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.
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.
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.
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, and articles accepted for publication at peer-reviewed journals. They organize an annual conference and publish its proceedings.
Full time tenured/tenure track RLL faculty: 16
Teaching assistants: 22
Adjunct faculty: 8
Please visit the Romance Languages and Literatures 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, proficiency 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.
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 Romance Languages and Literatures website, or Email Romance Languages and Literatures . An advisor will reply with guidance and suggestions.
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.