Language & Culture
Mount Saint Mary's College

Language & Culture

Italian Studies

Italian at Mount St. Mary’s

Why Study Italian?

Italy is one of the top five economies in the world, and many employers are seeking candidates who speak both Italian and English. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Many Italian firms have offices in the U.S., especially in the Detroit metropolitan area. Therefore, knowing Italian is greatly beneficial in several career fields. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment.
There are also cultural reasons. According to UNESCO, over 60% of the world's art treasures are found in Italy. Some of the most famous Western artists, from Giotto to Michelangelo, were Italian. Knowledge of Italian is vital to understand the contexts of this art. Furthermore, music, cinema, fashion and design, architecture, medicine, education and cooking and sports can all be enhanced by the study of Italian 

Italian majors pursue careers in a variety of fields, including education, business, computer programming and web design, law, public relations, journalism, telecommunications, arts administration, publishing, library science, politics, or public and environmental affairs, to name but a few. Some students also use their language skills in order to enter government employment or the military. In all cases, students report back to us that their training in Italian significantly enhanced their professional and academic opportunities. Italian is spoken by 55 million people in Italy and 62 million people throughout the world. Italy has the 7th largest economy in the world and is a major political force in Europe.

Studying Italian will help you in several areas:

Communication Skills: In many careers and free-time activities, you will find it beneficial to communicate with people who are native Italian speakers. In any realm of business, it always pays to know the client's language. Italian instruction also encourages you to think about important details of language usage which may not have occurred to you before, thereby improving your writing and speaking skills in English as well.

Travel: To travel to Italy and experience the essence of Italian culture, knowledge of the Italian language is essential. They only skim the surface and show you what someone else thinks you should see. To truly get to know Italy it takes more time and, above all, Italian language skills.

Jobs in Business: As more and more businesses are "going global" by opening offices throughout the world, knowledge of Italian is an increasingly important asset when applying for jobs. 

Jobs in Government: In the fields of diplomacy and trade, the federal government is always seeking qualified applicants with Italian language skills. If you see international conferences and negotiations in your future, you'd better learn one or more languages now.

Research: No matter the area of specialization, knowledge of Italian is not only helpful, but often necessary for academic, business, or social research. Translations are not always correct or even available.

Art and Culture: No matter how good the translation, inevitably some meaning is lost in the process. Therefore, to fully appreciate the richness of Italian literature, theater, opera, and films, knowledge of the language is essential. 

Self-Fulfillment: Learning Italian is a big accomplishment which brings with it great satisfaction and added confidence. In addition, immersion in a foreign culture can open whole new avenues of self-exploration and personal growth.

Intellectual Stimulation: Learning Italian enhances your skills in analyzing, discussing, and categorizing information and ideas.


Elementary Italian 1
Development of language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing; structural analysis. Emphasis placed on speaking.

Elementary Italian 2
Development of language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing; structural analysis. Emphasis placed on speaking.

Italian for Spanish Speakers - 105
Introductory course on the fundamentals skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing that also focuses on similarities and differences between Italian and Spanish. 

Intermediate Italian – 3/103
Structural review, conversation, reading, and writing.
Intermediate Italian – 4/104
Structural review, conversation, reading, and writing.
Italian Culture and Civilization - 112
General study of Italy from earliest times to the present; its cultural, social, economic and political evolution; its present problems and its role in the world today.

Third year readings in Italian (course taught in English)- 106
Reading of authentic Italian literary texts: emphasis on vocabulary expansion and pronunciation.

Italian Diction for singers -107
Fundamentals of Italian phonetics and diction as applied to singing. Interdisciplinary subject: Music department. 

Italian literature (course taught in English) -108
Fundamentals of Italian literature: poems, sonnets, novels, short stories. Writers to present: Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Manzoni, Levi among others. Interdisciplinary subject: Linguistics/ Literature department.