Italian Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The graduate program offers in-depth training in the field of Italian Studies, leading to the PhD degree. The program begins with a strong foundation in the critical analysis and historical understanding of Italian literature and encourages exploration of a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas. These include (but are not limited to) film studies; comparative literature; literary, rhetorical, and cultural theory; gender studies; history; anthropology; history of art and music; architecture; classics; political science; medieval and early modern studies; and Romance languages and literature.

The Department of Italian Studies offers an integrated MA/PhD program, in which the MA constitutes the first phase in a trajectory leading to the PhD. Applications are not accepted for the MA degree alone. Students holding a master’s degree or the equivalent in Italian Studies and related fields from other institutions may be admitted directly to the second phase of the program.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

We select our graduate students on the basis of their record of academic achievement in the past, and their promise of future success in scholarship and teaching. A bachelor's degree in Italian is preferred but not absolutely required for admission; however, applicants with degrees in other fields must have already undertaken significant coursework in Italian studies.

We accept applications from students holding a bachelor’s degree from Berkeley or elsewhere, and from those who hold a master’s degree or Italian Laurea.  Applicants from Italy should also be aware of the significant differences between the PhD degree and the dottorato di ricerca. 

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Normative Time Requirements

Total Normative Time

Total normative time is six years.

Curriculum

ITALIAN 205Proseminar I: Italian Literary Studies2,4
ITALIAN 290A
ITALIAN 290B
Graduate Colloquium in Italian Studies
and Graduate Colloquium in Italian Studies
4
Select three ITALIAN graduate courses from the following historical periods:
13th-14th Centuries
15th-16th Centuries
17th-18th Centuries
19th-20th Centuries
ITALIAN 282Prospectus Tutorial4
ITALIAN 302Practicum in College Teaching of Italian2-4
ITALIAN 303Practicum in the Teaching of Italian Literature, History, and Culture2-4
ITALIAN 375Seminar in Language Pedagogy4

Courses

Italian Studies

ITALIAN C201 Linguistic History of the Romance Language 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Fall 2011, Fall 2009
Linguistic development of the major Romance languages (French, Italian, and Spanish) from the common Latin origin. Comparative perspective, combining historical grammar and external history.

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ITALIAN C203 Comparative Studies in Romance Literatures and Cultures 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Spring 2014, Fall 2012
Topics will vary. Comparative studies in literary, cultural, or historical issues that cut across the literatures of the Romance languages.

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ITALIAN 204 Contemporary Trends in Critical Theory 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2013
This course is designed to provide the student with a general view of the major developments in contemporary criticism and an opportunity to apply critical methods to literary texts. One oral report and a final paper.

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ITALIAN 205 Proseminar I: Italian Literary Studies 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015, Fall 2013
This course introduces the study of Italian literature in its historical scope, while presenting the range of research interests represented on the Italian Studies faculty. Required of all Master of Arts candidates.

Proseminar I: Italian Literary Studies: Read More [+]

ITALIAN 212 Seminar on Dante 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2013
Studies in the and other works.

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ITALIAN 215 Seminar in Renaissance Literature and Culture 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Investigation of major topics, genres, and authors in Italian literature and culture of the 15th and 16th centuries.

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ITALIAN 230 Seminar in 19th Century Literature and Culture 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2014, Spring 2013, Fall 2009
Investigation of major topics, genres, and figures in Italian literature and culture of the 19th century.

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ITALIAN 235 Seminar in 20th Century Literature and Culture 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Investigation of major topics, genres, and authors in Italian literature and culture of the 20th century.

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ITALIAN 244 Special Topics in Genre and Mode 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2011, Spring 2010
Investigation of significant genres and modes of writing as they recur in the course of Italian cultural history.

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ITALIAN 248 Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Italian Studies 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Investigation of topics in Italian cultural history from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Italian Studies: Read More [+]

ITALIAN 260 Directed Readings in Italian Literature and Culture 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Directed readings undertaken under the direction of a faculty member of the department of Italian Studies in conjunction with an audit of a 100-series seminar.

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ITALIAN 270 Seminar Research Course 1 Unit

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Directed research leading to the writing of a term paper under the direction of an Italian Studies department faculty member. Requires concurrent enrollment in a 100-series seminar.

