Italian has been studied at UCL since 1828 - 33 years before Italy became a unified country! We have a longer history than any other UK Italian department, and longer than most departments in Italy.
Italian Studies at UCL
- Big is beautiful
We are one of the biggest Italian departments in the UK. We have leading experts in all periods of Italian literature, from Dante to the present day. But we're also famous in the world of Italian studies for the broad range of other courses we offer. Our students can explore interests as diverse and fascinating as Renaissance art, Italian history, modern and contemporary Italian art, linguistics and the structure of human language, cinema and documentary films, graphic novels, the Mafia....
- Inspiring, innovative teaching
Our students experience innovative teaching in every area of study. Examples include language projects using e-learning, historical Italian cookery, dedicated visits to museums and galleries in London, hands-on access to UCL rare books collections (for example Dante incunables) and extra-curricular activities such as film club screenings.
- It's London!
Today there are hundreds of thousands of Italians in London-more than many major cities in Italy. There has been an Italian community here for two centuries. And the UK capital has an Italian-language cultural life to match these figures. The Italian Cultural Institute hosts a wide range of events showcasing Italy's writers, artists, thinkers and musicians. There is a specialist Italian Bookshop where the friendly staff that can help you find all kinds of language-learning materials--and where there are frequent speaking and social events. London even has a museum dedicated entirely to modern Italian art, the Estorick Collection, and a regular Italian Film Festival. The National Gallery is full of Italian old masters, and the Design Museum houses many of the classics of twentieth-century Italian design. There are restaurants from every Italian region and plenty of bars serving real Italian coffee. Italy's major newspapers and media outlets, its world-famous fashion houses, its banks and other big companies, are all represented in the city. And if you really miss what Italians call the Bel Paese (the beautiful country), London's five international airports offer flights for all budgets to get you to very many Italian cities in two or three hours.
- Exciting career avenues
Taking up Italian as a beginner at UCL is not just the gateway to the lifelong enrichment of learning to love one of the world's great cultures, it is also quite possibly the smartest move you will ever make.
Whatever language you choose, a language degree from UCL, one of the world's top universities, is a blue-chip qualification that will distinguish you in the labour market. Our graduates have a highly marketable combination of talents: the rigour and accuracy required to master a language, and the conceptual power, communication skills and imagination needed to tackle literature, history and other aspects of a foreign culture. Spending the third year abroad adds a unique kind of enterprise and maturity to the mix. All of these are qualities that provide the best possible preparation for the global, flexible and fast-changing economy of today. No wonder British employers are continually lamenting the shortage of language graduates for them to recruit.
Italy has the fourth-largest economy in Europe, and the eighth-largest in the world. It has Europe's second-biggest manufacturing sector, and is a world-leading force in industries like fashion, furniture, jewellery, food, wine, tourism, luxury goods and precision engineering. British business is particularly influential in Italy in sectors like finance, advertising and market research because many Italian companies are small and medium enterprises that require such British expertise to expand globally. So both UK and Italian companies are hungry for quality graduates with Italian linguistic skills. Yet because it is studied in few British schools, this demand is not being met--certainly when compared to the bulk of students who take the safe option and continue with the French and/or Spanish that they learned at school.
- Learning Italian as a beginner
We have decades of experience of bringing the best out of students who come to us with all levels of Italian: from complete beginners, to native speakers. Roughly half of all our students have no knowledge of Italian before they arrive at UCL.
There's a real buzz about our first-year beginners' language classes. At the start, everyone is a little daunted by the prospect of learning the language from scratch. But our team of enthusiastic, highly professional teachers make sure the nerves pass very quickly. Our language classes tend to have a maximum of twelve students, and the atmosphere is always friendly and supportive. The pace of learning is fast, but the students help one another, and there is a full range of facilities and techniques on offer (language laboratories, e-learning, one-to-one language-learning partnerships with visiting students from Italy, and so on).
Even if you are a beginner, by the end of their first year, you will reach a level equivalent to students with Italian A-level. There are streamed classes in the second year, so ex-beginners work with students at the same level. By the time you get back from your third year in Italy, it will be impossible to tell whether you were a beginner or not.
Then of course there's London, where you can hear Italian spoken every day, and where there are more than enough Italian cultural activities to fill your diary. London lets you start your year abroad early!
Learning Italian from scratch with us is exciting and satisfying. And the language won't be your only achievement: by joining us you'll become part of a vibrant and lively community that reflects the importance and diversity of Italian culture.
A single-subject degree
BA Italian Studies Dual Degree
This degree includes two years of study in Ca' Foscari University of Venice and two at UCL:
Degree combining two modern languages
Degrees combining Italian and another subject
- Italian and History of Art BA
- Italian and Latin BA
- Italian and Management Studies BA
- Italian and Philosophy BA