Department of Romance Studies

Interdepartmental Program in Italian Studies

Minor in Italian Studies

The Italian Studies minor at Brandeis offers you the opportunity to focus on the cultural heritage of Italy from the inception of the Italian language to the present day. The study of Italy's language and creative achievements enables you to explore another culture in depth in preparation for study abroad and eventual graduate work or related opportunities in the workplace.

Why Brandeis?

Italian studies provides a minor and an independent major (through an Independent Interdisciplinary Major or IIM) for those who wish to extend their study of Italian beyond language and culture to areas of Italian literature, history, film, art history, and music. The study of Italian within a variety of cultural contexts enables you to deepen your understanding of Italian culture beyond the boundaries of a single time frame, region, gender, genre, or academic discipline. You will work closely with an advisor to develop an individualized plan of study that balances the exploration of a broad range of topics and sectors with a focus on a single discipline or cultural period.

Independent Interdisciplinary Major (IIM)

Students interested in the IIM option in Italian Studies should visit the Office of Academic Services website for application information and discuss various options with the Italian Studies faculty members.


The IIM Proposal in Italian Studies consists of 4 parts:

  1. Cover sheet, signed by the student and the Undergraduate Advising Head in Italian Studies

  2. Completed proposed curriculum for the Independent Interdisciplinary Major

  3. Written proposal (2-3 pages)

The written proposal should address:

  • A description of how the major contributes to your intellectual development.

  • A discussion of the curriculum and how the courses contribute to your course of study.

  • (Optional): A description of your post-Brandeis plans.

  1. Letter of approval
    • This letter is written by the primary advisor, Paola Servino, in support of your proposal and your ability to be successful in the Italian Studies IIM.
    • This letter should be signed by Prof. Paola Servino and one of two other faculty members in Italian Studies: Ramie Targoff or Silvia Monteleone.

Visit the Academic Advising website to learn more about declaring an Independent Interdisciplinary Major.


The IIM consists of 9 semester courses:

  1. One or two advanced language and culture course(s): ITAL 105a and/or ITAL 106a.

  2. Three or four upper-level courses in Italian: ITAL 110a, 120b, 128a, or 134b.

  3. Three or four electives listed below or other courses on Italian-related culture approved by the student’s Italian Studies advisor. No more than two elective courses can be from the same department.

    • An Italian Studies IIM student who wishes to do an internship in an Italian environment may enroll in ITAL 92a (Internship and Analysis) as one of their electives. Students arrange their own internships with prior permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.

  4. Senior Capstone Experience: Students must complete either a one-semester independent study (ITAL 98a or ITAL 98b) or a two-semester senior thesis (IIM 99d).

The total number of courses for the major must add up to 9 courses. If students choose the senior thesis option, students must take 2 semesters of 99d, for a total of 10 courses.

  1. Foundational Literacies: As part of completing the Italian Studies major, students must:
    • Fulfill the writing intensive requirement by successfully completing one of the following: ITAL 134b, CLAS 115b, CLAS 120a, CLAS 121b, CLAS 140a, CLAS 165a, COML 103b, FA 191b, HIST 131a, HIST 140a, or HIST 170a.
    • Fulfill the oral communication requirement by successfully completing one of the following: ITAL 105a, ITAL 106a, ITAL 110a, or ITAL 128a.
    • Fulfill the digital literacy requirement by successfully completing one of the following: HIST 140a or HIST 170a.

Foundational Literacy requirements are satisfied as part of the 9 or 10 courses used to complete the major.

Special Notes Relating to Undergraduates

Students are strongly encouraged to study abroad during their junior year for either one or two semesters. Equivalent or appropriate courses taken abroad may count toward the IIM. Students who are unable to engage in study abroad are encouraged to avail themselves of relevant courses offered by consortium institutions in the Boston area (principally, Wellesley College, Boston College, Boston University, Tufts University).

No more than two courses taken for the Italian Studies IIM can double-count toward any other single major or minor.


To be considered for departmental honors upon graduation, students must successfully complete two semesters of IIM 99d, and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in all Italian Studies courses. Departmental honors are awarded based on cumulative excellence in all courses taken in the major, including the thesis.

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