Why study Italian BA at UB?
Italian is spoken by more than 60 million people, mainly in Italy but also in Switzerland (in the Canton Ticino) by some half million speakers where it is one of the four official languages. Italian is also spoken by large communities in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, and South America (specifically in Argentina and in the south of Brazil where almost half of the population is of Italian origin). Our program develops an appreciation of Italian world cultures through an engaged study of language, literature, and film.
RLL's Italian program provides many ways for students to acquire or improve language proficiency, to explore various cultural aspects of Italy and of Italian world communities (including in the United States), and to gain a strong foundation in the study of Italian literature and film. Italian students are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a summer, a semester, or a full year. There are quality affordable SUNY programs throughout Italy.
Students who wish to earn teacher certification should contact the Teacher Education Institute in the Graduate School of Education, 367 Baldy Hall.
- Develop language competence and communicative strategies
- Apply knowledge of language history
- Identify and utilize linguistic core concepts
- Identify and analyze rhetorical strategies in different texts and genres
- Apply knowledge of cultural and theoretical contexts
- Locate and interpret sources and produce original research
- Incorporate sources and modes of analysis from multiple disciplines and media
- Appraise material critically
- Recognize and cultivate personal growth
The Learning Environment
Italian courses are taught in the target language from the first day of the first class. Every session is highly interactive, with students encouraged to speak several times, both spontaneously and when called on. In introductory classes, instructors model usage and pronunciation and the class repeats and practices until the new pattern is learned. As students move through the curriculum, their participation evolves; students perform original skits as well as scenes from established dramatic works, and in advanced classes they present their research findings to the class and respond to feedback, all in the target language. The RLL curriculum emphasizes language mastery as well as the development of analytical skill, literary analysis, and cultural knowledge. Current events, whether in Marseilles or Mexico City or Quebec or Rome, are a focus throughout the curriculum. Courses are small in size. Graduate teaching assistants or adjunct faculty staff most 100-level and some 200-level classes, and regular faculty staff virtually all 300- and 400-level courses.
About Our Facilities
RLL recently updated its departmental classroom to provide state-of-the-art audio visual technology for classroom presentations, lectures and films. The department also has a Québec Studies seminar room with specially dedicated materials and equipment available to support film study. A spacious conference room serves for meetings and oral exams. All regular classrooms are equipped with up-to-date computing and display technology and are linked by a T1 connection to the Internet. Secure wifi is ubiquitous on campus.
About Our Faculty
The breadth of faculty specializations in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and a pan-Romance model make for an actively interdisciplinary research and teaching agenda which promotes linguistic, literary, cultural, and visual literacies. We have emerging interests in Catalan and Portuguese, with cross-disciplinary strengths in Iberian and Latin American Studies, Francophone Canadian, Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Studies, Early Modern Studies, as well as Cultural, Postcolonial, Gender, Disability, and Urban and Landscape Studies, in addition to Poetry, Theater and Performance, Film, and Romance Linguistics. RLL faculty contribute to interdisciplinary initiatives such as UB’s Humanities Institute, the Gender Institute, the Early Modern Reading Group, Poetics and Canadian Studies.
RLL graduate students are productive and high achieving. They have successfully competed for UB Presidential scholarships; been short-listed for Fulbright and Ford fellowships; received CAS and Humanities Institute dissertation writing grants; had papers accepted in major disciplinary conferences articles accepted for publication at peer-reviewed journals. They organize an annual conference and publish its proceedings.
Full time tenured/tenure track RLL faculty: 15
Teaching assistants: 22
Adjunct faculty: 5-7
Faculty List Directory
Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.
Students who choose RLL and especially the Italian program as their main academic home at UB find a number of career opportunities open to them. Among graduates in the past decade, some have gone on to do graduate work, some have gone on to law school, and others have found positions in public service and secondary education. Whatever career appeals to graduating students, fluency in Italian will assuredly be an advantage.
