA, Campus Y, UNC Hospitals, and other organizations.

For further opportunities to speak French, students are encouraged to participate in the weekly meeting of the Table Française and become members of the French club, les Francophiles. Departmental lectures and film series are also offered.

Students wishing to speak Italian may participate in a weekly conversation table, La Tavola Italiana. They may also attend departmental lectures and film series and participate in the Italian Literary Contest.

Students who wish to practice Portuguese can meet weekly for the “bate-papo” (chat).

Study Abroad

The Study Abroad Office sponsors several yearlong, semester-long, and summer programs appropriate for students of the Romance languages and has special arrangements with the Department of Romance Studies for the UNC in Montpellier, UNC in Seville, and Florence programs. Students from UNC–Chapel Hill and from other institutions may earn up to 30 semester hours of undergraduate credit in these programs, which are open to qualified undergraduates regardless of academic major. Students may satisfy up to 50 percent of their major coursework abroad.

General inquiries concerning any of these programs should be addressed to the Study Abroad Office, CB# 3130, FedEx Global Education Center, (919) 962-7002.

Undergraduate Awards


Students have the opportunity to be inducted into Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society. Those with outstanding records in French are recommended as candidates for the Jacques Hardré Award, which is given to the best graduating senior in French; it includes a cash award.


Students are nominated for membership in Gamma Kappa Alpha, the Italian honor society, by undergraduate instructors. The society recognizes “outstanding scholastic performance in the fields of Italian language and literature” and encourages students “to acquire a greater interest in, and a deeper understanding of, Italian culture.” The Kimberly Kyser Award for Excellence in Italian is awarded to the most outstanding student in Italian and includes a cash prize.


Each year the department awards the Camões Prize to the outstanding student in Portuguese during that year. The prize carries a monetary award made possible by a donation from the Gulbenkian Foundation.


Students have the opportunity to be inducted into Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish honor society. Those with outstanding records in Spanish are recommended as candidates for the Stoudemire Award, which is given to the best graduating senior in Spanish and includes a cash prize. The Thomas Henry Wilson, Sr. Award provides an undergraduate with a major or minor in Spanish support to conduct research during the summer in a Spanish-speaking country.