It’s possible to study Italian language and culture without going to Italy, "ma perché?" The UVa Italian Studies faculty strongly encourages all students to consider a study period in Italy, whether a shorter summer term or a full semester term.
Experiencing Italy as part of your university career will prove an invaluable educational step, whether you are a non-Italian major interested in deepening your cultural competency, or an Italian Studies major or minor seeking to truly accelerate your language ability and reinforce coursework with concrete cultural practice.
All students are encouraged to speak with the Italian Study Abroad advisor before selecting a program. Students who wish to obtain ITAL or ITTR credit toward the Italian Studies major or minor should consult the Italian Studies Major Advising Sheet on this site, and also read the important preliminary information below, before contacting the Italian Study Abroad Advisor.
NB: The meeting with a departmental study-abroad advisor does not take the place of watching the Education Abroad Workshop on www.studyabroad.virginia.edu or study abroad advising at the International Studies Office (ISO). All students must watch the Education Abroad Workshop prior to opening a study abroad application or requesting an advising appointment with an ISO education-abroad advisor.
Picking a Program
UVa recommends two study abroad programs in Italy, UVa in Siena and UVa in Florence. Both of these *recommended* programs have been carefully vetted by UVa faculty in all the curricular areas represented, and are based on specific institutional affiliations. They also both offer the advantages of the incomparable region of Tuscany, where one is centrally positioned to travel to other parts of Italian peninsula. Siena and Florence are within one hour's distance from each other, so it's easy to visit either city at your convenience.
Your choice of program will depend on your goals and preferences. For detailed information on UVa in Siena and UVa in Florence, and to decide which one best fits your needs, please refer to the links above and to further program information on the International Studies Office (ISO) website.
*NOTE: The Italian Studies program distinguishes between recommended and approved programs, and allows students to petition to study in programs that fall outside these two categories.
Recommended programs are those which have been carefully researched by UVa faculty and with whom we have an established institutional affiliation. In the case of UVa in Siena, UVa is the academic sponsor of the program (administered by CET Academic Programs); in the case of UVa in Florence, UVa belongs to a five-member public university "Florence Consortium" that oversees the program (administered by the International Studies Institute at Palazzo Rucellai).
Approved programs are those that have been reviewed and approved by the Italian faculty, ISO, and the College of Arts and Sciences. For a list of these programs, click here.
Please note that not all approved programs in Italy will satisfy CLAS Foreign Language Requirement credit and Italian Studies major/minor credit. Students can usually receive elective credit for ITAL and/or ITTR coursework while abroad, but for other credit needs should speak with the Italian Study Abroad advisor. See also the Transferring Credit section below.
Students who wish to enroll in an Italian program that is not one of the two recommended programs, nor on the ISO list of approved programs, may petition to be allowed to study in such a program. For information about petitioning, click here.
January Term in Italy
Students with limited time (or beset with an Italian obsession!) should consider the shorter study abroad options in Italy offered during the January term. In the past several years professors in the Italian program have taught the literature and culture class ITTR 3758 Love Affair with Tuscany: Utopias and Beyond. Other years have featured J-term courses in Art History (Rome and Florence), and Drama (Arezzo, Tuscany). Course offerings change from year to year, and J-terms in Italy are not guaranteed on a regular basis. See http://www.virginia.edu/januaryterm/ for current offerings.
Students are expected to register for language courses appropriate to their level of Italian language mastery, as demonstrated by the course work they have completed at UVa. Students who wish to apply Italian language classes taken abroad to the College of Arts & Sciences Foreign Language Requirement must refer to the section below.
Italian Studies majors and minors must select their courses in consultation with the departmental Italian Study Abroad advisor.
Receiving Major or Minor Credit in Italian Studies
Students who study in a recommended program may count up to 15 credits per semester of study abroad or 24 credits per year of study abroad toward their Italian Studies major; up to 12 credits/semester toward the Italian Studies minor.
Students who study in an approved program in Italy may count up to 9 credits for a semester of study abroad or 15 credits for a year of study abroad toward their Italian Studies major; up to 9 credits toward the Italian Studies minor.
The Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese strongly encourages Italian Studies majors to participate in the recommended study abroad programs, whether for the summer, one semester, or a year. Information on Italian Studies major credit can be found here. Information on minor credit for Italian Studies can be found here.