Some fields in which RLL graduates have pursued careers include:
- Anthropology and linguistics
- Public relations
- Customs and immigration
- Diplomacy and foreign service
- Post-secondary and secondary education
- International student advisement
- International trade
- International relations
- Broadcast and print journalism
- Law and jurisprudence
- Public relations
- Federal civil service
- Social work
Department faculty advisors are available to consult with students for academic advising.
Academic Advising Contact Information
Students who are planning a major or minor in Italian, or who have questions about initial placement or study abroad integration or course planning, should always feel free to request an advisement appointment either using the online request form on the RLL website, or by e-mail to email@example.com. A faculty advisor will reply and provide guidance and suggestions.
Scholarships and Financial Support
The Linda Rock Scholarship is awarded twice annually to students majoring and sometimes minoring in Italian who have applied to and been accepted by a study abroad program. The award is granted on the basis of academic merit, but financial need can also be taken into consideration.
Majors in the Romance Languages have often participated in internships, serving as tutors in the Buffalo schools or working with international organizations in the region. More opportunities are in development. Students can collaborate with faculty on their research projects as well.
Students are strongly encouraged to study in Italy, ideally for an academic year or a semester. Study abroad programs sponsored by SUNY campuses, such as those in Rome, Florence, and Milan, are open to UB Italian students. Credits earned on those programs transfer seamlessly to UB. Detailed information is available on the Study Abroad website. Majors and minors may complete up to half their Italian requirements, and can satisfy general education requirements as well, via approved study abroad programs. The Department requires a pre-departure advisement session to establish anticipated curriculum and a confirmation advisement session post-return. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Department offers scholarships to help students finance their study abroad.
There are many opportunities to participate in out-of-class enrichment activities through the RLL department, including conversation groups and lectures. The Italian club sponsors events such as film screenings and a conversation table. Information on events and on the Italian club can be found on the department's website.
See the UB Student Association.
Honors and Awards
Departmental Honors are awarded to graduating students on the basis of their GPA.
Becoming a(n) Italian BA Student
Becoming a University at Buffalo Student
Admission to UB is highly competitive. For the 2016 incoming freshman class, UB reported an average ACT score of 24-30 and an average SAT (CR+M) score of 1100-1300. 90 percent of admitted students are in the top 50 percent of their class.
Admission to UB is based on a holistic review. We consider high school average, class rank, SAT (critical reading and math) or ACT scores, and strength of the high school academic record. A personal essay, recommendations, documented creative talent, demonstrated leadership, community service and special circumstances are also considered.
The following is not required for admission, but is suggested as adequate preparation for university-level coursework:
- Four years of English (with a substantial writing component)
- Four years of social studies
- Three years of college-preparatory science
- Three years of a second language
- Three years of college-preparatory mathematics
Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn more.
Freshman Admission to the Program
Entering freshmen who have a strong background in Italian may be eligible for immediate admission to the major. In the summer preceding their matriculation, they should take the placement test available on the RLL website and then write to firstname.lastname@example.org for placement advice. Early admission will ensure optimal planning for study abroad and other opportunities.
Transfer Admission to the Program
Transfer students who have a strong background in Italian may be eligible for immediate admission to the minor. In the summer preceding their matriculation, they should take the placement test available on the RLL website and then write to email@example.com for placement advice. Early admission will ensure optimal planning for study abroad and other opportunities. Coursework in Italian taken at other institutions may be eligible for transfer credit, and articulation can be checked on the TAURUS website.
Current UB Students Applying to the Program
UB students are eligible for admission to the Italian major if they have completed or at least begun the prerequisites. Early admission to the major will ensure optimal planning for study abroad and other opportunities, such as internships or studies combining language and other fields.
