In conjunction with the director, students select one specialization at the start of the program.

Students must fulfill the following minimum distribution requirements indicated for the specialization that they have chosen:

General Studies in Italian

  • 1 language course (unit) at the 500-level
  • 1 language or linguistics course (unit) at the 600-level
  • 2 units in civilization
  • 3 in literature

Students who plan to teach and who are completing the MA on the Bennington campus must also include one unit in methodology or professional preparation.

General Studies is meant for students who prefer not to specialize in one area of study. The courses required for this stream are culled from the other specializations.

Literary Studies

  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in literature
  • 3 units to be chosen from culture and communication and/or linguistics courses

Literary Studies focuses on the rich literary history of Italy from the Middle Ages until the present. General period courses are offered in addition to thematic, monographic, genre courses and critical theory courses.

Past courses

  • Tradition of the Italian Fable
  • Modes of Critical Theory
  • Exile and Migration in Contemporary Italian Literature
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Myth of Ulysses in Italian Literature
  • Being a Woman & Doing Theater
  • Italian Baroque Literature
  • Italo Calvino’s Fiction
  • Italian Political Novels & Thought
  • New Verses in Italian Contemporary Literature
  • The Italian Narrative of the last 20 years: Height and Decline of Postmodernism
  • Industrial Literature
  • Power and Success in the Renaissance
  • The Risorgimento
  • Verism: Giovanni Verga
  • Italian Political Theater

The Italian School hosts an Artist in Residence each summer who is active on campus teaching or lecturing or conducting workshops.

Past artists

  • Dacia Maraini
  • Gianni Vattimo
  • Helen Barolini
  • Mimmo Calopresti
  • Vittorio Taviani
  • Letizia Battaglia
  • Giose Rimanelli
  • Joseph Tusiani
  • Luigi Fontanella
  • Beppe Severgnini

Language and Linguistics

  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in linguistics
  • 3 units to be chosen from literature and/or culture and communication courses

Language and Linguistics deepens students’ knowledge of the storia della lingua italiana, the rich dialectal tradition of Italy, the philology of the Italian Language, Romance Languages, and Mediterranean Languages, in addition to courses on semiotics.

Past Courses

  • Cyber Lang and Adolescent Slang
  • Semiotic Theory and Practice, Dialects of Italy
  • Romance Philology
  • Italian for Business
  • Topics in the History of the Italian Language
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Social Linguistics
  • History of Italian Journalism

Pedagogy, Methodology, and Curriculum Development

  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in Pedagogy, Methodology and Curriculum Development, including one in Technology
  • 3 units to be chosen from literature, linguistics, and/or mass media courses

Pedagogy, Methodology, and Curriculum Development provides students with the necessary skills to become strong pedagogues and enhance their skills to create productive and successful language programs.

In addition to pedagogical courses, courses on the use of technology in the second language classroom will also be offered.

Past Courses

  • Teaching Italian
  • New Technologies for Learning and Teaching IFL I
  • New Technologies for Learning and Teaching IFL II
  • Using Cinema in the L2 Classroom
  • Teaching Prepositions
  • Business Italian


  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in culture
  • 3 units to be chosen from literature and/or linguistics courses

Italian Culture invites students to explore the various traditions and cultures present throughout the 20 regions of Italy through diverse lenses: thematic, regional, historical, folkloric, music, etc.

Past courses

  • Tarantismo in Southern Italy
  • Mangiare italiano
  • Politics and Society: Fascist Italy
  • History of Industrial Design
  • Modernity in Italy: 1860-1990
  • History & Evolution of Wine
  • The Actor’s Body: Italian Theater
  • Politics, Society, & Economy of Italy
  • Sex, Love and Betrayal in the Italian Opera Tradition Verdi’s Melodrama

Mass Media, Communications, and Cinema

  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in mass media, communication, or culture
  • 3 units to be chosen from literature and/or linguistics courses

Mass Media, Communication, and Cinema exposes students to a diverse, specific, and important aspect of Italy. Courses offered touch on linguistics, cinema theory, history of Italian cinema, and documentary film/filmmaking.

Past Courses

  • Comic and Poetic Charm of Totò
  • Taviani Brothers’ Cinema
  • Sound & Songs of Italian Cinema
  • Cinematic World of Roberto Rossellini
  • Cinematic World of Neorealism
  • The Mafia: Cinematic Perspectives
  • The Cinema of Francesco Rosi
  • Written, Spoken, Broadcasted Contemporary Italian
  • History of Italian Journalism

The Italian School hosts a director in residence each summer who teaches a course revolving around their artistic field.

Past Directors in Residence

  • Francesco Rosi
  • Giuseppe De Santis
  • Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Vittorio Taviani
  • Claudio Bondì
  • Mimmo Calopresti
  • Giovanna Taviani

Italian American Studies

  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in Italian American Studies
  • 3 units to be chosen from literature, linguistics, and/or mass media courses

Italian American Studies highlights the diaspora of Italians not only in the Americas but also throughout the world. Students engage in courses revolving around the history, literature, cinema, and language of the diverse migration movements including the present Italian American culture.

Past Courses

  • Italian American Studies
  • The Italian Diaspora
  • Italian/American Literature & Film
  • Italian American Literature After The Godfather
  • Italian American Dream and Italian Writers in the USA

Mediterranean Studies

  • 1 language or stylistics course (1 unit)
  • 5 units in Mediterranean Studies
  • 3 units to be chosen from literature, linguistics, and/or mass media courses

Mediterranean Studies enables students to develop insight into the history and culture that have shaped a vital region, helping them to interpret and address the complex issues of today’s world in the age of globalization. Topics will include literature, cinema, diverse religious backgrounds, history and art. This innovative program is designed for students seeking a career in International Affairs, Economic Development, Diplomacy, Politics, Economics, Journalism, or Education.

Past Courses

  • The Shoah in Italy: A Lexicon for Auschwitz: Primo Levi and Natalia Ginzburg
  • Mediterranean Culture
  • Mediterranean & Dante’s Divina Commedia
  • The Jewish Culture in Italy
  • Mediterranean Identity in the Arts
  • Understanding ‘The Southern Identity’
  • Italian Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature
  • Mediterranean Boccaccio
  • Mediterranean History
  • Arts, Civilization from the Cyclades to Modernity
  • Immigration in Italy and Europe
  • The Southern Question
  • National, European, and Mediterranean Identity