Italian and Music (BA)

Italian and Music BA (Joint Honours) offers a unique look at the complimentary areas of music and linguistics

Italy possesses one of the major cultural, artistic and historical traditions in Europe. Italy has played a unique role in the development of fine art, architecture, film and music

From Roman times the Italian contribution to world culture has been enormous as it is obvious to anyone who steps foot in the country, however briefly. But Italy is not just a country of singular cultural importance. It is a major political partner in the European Union, and it is a leading force in fields such as engineering and architecture. It is the home of the design and fashion industries. Studying Italian at Cardiff University enables students to access, analyse and evaluate current developments in Italian society as well as the cultures and values of the past. Having studied Italian, students will be ready to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities open to language graduates today.

Your understanding of Italian will be deepened and enhanced during your year abroad in your third year when you will be fully immersed in the culture of Italy.

Key facts

Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School of Modern Languages typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School of Modern Languages typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerBBB. Three A level subjects, including a B in Music and generally including a B in a modern foreign language for beginners or B in Italian for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and grades BB at GCE A-level, to include a Modern Foreign Language and Music.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points with 6 in Music at higher level
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and Related Subjects, Music

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Professor Fabio Vighi , Admissions Tutor

    Dr Keith Chapin , Admissions Tutor

      Miss Laila Khan , Course Administrator

        For more information about the course structures, modules and teaching for these subjects, please visit the individual profiles of Italian and Music on our website.

        Year one

        Students of this course can choose to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) core and optional modules. These can be chosen from modules from participating schools.

        Year two

        Year three: Sandwich year

        Year four

        Module titleModule codeCredits
        Italian Language (BA Languages)ML839720 credits

        Module titleModule codeCredits
        Practical Musicianship III (Ensemble)MU313710 credits
        Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315410 credits
        FugueMU333020 credits
        DissertationMU334030 credits
        Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315820 credits
        Practical Musicianship IV (Performance)MU334420 credits
        Project in Music AnalysisMU334330 credits
        Studio Techniques II : Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
        Studio Techniques II: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU326720 credits
        Composition IvMU334520 credits
        Project in EthnomusicologyMU334630 credits
        The Birth of ModernismMU314910 credits
        The Birth of ModernismMU316520 credits
        Notation and Editing of Early MusicMU327320 credits
        Italian for professional purposesML838620 credits
        Twentieth Century Italian Women's WritingML839120 credits
        May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
        Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
        Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327410 credits
        Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327520 credits
        Dissertation (Italian-JH)ML838720 credits
        Advanced Translation Practice (Italian)ML838920 credits
        20th Century Contrapuntal PracticeMU316410 credits
        Topics in Musicology 3AMU316610 credits
        Topics in Musicology 3AMU316720 credits
        Topics in Musicology 3BMU327610 credits
        Topics in Musicology 3BMU327720 credits
        Joint Honours Italian Dissertation IN ITALIANML838520 credits
        Italian MigrationsML839320 credits
        European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
        Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
        European Cinema DissertationML230320 credits
        The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

        School of Modern Languages
        Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

        Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

        Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

        Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

        Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

        Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

        School of Modern Languages
        In 2013/14, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

        The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

        Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.


        4 Year(s)

        Next intake

        September 2016

        Places available

        Typical places available

        The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admits around 230 students to their undergraduate degree programmes every year.

        The School of Music admits around 70 students to their undergraduate degree programmes every year.

        Applications received

        Typical applications received

        The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300

        The School of Music = 450


        QAA subject benchmark

        QAA subject benchmark

        Languages and Related Subjects, Music

        What are the aims of this Programme?


        Italian at Cardiff can be taken at beginners or advanced level. First and foremost, studying for a degree in Italian involves dedicating yourself to learning the language. At Cardiff, we place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills, which are vital communication skills. As regards the language, there are two routes in the first and second years, one for students who are beginners of Italian, and the other for students who are advanced. Both routes will include option modules in the fields of film, literature, history of art, politics and history. Italian language is a core module throughout your course.

        It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas students are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today. If you study Italian, your career prospects will be enhanced, as the number of jobs for which knowledge of Italian is needed is on the increase. Opportunities exist not only in teaching, museum work and the fine arts, but also in banking, insurance, marketing, publishing, the media, the civil service, all branches of tourism and the higher echelons of the administrative fields. There has been a recent upsurge in career opportunities for graduates in Italian in the commercial and institutional links within the European Union. 


        The BA degree in Music offers candidates an advanced programme of study with the potential to embrace practical, theoretical, creative and historical aspects of music, while also providing the opportunity for students to take up to 80 credits – 40 at level 1 (NQF level 4) and 20 each at levels 2 and 3 (NQF5–6) – in another subject. While the programme stipulates no compulsory modules (other than a major academic project – dissertation, music analysis or ethnomusicology – in the final year), it nonetheless enables students to gain experience of a wide range of musical disciplines – performance, free and stylistic composition, historical and critical musicology, ethnomusicology and  acoustics – while affording them access to continuous subdisciplinary pathways throughout the degree and some measure of specialization in the final year. While the programme has produced high achievers in practical areas such as performance and composition, it is equally suited to those whose interest is in music within the broader humanities context or as a ‘liberal art’. The requirement for a dissertation-style project in the final year accordingly places emphasis on the ability to articulate musical insights through the medium of prose. As such the programme has proved especially successful for those seeking a career in teaching, arts administration or areas in which music sits alongside other disciplines, though it can lead on just as effectively to other types of graduate employment, or provide the foundation for postgraduate study in music or other humanities subjects.

