Italian BA (Hons)

Key information


Italian Studies at Liverpool is a rapidly growing subject and is now available as a Single Honours, Major, Joint or Minor subject. As Major, Joint or Minor subject, Italian can be studied in combination with both linguistic and non-language subjects to offer you the benefits and enhanced employability that language skills and intercultural awareness provide.

The Italian language carries an unparalleled cultural capital. Whilst according to UNESCO over 60% of the world’s art treasures are found in Italy, around the world the long history of Italian migration underlies food, arts, sport, fashion, tourism and heritage industries in millions of local enterprises and ventures. Italian culture is truly global and testifies to the human passion for learning and making art, beauty and history.

Italian at Liverpool has a distinctive approach to help you become highly proficient in Italian and critically understand its history and culture: one that develops the ability of students to engage confidently with Italian language, history and culture inside and outside Italy, in the Italian peninsula as well as in the context in which students live and study.

By learning about history, sociolinguistics, film and literature through the lens of Italian, our students develop a crucial set of linguistic and cultural skills to navigate the transcultural processes of the of the world in which they live.

In close association with staff’s research expertise and interests, modules explore Italian language – including translation and interpreting – linguistics, cultural history, cinema, contemporary fiction, popular culture, post-colonial and transcultural studies. Extracurricular activities include film screenings and social activities as well as an annual Italian themed public event, the Lucrezia Zaina Bequest Lecture, which brings to Liverpool inspiring contemporary figures associated with Italian culture from around the world.

The Italian subject group at Liverpool consists predominantly of tutors and language assistants with Italian as their first language. We continue to work on the expansion of both academic and business links with Italy to assist during the Year Abroad.

Programme in detail

At the University of Liverpool, Italian may be taken after A-level education (or equivalent) or as a beginner language where no previous qualifications in and/or knowledge of Italian are necessary. You will study beginners or intermediate (post A-level or equivalent) language modules as appropriate, refreshing and extending your knowledge of Italian if you start as an intermediate, or taking Italian to A-level standard during the course of the first year through our fast-moving programme if you start as a beginner. In Year One you will study appropriate language modules as well as foundational modules which serve as a broad introduction to the literary, cultural, film, linguistic and historical modules offered in the subsequent years of the degree. You will also take a ‘Language awareness’ module in the first year which is designed to support your language learning by sensitising you to issues in language and linguistics, and a ‘Texts and context’ module which develops your research skills through a portfolio of tasks structured around a chosen text or film. Studying Italian, students have the opportunity to engage with the full range of media studied in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures – texts and films, comics and graphic novels – and develop confident skills as authors, editors and readers.

During your second and final year you will take language modules plus cultural options which have a strong emphasis on both modern and contemporary Italy, and on the place of Italy in Europe and the world.

For students taking Italian at 100% you will follow a research pathway in your second and final year which culminates in a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

You will spend one year in Italy as an assistant in a school, a student at a partner university or on an independent work placement. If you combine Major Italian with a Minor in another language, you may choose to split the Year Abroad between Italy and another country.

Study as part of joint-honours at 50:50 Choosing this subject as a combined degree

Split your degree between the study of Italian language and cultures and another subject of your choice.

Split your degree between the study of Italian language and cultures and another subject of your choice.

Study as part of joint-honours at 25:75Choosing this subject as a Minor

When you split your degree between Italian and another subject area, you will study an Italian language module, at beginners or advanced level, and a cultural module per semester, alongside two other modules in your other subject.

If you combine Italian with a non-language subject, you will spend the Year Abroad in Italy as an assistant in a school, as a student at a university or on a work placement. If you combine Italian with another language, you will split the year between two countries.

Department Key Facts

Number of first year students

124 Year One undergraduates in 2018

UK league tables

Ranked 19th for Modern Languages in the Guardian University Guide 2018

Department resources

The Department has recently moved to a fully-refurbished Grade I listed building in the beautiful Georgian Abercromby Square. We have our own Language Lounge which is stocked with language-learning resources and provides a beautiful and contemplative environment for group work or private study. It has five PCs specialising in language learning programmes. We have our own Modern Language film collection which is available to students for loan.

Research performance

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) graded 72% of our staff publications as world-leading or internationally excellent with the remaining 28% considered to be of recognised international quality. This ranks us above Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford and Exeter.

Why this subject?

Learn a language the Liverpool way

At Liverpool, you can choose which level to learn at with confidence, knowing we are specialists in teaching languages to all levels. Beginners will benefit from our years of experience in accompanying students in their first steps in their chosen language; advanced students will see their knowledge broadened and deepened.

Access new facilities

Our fully-refurbished Language Lounge is the centre of departmental life. It is a lively place where you can work on your language skills with the aid of online resources, watch foreign-language films, meet someone for a chat in your chosen language or simply settle down with “un espresso”.

Experience our ‘connected’ Liverpool curriculum

Our teaching is informed by partnerships with organisations across and outside the university. As part of your modules, you may visit an exhibition, deliver a language taster in a school, do an internship in one of our partner organisations, or interview a film maker. Our department routinely organises visits by award-winning writers, directors and translators who will share valuable insights into their work and we recently received a University Learning and Teaching award for enriching the experience of students in and beyond the classroom.

Broaden your understanding of language and culture with a year abroad

You’ll spend your third year teaching English, attending university, completing a work placement or working for a non-government organisation (NGO) in one or more countries relevant to the language or languages you are studying. A reduced fee is payable for the year which you spend abroad. If you are studying two languages you will normally split the year between two countries.

Higher than average salaries

Did you know that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) say that students who study abroad as part of their studies are more likely to be in further education or employment six months after graduating and to earn higher than average salaries, and that they are more likely to graduate with a 2.1 or First Class degree?