Graduate Program

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Introduction and Overview

The Graduate Program in Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania offers students a range of curricular options that provide a broad academic base in Italian literature, cultural studies, intellectual history, Mediterranean studies, material studies, performance and media studies, queer studies, digital humanities, and critical theory, as well as the most current pedagogical theory and practice. Students are encouraged to shape a curriculum that will prepare them in a primary period of interest as well as a secondary focal area. Students may complement their studies with courses outside the Italian Studies section--for example, in Francophone or Germanic studies, Comparative LiteratureEnglish, and History. Certificate programs in the areas of Women's Studies and Urban Studies are also available. Interdisciplinary study is encouraged through participation in the wide range of seminars, lectures, and colloquia sponsored by the various Graduate Groups and affiliated research institutes and centers at Penn, including the Center for Italian Studies and the Latin American Cultures Program, and at the many cultural institutions in the Philadelphia area.

Great resources are available to the graduate students in Italian, including the world-renowned Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. The Program in Italian Studies collaborates actively with the Kislak Center to provide students with hands on experience with rare material in conjunction with classes, talks, conferences, and book exhibits. Additionally, individual dissertation research abroad is encouraged and summer research funding is available competitively through the Salvatori Fund or other sources.

Finally, the Center for Italian Studies coordinates scholarly activities among faculty and students across the humanities, organizing research groups, visiting lectures, film screenings and major academic conferences.   

Preparing for the Job Market

The Department offers guided preparation for students' participation in the academic job market. Students receive advice and feedback on their job application materials (CVs, cover letters, teaching statements, research statements, etc.) and attend an intensive week-long seminar in December that prepares them for the Annual Convention of the MLA. Mock interviews and practice job talks are also arranged. 

The Career Services Office makes every effort to assist students in finding employment and offers a range of services geared toward both academic and nonacademic career options.

The French Italian Graduate Society

The French Italian Romanic Society (FIGS), the graduate student organization of the French and Italian Divisions, works to enhance the general welfare of graduate students in both intellectual and practical terms.  This group helps to organize Department-sponsored lectures and colloquia, and organizes an annual graduate student colloquium.

Department Facilities

Italian Studies offices are on the fifth floor of Williams Hall, with a seminar room for graduate classes, a graduate lounge, and a computer lab, as well as the Cherpack Lounge, where faculty and graduate students meet informally, and where lectures and colloquia are held.

Italian and French graduate students and faculty in the Graduate Lounge.

University of Pennsylvania
521 Williams Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Telephone: (215) 898-1980
Fax: (215) 898-0933