        What is expected of me?


        The teaching sessions on the Italian programme are interactive. Students are expected to attend all of their classes (whether lectures, seminars or other sessions). The Italian modules are each worth 20 credits. Each 20-credit module will require at least two hundred hours of study, including the hours spent attending classes, individual study, preparing assessments and/or taking exams and tests. It is essential that students complement the class activities with extensive reading outside the classroom, following both their tutors’ leads and their own specific interest in the topics studied.

        Students and staff alike are expected to adhere to Cardiff University's Dignity at Work and Study Policy.. You should develop a professional attitude to your work, including attending personal tutoring sessions, checking your e-mails regularly, and responding to them as required, being punctual in attending classes, and informing the School when you are absent. The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics is committed to assisting you throughout your studies, so if anything concerns you, remember to let us know. We will respect confidentiality at all times.


        Full attendance is required for all lectures, classes, lessons, tutorials and rehearsals relating to the modules on which students are enrolled, except in cases of illness or other special circumstance (see the section ‘Illness and Certification of Absence’ in the Undergraduate Student Handbook, §§3, 7.1–7.6). The condonement of absence is not a routine element of the School’s specific provision for disabled students; rather, the School seeks to integrate disabled students as fully as possible into academic life by making existing classes as accessible as possible and, in the rare cases where these attempts prove inadequate, to provide an alternative, active learning experience of equivalent quality. A student who experiences a change in their personal circumstances (e.g. maternity/paternity) should consult their personal tutor with a view to following the university guidelines on Interruption of Study.

        A significant investment of time (at least 18 hours a week) is required of all students in independent study and/or private practice, especially in preparation for the final-year project(s). Students are expected to manifest (and can, on certain elective modules, be awarded credit for) a commitment to the musical and intellectual life of the School of Music demonstrated through participation in performance activities and attendance at performances and public lectures.

        Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

        How is this Programme Structured?

        The BA Joint Honours in Italian and Music is a four-year degree programme. It is structured so that students acquire in successive years near-native language competency and the skills to become independent researchers, equipped for high-level professional employment.

        The programme is offered in full-time mode. In Year 1, 40 credits are studied in Italian. In Year 2 and 4, 60 credits are studied in Italian. The third Year is a year spent studying or working abroad in Italy and it is compulsory, and it is 120 credits. Year 1, 2 and 4 each contain a 20-credit core Italian language module. In Year 4, students must also choose 20 credits in either Italian for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice.

        Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

        What the student should provide:

        Bilingual and monolingual Dictionaries, course texts and set texts (details provided in the relevant course kits).

        What the University will provide:

        Library resources, computers, linguistic software.

        What skills will I practise and develop?


        The Italian degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills, both specific to Italian and relevant to your future workplace. These include the following skills: communicate and present information, thoughts and arguments (both spoken and written, individually or as part of a team); use of information technology (linguistic software, word processors, databases, the web); analyse and present numeric information; working in a group and developing interpersonal skills; identifying, recording and communicating relevant attainments for career purposes; managing your own learning (including time management); demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning and development. Through the medium of the dissertation option you will gain confidence when working on your own and experience a wide range of practical research skills. Sessions with a supervisor will allow you to develop discussion skills in detail and to develop original ideas.


        In addition to the discipline-specific skills outlined above in the learning outcomes above, the programme fosters a range of generic and employability skills. These include advanced literacy, computer literacy, critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice), oral and written communication skills, coping with uncertainty/complexity, and creativity and innovative thinking. Practical musical activities, where undertaken, embed such skills as leadership, teamwork (including formative input in a group situation) and self-management.

        How will I be taught?


        Delivery will be via lectures, seminar preparation and participation, independent and guided study, independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, feedback on essays and presentations, and revision sessions for examinations.

        Students will also benefit from regular feedback from their Personal Tutor at key moments of their language degree. 


        The BA involves a range of learning and teaching styles, including (but not limited to) lectures (especially learning outcomes 3. and 4.), small-group seminars and workshops (3., and 4.), individual tutorials or solo instrumental tuition (1., 5.), ensemble instrumental tuition and practical rehearsals (1.), and independent study (especially 5.; also 1.–4.). Supplementary resources are available through various channels, including Learning Central (the university’s Virtual Learning Environment) and from commercially available software resources for which the School holds licences. 

        Requests for reasonable adjustment in the provision of teaching and/or learning materials can be made to the School Disability contact, who will liaise with the Disability and Dyslexia Centre as required.