Suggested Introductory Courses
- ITA 207 for students who have already completed intermediate-level work (ITA 151 and ITA 152 or the equivalent in high school or elsewhere)
- ITA 151 LEC and ITA 152 for students who have completed the introductory year (ITA 101 and ITA 102) OR the refresher course (ITA 104) or the equivalent in high school or elsewhere
- ITA 104 for students who have studied some Italian but need a refresher course before proceeding to the intermediate level
- ITA 101 and ITA 102 for students who have never studied Italian before
Completing the Italian BA Program
In order to be accepted into the Italian major, joint major, or minor, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 overall, and must complete prerequisite courses ITA 151 and ITA 152 (unless these are waived on the basis of placement results), earning a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all Italian coursework. Students who have taken no Italian before coming to UB will need to complete ITA 101 and 102 before enrolling in ITA 151. Students who have studied some Italian but who need a refresher course will need to complete ITA 104 before enrolling in ITA 151.
Graduation requirements for the Italian major (and the double major) consist of completion of one 200-level course and seven 300- or 400-level courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Among these courses, the following are required: ITA 207 and ITA 322.
Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in the 200-level through the 400-level courses is necessary for successful completion of the major.
Transfer Credit Policy
SUNY Seamless Transfer Path
SUNY Seamless Transfer is a SUNY-wide program intended to facilitate transfer from one SUNY campus to another (including UB). SUNY has identified courses which SUNY students can take before transferring which will apply to the major at UB and promote timely graduation. Information about the Transfer Path for this major can be found on the SUNY Website. Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisor or department to learn how their coursework will apply to their degree.
The department’s residency requirement stipulates that at least 50% of required credits for a major or minor be completed via Italian courses taken on campus. Thus a maximum of 50% of credits earned by exams (AP, IB, etc.) or transfer courses or study abroad may count toward Italian requirements, although this restriction does not prevent counting them as general electives towards UB’s 120 credit hour graduation requirement. The following chart explains the credit breakdown:
| || Total Credits Required || Total credits taken on campus to fulfill the residency requirement |
| Regular Major ||24 ||12|
| Joint Major ||21 ||12|
| Minor ||12 ||6|
ITA 151 Intermediate Italian 1st semester
ITA 152 Intermediate Italian 2nd semester
Students who have taken no prior Italian classes should enroll first in ITA 101 Elementary Italian 1st Semester, followed by ITA 102 Elementary Italian 2nd Semester, before undertaking the prerequisite courses.
Students who have had only one or two years of high school Italian, or who have not studied Italian in several years, should instead prepare by taking ITA 104 , a one-semester refresher course which prepares students for ITA 151. In contrast, students who do not need the introductory, refresher, or intermediate courses may, with the permission of the Department, begin immediately at the 200 level. Students with prior training should take the online placement test linked from the RLL website, and then request advisement by sending e-mail to the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITA 207 Italian Conversation and Composition
ITA 322 Advanced Italian Grammar, Composition, and Conversation (which also fulfills the Communication Literacy / CL2 requirement)
Six additional 300- or 400-level electives
Note: Three courses for the major may fulfill the UB Curriculum Global Pathway requirement through the Language and Culture track. Alternatively, courses for the major may help fulfill the Global Reflection track or the International Experience track of the Global Pathway. Please use the Pathfinder tool to learn more about sequences and options.
Departmental Honors Requirements
Departmental Honors are awarded to graduating students on the basis of their GPA.
Total Credit Hours Required
|Requirements || 24 |
|Total Credits Required for Major**|| 30|
|Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum || 31 |
|Additional Credits Required for Electives || 59 |
|Total Credits Required for Degree ||120|
**These totals may vary depending on the level at which the student begins study at UB. Students demonstrably prepared to begin at the 200 level are deemed to have satisfied the prerequisites, and for them the total credits required for the major are thus 24 rather than 30, and the credits from electives should then add up to 65. In contrast, a student who has never taken Italian will take 16 hours of prerequisites rather than 6. The total credits required for the major for such students will be 40, and the number of hours of electives will be 49.
See Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for general education and remaining university requirements.
Curricular Plan / Degree Map
View the curricular plan for the Italian BA (PDF) which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.