Programs with transfer credit (vs. direct credit) require approval from the Italian Study Abroad advisor for Italian Studies Major or Minor credit, as well as for CLAS Foreign Language Requirement credit. Students seeking credit toward other UVa major and minor programs, must get approval from the appropriate dept. or program. Where students want to receive only elective credit, they can obtain approval for courses from the CLAS Transfer Credit Evaluator, Erin O'Donnell.
Of the two recommended programs in Italy, UVa in Florence is transfer credit, UVa in Siena is direct credit. This means that for coursework completed in Florence, credits will transfer, grades will not. In Siena, both grades and credits earned count in degree totals. Students attending UVa in Florence need to obtain transfer credit approval beforehand -- however, the Florence curriculum is known to UVa faculty, and most has already been assigned appropriate UVa course equivalencies. Obtaining transfer credit approvals for UVa in Florence is usually a quick and streamlined process.
Maximum number of Italian credits allowed to transfer from programs other than UVa in Siena and UVa in Florence is nine (three 3-credit courses).
Timing and Procedures
Students considering attending a transfer credit study abroad program in Italy must receive approval for credit transfer ideally BEFORE enrolling. If the student does not obtain such approval before participating in the program, he or she must do so either upon arrival to the program and after class choices are solidified (via email) or upon completion of the program. In the latter two cases, however, the student runs the risk of receiving only partial degree credit, or no credit at all.
The Italian Study Abroad advisor approves credit for classes in Italian language, literature, film or culture (ITAL and/or ITTR).
3 UVa credits are granted for every 45 contact hours of study abroad. Wherever possible, students will be given credit for actual UVa-equivalent courses. The student seeking transfer credit approval should show adequate equivalency between the study abroad course and an existing UVa ITAL or ITTR course from among the course offerings listed in the The Undergraduate Record.
"Adequate equivalency" means that the course desired is almost identical to a UVa ITAL or ITTR course in terms of:
- skill level required for enrollment
- language in wh/ the course is taught
- in-class hours / credits
When no such equivalent exists, the departmental study-abroad advisor will have the option of assigning any number of generic transfer credits (e.g. 2 credits of SPAN 3000T or 6 credits of SPAN 4000T, etc.), or of refusing to give UVa credit for the course. Such generic credit may or may not count for the major or minor, at the discretion of the Italian Study Abroad advisor.
Internships and service experiences that are attached to academic coursework will be treated as academic courses. Those that have no attached coursework will transfer as one generic ITAL or ITTR credit, at the appropriate level (1000T, 2000T, 3000T, 4000T). These single credit experiences will not count toward the major or minor.
As mentioned above, obtaining transfer credit approval for UVa in Florence is made easy since equivalencies have already been determined for most courses.
What to Bring to Meeting With Italian Study Abroad Advisor
- a blank credit transfer form (available from Monroe Hall)
- the following specific program / course information
You must provide the Study Abroad Advisor with program materials printed by the program/institution or printed off the program website. Make sure it's clear that it is official program information. PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT THE STUDY ABROAD ADVISOR TO LOOK FOR OR SEARCH THROUGH A WEBSITE. The information must include:
- name and location of the program you plan on attending
FOR EACH COURSE:
- exact name and mnemonic of the course
- course content
- language in wh/ the course is taught
- syllabus, showing reading list, assignments, etc.
- length of term (exact number of weeks, start/end dates)
- how many in-class hours per week
- how many credits the program awards for this course
College of Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Foreign Language Requirement
Please be forewarned if you wish to transfer credits to satisfy any part of the CLAS Foreign Language Requirement (this means any of the courses in the sequence ITAL 1010-1020-2010-2020). The policy in the UVa Italian program permits students to substitute courses abroad for the first two years of Italian language taken on grounds, with certain restrictions:
1) You must have the transfer credit approved beforehand; see above under What to Bring to Meeting with Italian Study Abroad Advisor for a detailed list of the information needed by the Italian Study Abroad Advisor.
2) If you take courses from any program other than UVa in Siena or UVa in Florence, you will be required to successfully pass an exam upon your return in order to receive foreign language requirement credit. If your performance on the exam is not satisfactory, you will have to re-enter the UVa language sequence where you last left it, and may risk losing credit for the language course taken outside of UVa.
This policy is based on our belief in the rigor and standards of our language classes here, and our awareness that many courses offered elsewhere do not adhere to such standards. We want to make sure you are getting the most educational value for your money spent on programs in Italy, especially when it comes to language learning. We also want our students who will be continuing with Italian at UVa to be adequately prepared for the next level they undertake once they are back on grounds.