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Italian and Politics (BA)

  • LR23

4 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Expertise in politics and government combined with fluency in Italian opens the door to a wide variety of career paths. Students on this programme can choose from the full range of Politics modules, while expert language training is accompanied by optional modules on Italian society and culture. A particular feature of this four-year degree is the Year Abroad: your third year is spent in Italy in order to practise and improve your language skills.

In your first year you concentrate on core modules plus your language. In your second and final years you choose from among a wide range of option modules as well as continuing your language study, with your Year Abroad in between.

Politics as an area of study is concerned with developing knowledge and understandings of governments, governance and societies. Politics is central to our everyday lives. It is about who gets what, when, where, how and why. It is about people and power and involves drama and events of great significance for everyone's lives. Just think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating why politics works as it does. You explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

Italy possesses one of the major literary, historical and legal traditions in Western Europe, and has played a unique role in the development of fine art, cinema, architecture and music. From Roman times the Italian contribution to world culture has been enormous. It is a major political partner in the European Union, a leading force in fields such as engineering and architecture, and the home of the design and fashion industries.

Italian and Politics

Key Facts

UCAS Code LR23
Duration 4 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School of Modern Languages admits around 170 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received The School of Modern Languages = 630
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB (B in a foreign language) excluding General Studies
Admissions Tutor Dr Fabio Vighi
Tel Number 029 2087 5605
Email address
School website

Year 1

The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second, third and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The programme is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

For the Politics side of the degree there are two compulsory core modules:

The Italian side of the degree runs two language pathways: Italian A, for students with an A-level or equivalent in Italian, and Italian B, for students beginning Italian. Students take either Italian A or Italian B, plus Modern Italy. A further module can be chosen from among Politics modules or modules from other subjects, such as Philosophy, History or English.

Italian Language Year One B (Beginners)

This is an intensive language course designed to develop excellent intermediate oral, aural and writing skills.  What makes learning Italian at Cardiff University different is that you will be taught exclusively through the medium of Italian from your very first lesson, even at beginners’ level. The methodology is so effective that by the end of your first year you should no difficulty surviving in Italy.

Italian Language Year One A (Advanced)

This course builds upon your linguistic skills acquired at A-level, reinforcing your competence in grammar and deepening your stylistic proficiency. The course has written, oral, and aural components, and teaching is largely undertaken by Italian native speakers.  Novels, films  and comics will be some of the tools you will use to develop your knowledge of the Italian language.

Modern Italy: the Birth of a Nation?

This module traces major historical, socio-political, and cultural developments in Italy from the Napoleonic wars to the present, in part through novels and films.

Two further modules can be chosen from among Politics modules (see below) or modules from other subjects, such as Philosophy, History or English.

Year 2

In Year 2 you choose three Politics and three Italian modules. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that modules may vary from year to year.


Year 3

The third year is spent abroad in Italy 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.

The School has established academic links with universities in Milan, Pavia, Parma, Pisa, Verona, Trento, Venice and Catania.  All students going on a Socrates exchange receive an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in Italy.

As a teaching assistant on a scheme run by the British Council, you could go to a major city or to a small, rural town. This option allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. There is also the option of a placement in an Italian organisation or company.

Year 4

In your Final Year you choose three Politics and three Italian modules, including the option of doing a dissertation.

Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. This is designed to give you ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between you and members of the academic staff.

Different seminar formats are used. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.

Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby develop your capacities to apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political questions; acquire detailed knowledge about a particular area of politics; use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

Language: We place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills. What makes learning Italian at Cardiff University different is that you will be taught exclusively through the medium of Italian from your very first lesson, even at beginners level. You will not have specific classes for grammar, conversation, translation etc. Instead, in each class you will learn (or revise if you are advanced) a new piece of grammar and spend the rest of the time trying to implement what you learn in small group conversations, with the support of the teacher and Italian exchange students. This makes for a more authentic experience.

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.

Typical A-level Offer  ABB including a B in a foreign language (excluding General Studies)
Typical WBQ Offer  Advanced Diploma with a pass in the Core and grades BB at GCE A-level, to include a Modern Foreign Language
Typical Int Bacc Offer  32 points overall (including 5 in a language at higher level)
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

For employers the Politics part of the degree means that you have an excellent understanding of politics and government at national and international level that will be of use whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors. Business firms are interested in recruiting Politics graduates due to the fact that firms have frequent dealings with government. The degree also demonstrates that you possess highly developed intellectual and communications skills.

In addition, two distinct language-related career areas are open for consideration: specialist language careers which revolve around the language concerned, such as teaching, and careers which use language while keeping their main focus on another skill/area of expertise.

The combined degree in Politics and Italian therefore prepares you for careers in a wide range of fields. These include journalism, broadcasting, teaching, local government, management, publishing, law, accountancy, education, the voluntary sector, policy research and consultancy, and the civil service. In addition, fluency in Italian opens the door to careers in telecommunications and in international organisations and institutions, such as the charity sector and European bodies and agencies. A further option is to go on to postgraduate study.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Alex Ford (UG)  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0824 



School Website:

More information

School of Modern Languages

Politics and International Relations