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Italian (BA)

  • R300

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

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, which are vital communication skills. But what makes learning Italian at Cardiff University different is the methodology we implement in the teaching of the language. This is an innovative methodology by which 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 even complete beginners should be perfectly able to survive in Italy. By the end of your second year you will be able to communicate accurately and effectively in Italian in both formal and informal situations.

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 Code R300
Duration 4 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School admits 170 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes
Typical applications received 630
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB (B in a language)
Admissions Tutor Dr Fabio Vighi
Tel Number 029 2087 5605
Email address
School website

Year 1

Whether you come to Cardiff to study for Single or Joint Honours Italian, you will combine Italian with other subjects in your first year. This allows you to try out new subjects or to study up to three languages for a year and to change your degree programme after year one, should you wish to do so after obtaining the required grades. We run two language pathways for Italian students: Italian A, for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in Italian, and Italian B, for students beginning Italian.

Italian Language Year One (Beginners)

This is an intensive language course designed to help students to achieve excellent intermediate oral, aural and writing skills.  What makes learning Italian at Cardiff University different is the methodology we implement in the teaching of the language. This is an innovative methodology by which you will be taught exclusively through the medium of Italian from your very first lesson, even at beginners level. You will not have separate 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. The methodology is so effective that by the end of your first year even complete beginners should be perfectly able to survive in Italy.

Italian Language Year One (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.
All first-year students in Italian also follow a compulsory core module:

Modern Italy: the Birth of a Nation?

This module explores major historical, socio-political, and cultural developments in Italy from the Napoleonic wars to the present.   This is not a ‘traditional’ history  module,  you will learn how much novels and films can tell you about the history of a country.

Year 2

Compulsory Modules


Option Modules (note that the list of modules is indicative only and modules may vary from year to year).


Year 3

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. You may even get a visit from one of your Italian tutors who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

You will also have the opportunity to share your experience by entering the Year Abroad Photo Competition, which rewards one student on each of the language degree programmes (joint or single) in French, German, Italian and Spanish with a £50 prize.


The School has established academic links exchanges with universities in Milan, Pavia, Parma, Pisa, Verona, Trento, Venice and Catania.  The host university organizes introductory courses in Italian language and culture, and students can then enrol on undergraduate modules.

All students going on a Socrates exchange enjoy an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in Italy. Since other students have gone from Cardiff to all of the above mentioned destinations before you, their experiences provide a helpful guide about what to expect.

Returning students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have helped us to set up an extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with user-friendly advice throughout your year abroad.


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 provides excellent experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. The British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. Your school should also guide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live on arrival.

You also have the possibility of taking a placement, for example, in an Italian organisation or company. These arrangements can be made through any personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. You will of course need to make sure that the position you are going for affords you plenty of opportunity to speak Italian. Such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Experience another culture

No matter what the arrangement, the Year Abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your Italian, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain further study or work experience. Most of our graduates in Italian regard having lived in Italy as the most significant experience during their university studies at Cardiff, with a positive impact on their personal development and career.

Past students have described it as "the best experience of my life".

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

Year 4

In Year 4, students follow an advanced language course designed to develop and refine their oral, aural, and written Italian. Note that the list of modules below is indicative only and modules may vary from year to year.

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.

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 modern foreign language. (General Studies is not accepted)
Typical WBQ Offer  B (Italian or other language), B at A2 and Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma with a pass in the Core
Typical Int Bacc Offer Considered on individual merit

Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

Modern language degrees provide students with a range of communication and intercultural skills. Students are in high demand both for their cultural awareness and linguistic skills. Graduates in modern languages go on to further study and teaching but are also sought after in telecommunications, in international organisations and institutions, such as the charity sector and European bodies and agencies, and in public administration.

The diversity of careers in Modern Languages is testament to the range of linguistic, social and intellectual skills which are integral to modern language training and which are highly valued on the job market. Two very distinct language-related career areas are open for consideration – specialist language careers which revolve around the language concerned and secondly, careers which use language, whilst keeping their main focus on another skill/area of expertise.

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