University of St Andrews

Italian MA (Hons)

University of St Andrews
In St Andrews

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Important information

Typology Master
Location St andrews (Scotland)
Duration 4 Years
  • Master
  • St andrews (Scotland)
  • Duration:
    4 Years

As an MA (Hons) student of Italian, you will develop language and communication skills to a high level of proficiency. You will also have the opportunity to engage with a number of specialist topics comprising Italian literature, culture, history, politics and film.

Italian is available to both beginners and non-beginners. Both cohorts are introduced to a wide spectrum of cultural and literary genres, from mediaeval texts and poetry to 20th-century Italian novels, films and more.

Language is taught at all levels in small groups, allowing teaching staff to pay close attention to progression. The Department’s innovative and distinctive teaching approach includes mixed skills and integrated classes, extensive use of contemporary audio-visual materials, and regular structured contact with native speakers. Students of Italian gain comprehensive transferrable skills relevant to a wide range of careers. At Honours levels, they are also introduced to professional areas like translation and interpreting.

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study abroad in Italy at one of the University’s Erasmus+ partners. The MA in Italian is also available as a five-year course with an integrated year abroad. The integrated year abroad is an opportunity for students to spend a year working in Italy between second year and third year, often as part of the British Council Language Assistantship scheme, thus gaining valuable experience as teachers and tutors. Students who spend a year abroad not only develop their linguistic skills, but also increase their intercultural competence, self-confidence, and future employability.

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Where and when



St Andrews (Fife)
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University Of St Andrews, KY16 9AJ


On request

To take into account

· What are the objectives of this course?

The MA (Hons) in Italian is a four-year course run by the School of Modern Languages. The course is available to both students who are beginners in Italian and to more advanced students who have studied Italian to A-Level or SQA Higher. In the first two years, you will learn and refine your understanding of Italian grammar and language through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Those with prior knowledge in Italian will further develop their language and writing skills, and both groups will be introduced to different aspects of Italian culture and history. Alongside Italian, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. During your third year, you have the opportunity to study at one of the University’s Erasmus+ partner institutions in Italy (Padua, Turin, Venice or Verona). In this case, study undertaken in Italy replaces equivalent study in St Andrews. Studying abroad is optional.

· Who is it intended for?

A work placement abroad fosters your capacity for effective teamwork in a new cultural environment, and among the personal attributes you will develop on the year abroad are self-confidence, independence, initiative and resourcefulness. Recent Italian graduates have gone to work for companies in the UK and Italy. Some are working as teachers of modern languages in the UK, or are teaching English abroad. Others have taken further training or conversion courses to prepare for careers in translating and interpreting. Some examples of companies where Italian graduates have proceeded to work for include: the British Council Citibank Christian Salvesen Glasgow City Council Harper Collins HSBC’s executive training programme.

· Requirements

SQA Highers AAAB GCE A-Levels AAB IB points 36

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What you'll learn on the course

Italian Language
Communication Training
Second Level Italian
Italian Language module
Italian Language Intermediate
Italian Geographies

Course programme


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Italian along with modules in at least one additional subject.

1st Year

Two different types of modules are offered in first year: introductory Italian modules for beginners in Italian, and more advanced language and literature courses for those with more experience speaking Italian.

Students who are beginners in Italian are required to take the following compulsory modules in their first year:

  • Introduction to Italian Language: concentrates on grammar and usage through reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • Italian Language (Elementary): builds on the Introduction to Italian Language module by increasing the student’s knowledge of, and ability to use, Italian.

Students who have an SQA Higher or a GCE A-level in Italian are required to take the following compulsory modules in first year:

  • Italian Language Intermediate 1 and 2: the core language module each semester provides a thorough and structured revision of grammar and a consolidation of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills through formal grammar classes and practical oral language classes.
  • Italian Geographies: aims to give students some sense of the complexity of modern Italy through the study of particular cultural phenomena which have played an important role in national identity formation.
  • Italian Histories: give students a sense of the complexity of Italy's past through the study of literary texts from different historical periods considered in their different contexts.
2nd Year

Second year modules are the same for all students regardless of any prior knowledge of Italian. Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year:

  • Second Level Italian: develops the language skills acquired in first year Italian modules and enables students to achieve an intermediate level in reading, writing, listening and speaking in Italian. Students are introduced to a selection of central Italian texts from a range of time periods (for example, Dante and Primo Levi).
  • Second Level Italian (Advanced): offers an intermediate language course for students who have passed the first semester module. It is designed to further consolidate students’ knowledge of Italian grammar and vocabulary, refine language skills and develop communication skills. Students will study a selection of central Italian texts and media from a range of time periods (for example, Machiavelli and 20th-century film).

If you take Italian in your third and fourth years, in addition to the compulsory language modules you will choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate literary, historical and cultural studies into language learning. Modules at Honours level include (but are not limited to):

  • Authority and Subversion in the Italian Renaissance
  • Black Italians
  • Dante Alighieri
  • Fascism and Film
  • Migration and Transculturality in New Italian Narrative
  • Venice.

In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of up to either 5,000 words or 10,000 words in length, written in English, on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

Additional information

Overseas Fee £22,350

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