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Study Italian, why & how to study

Italian degrees aren't simply an education in the language; you also learn about the culture, history, politics and many other aspects.

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  1. What’s Italian?

  2. What Italian degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto an Italian degree?

  4. What topics does an Italian degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Italian?

  7. What do Italian graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as an Italian graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Italian

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Italian?

Italian covers the whole range of subjects dedicated to the study of Italy; its culture and language, with learning to speak Italian foremost among them.

Italian is spoken mainly in Europe. Outside Italy, it's a primary language in Switzerland, the Vatican, Albania, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia. It's also spoken in several former African colonies, such as Somalia.

What Italian degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Italian are usually joint degrees, often combined with other languages or humanities subjects:

  • Beginners' Italian and Linguistics BA
  • International Relations and Italian BA
  • Italian and Theatre BA
  • Italian with Film Studies BA
  • Philosophy and Italian BA

Options may include an integrated foundation year or study abroad.

What do you need to get onto an Italian degree?

Entry requirements will depend on the university, ranging from 96–165 UCAS tariff points. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: AAA–CCC
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–DMM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BBBB (Advanced Highers: AAB–AA)
  • International Baccalaureate: 39–28
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: an A Level (or equivalent) in Italian or, if not possible, in French – unless you're taking a beginners' course

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • A second modern language, English language or literature, history or politics
  • General studies and other general subjects at A Level may not be accepted

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work experience could involve shadowing a language teacher or helping at a language school
  • Reading in Italian, whether books, blogs, Italian magazines or Italian newspapers such as La Repubblica or La Stampa
  • Practising listening to and speaking Italian through language courses, watching videos or films, or listening to podcasts
  • Tutoring others who are learning the language
  • Attending taster/free lectures in modern languages
  • Spending time in Italy, if you can
  • If eligible, attend summer schools such as those run by the Sutton Trust or UNIQ

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science if taken at A Level
  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities

What topics does an Italian degree cover?

Language course modules focus primarily on learning the language itself. Single honours in Italian may also include modules on Italy’s history and culture, such as:

  • Art and literature in medieval and renaissance Italy
  • Communication skills
  • Italian geographies
  • Italian histories
  • Italian language
  • Italy from Fascism to the present

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Group research projects
  • Oral presentations

Why study Italian?

Italy is a world leader in cooking, design, fashion, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery and transportation.

Since Roman times, Italy has exported its culture all over the world, from Latin literature to opera, film to political thought, fashion to food.

Career-specific skills:

  • Knowledge of a foreign culture and experience of working with those from different backgrounds
  • Expertise in a second language, reading advanced texts, and translating to and from Italian

Transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation
  • Problem solving
  • Report writing
  • Research
  • Team working

Professional accreditation:

  • Subjects offered in combination with Italian may offer accreditation by related professional bodies

What do Italian graduates earn?

Italian graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £22,864–£24,000.

As your career progresses, your average salary will depend on the sector you’ve entered. If you become a teacher, you could earn £25,700–£41,600 teaching this subject in class, or up to £64,500 as a lead practitioner in a school.

Alternately, enter the Civil Service Fast Stream and your initial pay will be £28,000 – rise up the ranks of the diplomatic service, and the highest incomes can top £100,000.

What jobs can you get as an Italian graduate?

A degree in Italian will build your strengths in communication and cultural awareness. You could consider graduates schemes including the Civil Service Fast Stream, or with companies such as JP Morgan. Some roles require further qualifications.

  • Accountant
  • Business manager
  • Conference organiser
  • Diplomat
  • Human resources manager
  • Journalist
  • Lecturer
  • Marketing manager
  • Parliamentary researcher
  • Policy advisor
  • Property management consultant
  • Recruitment consultant
  • Social researcher
  • Teacher
  • Translator or interpreter
  • Writer

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

If you have a first degree in Italian or a related subject, postgraduate study offers the opportunity to further your research into all things Italian. To teach languages in a secondary school, graduates with an Italian degree can take a postgraduate teacher training course, which may include a PGCE. Examples of postgraduate degrees include:

  • Interpreting and Translating – Italian and German MA
  • Italian MPhil/PhD
  • Italian Studies MPhil/PhD
  • Language, Culture and History: Italian Studies MA

Similar subjects to Italian

If you’re interested in language, communication or other cultures, you could also consider:

Have any questions?

If you’ve got any questions about studying Italian, you can email our experts at We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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