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BA Italian Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

Our BA Italian Studies gives you advanced Italian language skills together with an in-depth understanding of Italian culture and society taught by a range of specialists within these fields.

We also offer linguistics options for those interested in the history of the Italian language and its dialects.

Language courses are taught by native speakers and involve comprehension, translation, grammar and oral work.

You will spend your third year studying or working abroad in Italy. You can choose to complete work placements or teach English in schools as part of the British Council assistantship scheme. Alternatively, you can take advantage of our popular study exchanges, which currently include Bergamo, Bologna, Naples, Perugia and Siena.

In addition, Flexible Honours may allow you to study an additional arts, languages or cultures subject.

Aims

Our BA Italian Studies aims to:

  • Deepen your understanding of Italian culture, history, politics, linguistics and literature, from the medieval period to the present day.
  • Provide you with a comprehensive grounding in the Italian language.
  • Equip you with the skills and expertise needed to thrive in an Italian-speaking environment.

Special features

Residence abroad

You can study and/or work for up to a year in Italy to improve your communicative language skills in a native-speaker environment.

Collaborations and partnerships

The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:

  • Instituto Cervantes - a centre for Spanish culture
  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film
  • Alliance Francaise - home of French language and culture.

Societies

The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

Learn from award-winning staff

Colleagues in Italian have won University Teaching Excellence awards and are regularly nominated for the annual Student Union teaching awards. They have also been recognized nationally for their innovative use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and for their research.

Teaching and learning

You'll learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

The language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.

For every hour of university study, you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre.

Language learning

In Year 1, Italian language instruction is divided between 'ab initio' and post-A-level groups (with the majority of students being beginners).

'Ab initio' students have four contact hours per week with their nominated mother-tongue teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Post-A-level students have 3 hours of consolidating and building competency on specific language points.

In addition, all Level 1 students have a further hour of Italian linguistics teaching, introducing them to the history and structures of the Italian language.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • presentations;
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research);
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.

Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 Italian language teaching is divided between complete beginners (ab initio) and post-A-level.

Ab initio students have four contact hours per week with their nominated Italian teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Post-A-level students have 3 hours consolidating and building competency on specific language points. All first year students also have an additional linguistics hour, introducing them to the history and structures of the Italian language.

The Italian culture units cover topics ranging from the filmic and literary to the historic and linguistic, all of which reflect academic staff research interests.

Year 1 is specifically designed to begin furnishing candidates with the tools to enable them to read cultural products with confidence, be they texts, pictures, buildings or linguistic constructions.

Single honours students follow a personalised programme of additional textual studies in Italian chosen from a list of options. This course unit is taught via a combination of small-group workshops, individual supervisions and independent research.

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 20 Mandatory
Reading Italy: Medieval to Modern ITAL10500 20 Mandatory
Italian Project ITAL10600 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 1 ITAL51011 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 2 ITAL51022 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 3 ITAL51030 20 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

The language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.

Course unit options range from medieval and Renaissance culture and literature, including Dante, Boccaccio, and women writers, to Italian Fascism, the Economic Boom (1960s), and the Years of Lead (1970s) studied through film. We also offer units on sociolinguistics and Italian dialects.

Most culture units involve three contact hours per week and are augmented by materials and content placed in the units' Blackboard virtual learning environment.

The units are mostly assessed using a variety of forms from coursework to essays, commentaries and book reviews to class presentations and blog posts.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Italian Language 4 ITAL51040 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 5 ITAL51050 20 Mandatory
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20502 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21011 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions in Italy.

Course content for year 4

You will return to Manchester to complete your studies. There is the opportunity to attend classes on Italy's society and culture taught in the target language by native speaker tutors.

You will also be able to undertake a research-orientated dissertation in Italian (often using the primary sources held in the Rylands Library, which has outstanding Italian holdings), and have the opportunity to participate in the Italian department's mentoring and outreach work.

The language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Italian Language 6 ITAL51060 20 Mandatory
Dissertation in Italian Studies ITAL30000 40 Optional
Introduction to the History of the Book ITAL30431 20 Optional
Travellers' Tales: Italy in the British Imagination ITAL30582 20 Optional
Topics in Romance Linguistics ITAL32001 20 Optional

What our students say

My student experience has been amazing so far! Welcome week was great. It was very pleasing to see that there were a lot of different activities to include people with different interests.

Brigitta Darko, French and Italian BA

Facilities

The  University Language Centre  is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms and resources for over 70 languages.

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners.

Learn more on the  Facilities  page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk