Italian (BA)

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. A degree in 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.

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. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises, written work, use of video and audio material, and interaction with native speakers (including Italian Erasmus students hosted by the department). The language is taught using a range of language learning technologies and is supported by online resources which aid classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning.  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 you are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

Key facts

UCAS CodeR300
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 offerABB including a B in a modern foreign language. (General Studies is not accepted)
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades AB at A-level, including A in Italian. General Studies is not accepted.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.

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

Languages and related subjects

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Professor Fabio Vighi , Admissions Tutor

    Year one

    As well as students with A-level Italian, we also welcome students who have no previous knowledge of Italian. Such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language. We run two pathways for Italian students: one for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in Italian; the other for students beginning Italian afresh.

    Our ‘Key optional modules’ indicate the modules you would be required to study depending on your subject specific A-levels. You are then free to choose from the ’further optional modules’ list.

    Year two

    Year three: Sandwich year

    The third year of any degree in Italian is spent abroad in Italy. You have a range of options, which include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for an Italian organisation.

    While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress.

    Year four

    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.

    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.

    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.


    • Teaching
    • Banking and Finance
    • Translation


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School admits 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes

    Applications received

    Typical applications received



    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related subjects

    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. 

    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 BA 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.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA Single Honours in Italian 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. For each of the 4 years, 120 credits are studied. The Third year is a year spent studying or working abroad in Italy. 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. In year 4, Single Honours students are required to do an extended dissertation.

    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.


    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.

    Single Honours Italian students also do an extended dissertation with one-to-one tuition. 

    How will I be assessed?


    While studying for a BA degree in Italian 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. 

    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.

    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

    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.

    Admissions tutors

    Professor Fabio Vighi , Admissions Tutor

      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.