Studying Italian at UCD


Italy and its people have always contributed in significant ways not only to the arts but also to political theory, science, literature, and other expressions of human creativity.  Think, for instance, about the important period of the Renaissance and about the well-known names of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Galileo.  But the significance of Italy and its contributions is not limited to the past.  You may have seen an Italian movie that has captured your imagination, perhaps La dolce vita by Federico Fellini, La vita è bella [Life Is Beautiful] by Roberto Benigni, or Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore. You may have read fiction by Umberto Eco, Primo Levi or Italo Calvino.  Or you may have heard about Rita Levi Montalcini, 1986 Medicine Nobel Prize recipient.  You may not know, though, that Italy is the ninth-largest economy in the world and the fourth largest in Europe. Italian culture and creativity continue to influence our global world and to contribute to everyday life in numerous ways.

The Italian Program offers you the opportunity to become fluent in one of the most beautiful languages while exploring its culture in interdisciplinary perspective.  For example, in one of the culture classes, you will become acquainted with Italian society in transition toward a multicultural identity.  In film courses, you will better understand Italian society and history through the lens of the crucial contributions to world cinema that Italian filmmakers have made, from Neorealism to the vibrant productions of the last ten years.  In literature courses you will read and discuss such lasting and influential masterpieces as Dante’s Divine Comedy, Machiavelli’s The Prince, or Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.  Along with achieving linguistic and cultural competence, as an Italian major or minor you will also acquire important skills that are vital in any professional setting:  critical analysis, interpersonal skills, effective writing, creative expression, and cultural sensitivity. In a world in which ‘sharing’ has become the key word, you will find it useful to know Italian, even if you do not major in it, regardless of what your interests are – design, viticulture and enology, food science, political science, art, medicine, history…
Click here for student perspectives on why to study Italian


Certamente! Most Italian majors have one additional major, and sometimes even two. The Italian curriculum requires the completion of only 9 upper-division courses (36 units) for the Major and 5 upper-division courses (20 units) for the Minor, making it a perfect accompaniment to most other majors in the humanities, social sciences, and even in science and engineering.


The faculty members in the Italian Program ( are engaged scholars, experienced teachers, and devoted mentors in their fields of research and teaching, including literature, film, culture, and language.  While the Italian Program at UC Davis is one of the largest Italian undergraduate programs in the UC system, Italian students in both our upper and lower division courses enjoy all the advantages of a small classroom setting.  It is, therefore, possible for students of Italian language and culture to know their professors well and to receive individual attention – a rare opportunity in a large university today.   Please do not hesitate to get in touch via email with any member of the Italian Program if you would like to know more about Italian at UC Davis!


Students (both majors and non-majors) interested in immersing themselves in today’s Italy are strongly encouraged to spend a quarter, semester, or year abroad either through the UC Davis-specific, 16-week-long, Intensive Language and Culture Quarter Abroad Program in Florence ( and the 4-week-long Summer Abroad Culture Program in Rome (, or through the UC-wide Education Abroad Program in Bologna, Milan, Florence, and Rome (  
Italy is awaiting you! L’Italia ti aspetta!


The Italian curriculum provides solid foundations for a variety of career paths by developing linguistic and cultural proficiency and strengthening students’ habits of critical thinking, effective writing, and cross-cultural communication.  According to a recent departmental survey, our alumni include physicians, attorneys, fashion designers, college professors, high-school teachers, professional artists, entrepreneurs and diplomatic service employees.

The Italian Program takes pride in offering credit-bearing tutoring and internship opportunities on campus and abroad while you study in Italy.  Our Program also sponsors C.I.A.O. (Club Italiano Americano Organizzato), the UC Davis active Italian student-run club.