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
Entry pointSeptember 2016
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
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
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Mariagiovanna Motta, Course Administrator

Dr Mariagiovanna Motta, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

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.

Jobs

  • Teaching
  • Banking and Finance
  • Translation

Duration

4 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

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.

Many graduates enjoy their year overseas so much that they take time out for more travel, or go abroad on graduation in search of employment.    

Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many pursue postgraduate studies such as one of the School’s MA degrees in European Studies or in Translation or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their studies, and our graduates go on to secure excellent careers in international diplomacy, the Civil Service, teaching, business and journalism. Other employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers.   

Applications received

Typical applications received

Accreditations

QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

Overview and aims of this course/programme

The School of Modern Languages aims to develop and educate its students to become ‘global citizens’. 

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 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. 

We offer Italian for both advanced students and beginners. In terms of language acquisition, this course will enable you to develop your writing, oral and aural skills through a range of learning activities and audio-visual materials. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an Introduction to Italian history and culture module seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies as you progress through your course.     

Your understanding of the language will be further developed and refined during your year abroad, when you will experience life in an Italian-speaking country at first hand.       

In the final year, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation, which stimulates initiative and can serve as a useful preparation for postgraduate study.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves exploring many aspects of a country, and at Cardiff we aspire to offer a genuinely broad course that offers challenging and stimulating modules.    

On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of proficiency in the language, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of Italian history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.         

What should I know about year five?

How is this course/programme structured?

This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year. The third year is spent abroad.

What should I know about year four?

Italian no longer distinguishes between beginner and advanced students in the final year as all students of Italian take the same language modules in year four.

You will refine your linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation, and specialise in your areas of interest by choosing specialised module options. 

Our final year dissertation module gives you the option to write a dissertation and engage more deeply with a chosen topic area, as well as extending your research and analytical skills.

The availability of option modules may vary from year to year. 

What should I know about year three?

Year three is spent in Italy. Your options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school through the British Council Scheme, or working for an Italian organisation or company.  

If you choose the study option, we have established academic links with universities in Milan, Pavia, Parma, Pisa, Verona, Trento, Venice, Florence and Catania. 

Placements for teaching assistants on a scheme run by the British Council can take you to either a major city or a small, rural town. This option provides first-hand teaching experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. Prior to the start of your placement, the British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. In addition, the school you have been assigned to should also guide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live.

The third option consists of a work placement with an organisation or company in the Italian-speaking world. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. In order to ensure that your work placement affords you plenty of opportunity to speak Italian and provides you with a beneficial experience, such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.      

The year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned a Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may also get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

Final Year students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have contributed to our extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with student-centred advice throughout your year abroad.

Studying or working abroad is the best possible preparation for your final year and it gives language graduates the self-confidence and maturity that makes them so popular with future employers.        

What should I know about the preliminary year?

What should I know about year one?

You will combine Italian with another modern language or translation, allowing you to experience more than one field of study.

In year one we run two pathways for students; an advanced pathway for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in Italian and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of Italian. Our ‘Core’ and ‘Key optional modules’ below 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. 

The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the beginner’s pathway, and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the advanced pathway.    

A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning.   Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning.   Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into Italian language and culture.

To provide a foundation for more specialised studies, you also study modules devoted to the history and culture of Italy dating back to Roman times as well as modern and contemporary Italian politics, economics and society.    

Other information

Distinctive features

The BA in Italian conforms to the standards set out in the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) benchmarks.

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • entry option for applicants who do not have Italian A-level (such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language). Italian at Cardiff is therefore studied at beginner or advanced level in years one and two
  • both beginners and advanced routes include option modules in film, literature, history of art, politics and history
  • teaching by staff who are actively involved in a diverse range of research specialisms
  • 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) 
  • Italian language is a core module throughout your course, taught by native speakers
  • year three is spent abroad, either studying at an Italian University, or working in Italy, with a chance to teach in an Italian school or following a work placement in another organisation or company.  

How will I be taught?

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning.   We place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills.  These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work.  Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of materials including videos, films, websites as well as interactive learning tools.

Most of the optional modules consist of a mixture of lectures and seminars that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of around 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 you prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions. 

Admissions tutors

Dr Mariagiovanna Motta, Course Administrator

Dr Mariagiovanna Motta, Admissions Tutor


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