Minor in Italian

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The minor in Italian: a gateway to a rich tradition and exciting professional opportunities

Why study Italian language and culture?

Italy has a long tradition of innovation built on creativity and critical thought. It is home to one of the richest cultural legacies of Western civilization, and over the centuries has offered an invaluable contribution to the arts and the most diverse fields of knowledge: from architecture, painting and sculpture, to literature, music and cinema, from political science and economics, to physics, medicine and astronomy.

Italy is the birthplace of the university; however, in the Italian tradition, knowledge has never been confined to the classroom: in fact, it is where the modern banking system and even accounting first took shape. What connects the achievements of great Renaissance masters like Brunelleschi, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Machiavelli to contemporaries like Nobel Prize-winning atomic physicist Fermi and neurobiologist Levi-Montalcini is the ability to chart new territories by thinking both critically and creatively. In today's complex and fast-paced world, such ability is not only vital to becoming engaged members of our global community; it is also the quality most valued by employers.

Italy has one of the 10 largest economies in the world, and many employers seek graduates proficient in Italian.

  • Italy is a world leader in fashion and design, tourism, and the food and automotive industries, as well as being one of the world's largest producers of renewable energy
  • Italy enjoys the world's 5th largest trade surplus in manufactured goods
  • Italy has had the largest increase in pharmaceutical and biomedical exports in the world: for example, it produces more than one third of the world's contrast agents
  • Italy is Europe's second largest exporter with 100 billion Euros worth of machinery and capital goods; between 2008 and 2013, its exports grew by 16.5%, almost matching those of Germany (+11,6%) and France (5.9%) combined
  • Italy is a top creator of major infrastructure, with 1,000 construction sites in 90 countries
  • Italy is at the forefront of electromechanical machinery, robotics and aerospace technology; it was the third country in the world to send a satellite into orbit
  • More than 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, Fiat & Chrysler, and Price-Waterhouse-Coopers.

Explore the heritage and legacy of over 26 million Italian-Americans and those who, engaging with the culture and history of their ancestors, have shaped the arts, business, politics and the entertainment industries of the U.S. for over a hundred years.

For more information about the minor in Italian, please contact Professor Filippo Naitana at