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About Italian

The Italian section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers undergraduate students the opportunity to study Italian language from the elementary level through advanced composition and grammar, as well as literature, film, and cultural studies.  See this page for information about requirements for the Minor or Major.  For course offerings, see this page.  Feel free to contact any of the Italian faculty to talk about studying Italian.

The Italian Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins emphasizes work in three complementary areas: literary history, textual analysis, and theory of interpretation, with a focus on the study of evolving cultures of literacy from manuscripts to film to emerging digital cultures.  Specializations involving other languages, literatures, and humanistic disciplines can also be arranged.  For a list of the Italian faculty and their specializations, see this page.  For graduate admission requirements, see here.  For a list of current graduate students, see here.

Ph.D. Courses

Along with seminars in Italian studies, students take courses outside their field of specialization in areas such as linguistic and literary theory, comparative literature, philosophy, history of art, and history of science. Students will also demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least two other languages besides English. Training in research and methods includes a variety of activities held at the Special Collections of the University Library.  


Teacher training and teaching practice are an essential part of the Italian graduate program. Supervised teaching is required of degree candidates in every year but the fourth. Opportunities outside of language instruction for teaching include teaching the undergraduate survey Italian Journeys, intersession and summer courses of the student’s on design, and the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship.

Study abroad

Graduate students normally devote the fourth year of study to research in Italy for their dissertations. Travel grants are available through the department (Singleton Travel Fellowships) and through the Charles Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe. Our students benefit from a variety of graduate exchange programs with prestigious institutions such as the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Università di Venezia, the University of Oxford, the University of Warwick.


Recent graduates of the PhD program in Italian have tenured or tenure-track appointments at Pace U., Fordham U., Georgetown U., Syracuse U., the U. of Delaware, Villanova U., Ghent U., and Trinity College, Dublin. Hopkins graduates in Italian Studies have also secured post-doctoral positions, such as the Marie Curie Fellowship.


The Italian program runs a series of invited talks as well as film screenings and panel discussions with authors, directors, artists, performers, and other professionals. Our students organize graduate conferences, and collaborate on interdisciplinary and digital projects, advocacy, and new directions in academic research throughout the University. Graduate students are also part of the editorial team for Modern Language Notes, one of the most prestigious journals in the field..