        How will I be assessed?



        While studying for a BA Joint Honour degree you will be assessed through each of the following methods:

        ·         class tests (continuous assessment)

        ·         essays

        ·         written exams

        ·         oral exams

        ·         oral presentations

        ·         dissertation

        There will also be opportunities to prepare formative tasks. These are tasks that are not counted in determining your final mark, but give you an opportunity to have feedback on your progress. These tasks can be oral presentations in seminars, essay plans, short written pieces or computer tasks.


        Students will receive written feedback on written assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and their contributions to seminars. The opportunity to understand and use feedback constructively will also be provided through regular meetings with Personal Tutors at key moments every year. 



        Assessment on the BA programme takes a wide range of forms. These are partly dependent on the modules chosen, but may include any one or anumber of the following:

        • Performance (learning outcomes 1. and, possibly, 5.)

        • Continuous assessment followed by final presentation/performance/practical test (1.)

        • Essays/exercises (1.– 4.).

        • Written examinations (1.–4.).

        • Dissertations/portfolios (5.)

        • Oral presentations (1., 2., 4.)

        • Self-evaluation (1.)

        • Reports on fieldwork, practical work or other empirical study (1., 2., 4., 5.)

        Guidance on specific provision and reasonable adjustments in assessment for disabled students or those affected by the consequences of ongoing illness or injury are set out in the Undergraduate student Handbook, §§2, 9.7, and in the independent document ‘Assessing “Teachability” in the School of Music’.

        Adjustments to the conduct of an assessment are usually possible unless the mode of assessment is integral to the learning outcomes of the module concerned (e.g. performance as a mode of assessment on a performance module).


        Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.

        How will I be supported?


        We support students in several ways. Initially, you will be assigned a personal tutor who will meet with you whenever needed to discuss your progress and any other matters arising. You will receive prompt feedback on all your assessments (including exams), and your personal tutor will be able to help you to use that feedback effectively in order to improve your work for the future. Many modules also include formative assessments. You will receive feedback on these assessments, but they will not count towards your final degree. Each module uses the Learning Central website, a virtual learning environment at Cardiff University. Through the Learning Central site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture hand-outs, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, etc. There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Learning Central site called Personal Development Plan. There, with the help of your personal tutor, you will be able to record your attainments in various fields (whether they are part of the curriculum or not). Furthermore, centrally the University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


        The principal means of individual student support in the School of Music is through the personal tutor, who is allocated at the start of the programme and generally provides consultations three times a year. The School’s dedicated PDP resources (see the Resource Pack distributed at enrolment) offer an opportunity for more structured reflection on personal and academic development in the personal tutorial context. For the final-year projects a supervisor is provided to monitor progress and provide individual consultations by arrangement. Careers advice is available from the School’s designated career consultant in the university Careers Service and from the speakers in School of Music’s own Careers in Music talks.

        What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?


        Graduates from this Programme will be able to:

        • produce a high level of fluency in oral and written Italian
        • assess the central role of language in the process of creating meaning and knowledge
        • demonstrate intellectual skills which allow detailed reading, assessment, and production of texts of different types
        • appreciate how language and culture feed into each other to generate meaning and understanding
        • evaluate and critically discuss texts, concepts and theories relevant to the field of Italian Studies
        • demonstrate an understanding of a range of texts (including film) from different historical periods and from different genres
        • demonstrate a good understanding of the position and importance of Italian language and culture in the modern world
        • use information technology to present and analyse materials in an effective and polished manner, including using software to check and improve language


        Graduates from this programme will be able to:

        1. Demonstrate a significant degree of specialist knowledge, creativity, skill and understanding in one or more of the following: performance, composition, ethnomusicology, music analysis, historical/critical musicology.

        2. Possess an awareness of the component subdisciplines of music and demonstrate a working competence in more than one in addition to their chosen specialism(s).

        3. Show an awareness of a range of musical styles and techniques, through pastiche composition, analysis and/or critical commentary of music.

        4. Manifest an awareness of the social, historical and cultural contexts in which music is made.

        5. Manage and see through to completion (during the final year of the programme) a major independent academic project, possibly in addition to one or more subsidiary specialisms (e.g. in performance or composition).

        Other information


        Students taking the Single Honours Italian programme at Cardiff may be particularly interested in the following features that are likely to increase their employability:

        ·         the chance for students interested in teaching to undertake a British Council internship teaching English in an Italian secondary school

        ·         the opportunity for all students of Italian to organise, on their own initiative, a suitable work placement in an Italy.


        The programme provides numerous opportunities for contact with active music professionals outside the school through composition workshops, performance masterclasses, the university concert series, the John Bird lecture series and other presentations by visiting academics, careers talks and careers mentoring.

        Admissions tutors

        Professor Fabio Vighi , Admissions Tutor

          Dr Keith Chapin , Admissions Tutor

            Miss Laila Khan , Course Administrator

              Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.