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ITALIAN 282 Prospectus Tutorial 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Directed reading course leading to the production of a formal dissertation prospectus with detailed bibliography. Course is required for all Doctor of Philosophy candidates.

Prospectus Tutorial: Read More [+]

ITALIAN 290A Graduate Colloquium in Italian Studies 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
Reports on current scholarly work by faculty and graduate students.

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ITALIAN 290B Graduate Colloquium in Italian Studies 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Reports on current scholarly work by faculty and graduate students.

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ITALIAN 298 Special Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 10 Week Session, Spring 2017
Designed to allow students to do research in areas not covered by other courses. Requires regular discussions with the instructor and a final written report.

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ITALIAN 299 Directed Research 6 - 12 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Limited to students engaged in research for the doctoral dissertation.

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ITALIAN N299 Directed Research 3 - 6 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 10 Week Session, Summer 2016 10 Week Session, Summer 2015 10 Week Session
Limited to students engaged in research for the doctoral dissertation.

Directed Research: Read More [+]

ITALIAN 302 Practicum in College Teaching of Italian 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016

Practicum in College Teaching of Italian: Read More [+]

ITALIAN 303 Practicum in the Teaching of Italian Literature, History, and Culture 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Three hours of classroom teaching per week with regular faculty supervision; attendance at faculty lectures where appropriate; routine meetings to discuss and evaluate teaching methods, including lecturing, discussion, classroom activities, grading and testing, design of syllabi and course materials.

Practicum in the Teaching of Italian Literature, History, and Culture: Read More [+]

ITALIAN 375 Seminar in Language Pedagogy 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
Required of all graduate student instructors in their first semester of teaching. This course provides instruction on the theory and practice of foreign language teaching and learning with lectures on methodology, testing, grading, class preparation, textbook selection and evaluation, course design and development, and the use of audio-visual and computer aids to instruction. A final research paper is required. It also includes supervised classroom
practice.
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ITALIAN 601 Individual Studies for M.A. Candidates 1 - 8 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Individual study in consultation with faculty member with a view to the M.A. comprehensive examination. May be taken only in the semester of the comprehensive examination.

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ITALIAN 602 Individual Studies for Doctoral Students 1 - 8 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Individual study in consultation with a faculty adviser. Intended to provide an opportunity for qualified students to prepare for the Ph.D. qualifying examination. May be taken only in the semester of the qualifying examination.

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Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Albert Russell Ascoli, Professor. Italy, national identity, literature and history, Dante, authorship and authority, Ariosto, Machiavelli, Petrarch, Boccaccio, epic and romance, Renaissance, early modern, Middle Ages.
Research Profile

Steven Botterill, Associate Professor. Italian literature and culture, Dante.
Research Profile

Mia Fuller, Associate Professor. Anthropology, Italy, fascism, urban design, architecture, Italian colonialism.
Research Profile

Henrike Lange, Assistant Professor.

Diego Pirillo, Associate Professor. Renaissance Europe, History of Books and Reading, history of political thought, History of Historiography.
Research Profile

Barbara Spackman, Professor. Feminist theory, psychoanalysis, culture, fascism, gender studies, comparative literature, Italian studies, narrative, European decadence, travel writing.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Anna M. Bellezza, Lecturer.

Danielle Callegari, Lecturer.

Stanley Levers, Lecturer.

Mara Mauri Jacobsen, Lecturer.

Giuliana Perco, Lecturer.

Marina Romani, Lecturer.

Avy Valldares, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Gavriel Moses, Professor Emeritus. Violence, body, comparative literature, Italian studies, film studies, English literatures, philology, film making, Italian cinema history & genres, auteur effects in Antonioni Kieslowski & Rohmer, cultural objects in cinema, novels on film, love.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Italian Studies

6303 Dwinelle Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720-2620

Phone: 510-642-2704

Fax: 510-642.6220

issa@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Barbara Spackman, PhD

6323 Dwinelle Hall

spackman@berkeley.edu

Head Graduate Adviser

Albert Russell Ascoli, PhD

6325 Dwinelle Hall

ascoli@berkeley.edu

Graduate Admission

Seth Arnopole

italianadmit@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Services Adviser

Seth Arnopole

6313 Dwinelle Hall

issag@berkeley.edu

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