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Italy has one of the ten largest economies in the world, and mastering Italian can open up a world of professional and personal opportunities.

Italian has more than 67 million native speakers worldwide. Some 120 million people speak Italian as a second language. In addition to serving as the official language of Italy, Italian is common in 29 countries, such as Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, North Africa, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

Learning Italian serves as a gateway to a wide variety of career opportunities, in finance, marketing, journalism, translation, and computer programming. Italy is also a leader in the fields of air and water quality control, transportation technology, food and beverage fields, robotics, interior design and fashion.

The courses you take cover both the language and culture of Italy – they are intertwined and competency requires fluency in both. On the very first day of class, students begin speaking Italian and gain valuable communication skills as they progress through the Intermediate and advanced courses. Students may choose from an array of Italian courses on various topics that enable them to understand key turning points in Italian history, society and politics, cultural trends, and movements in the arts and literature. For instance, popular offerings in Italian Food Studies or Multi-Racial Italy Today prepare for careers in health, sustainability, urban agriculture as well as advocating for and implementing strategies for global competence and education. Italian courses contribute to such programs as Global Studies and International Studies.

Program Type


Program Format

On Campus

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Esrom was hired as the dance director at the Fine Arts Institute at East High School in Green Bay. Esrom is graduating with a MFA for Dance Performance and Choreography. (UWM Photo/Marcelo Martinez)
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A double major in political science and communication, Sandra started her first full-time job as an administrative assistant/paralegal in the Milwaukee County Court coordinators office. (UWM Photo/Marcelo Martinez)
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Blake was hired by Rockwell in the sales and engineering department. Blake is a mechanical engineer and interned at Rockwell in Shanghai. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)
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Architecture student Alanna was hired before graduation and works for Excel Engineering as a team designer. She says, “I work with a team to bring ideas to paper and design to construction.” (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)
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Biochemistry major Matida was hired full-time with nonprofit Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin and leads the Dane County team for Project Recovery. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

Major Requirements

Students who wish to become Italian majors may do so by registering with the Italian Program Director. To be accepted and to continue as majors, students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in all Italian courses attempted at UWM. In addition, the College of Letters and Science requires students to attain a 2.0 GPA in all major credits attempted, including any transfer work.

Students who have never studied Italian should begin by taking Italian 103. Students who already have some knowledge of Italian should take the placement exam administered by the Italian Program to determine the language course suited to their skill level. Students placed in more advanced courses can receive up to 14 retroactive credits of Italian if they pass the course in which they are placed with a grade of B or better1.

Course and Credit Requirements

The major in Italian consists of 38 credits. All courses offered by the Italian Program count toward the major. Students are encouraged to take courses in other literatures and Comparative Literature. Up to 6 credits in courses offered in other departments can count toward the Italian major, with the approval of the program director.

At least 15 of the 38 total credits in Italian courses must be earned at the 300-level or above and taken in residence at UWM.

The credits are distributed as follows:

Select 14 credits of first- and second-year Italian language14
Select both of the following courses6
Contemporary Italian Society and Culture
Topics in Italian Literature and Culture in Translation: 2
Select two of the following (these courses are not sequential)6
Advanced Conversation and Composition: Contemporary Italian Usage
Contemporary Italian Language and Culture
Introduction to Italian Literature
Introduction to Italian Literature and Film
Select at least 6 additional credits in upper-level Italian electives6
Select 6 additional credits in Italian, the courses below, or other approved electives.6
High Renaissance Art in Italy
Introduction to Roman Life and Literature
The Life and Literature of the Roman Empire
The Graeco-Roman World: (with appropriate subtitle/topic)
Total Credits38

For students who do not earn retro credits, additional electives will be required to reach the total of 38 credits.


ITALIAN 457, with a passing grade, satisfies the research requirement of the College of Letters and Science. Students will conduct independent research related to the general theme of the course, presenting their research in a final 10- to 12-page paper. 

Letters & Science Advising

During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program while departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major.

College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:

  • assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
  • help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
  • assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
  • provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and 
  • monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.

Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:

  • help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department; 
  • explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and 
  • serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.

Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video. 

Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate360 website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email

Get Advising
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about general degree requirements? Make an appointment with your assigned Letters & Science College Advisor through Navigate or email your advisor.
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about the major specifically? Email your faculty advisor or the department directly.
  • Currently enrolled UWM students not yet in the College of Letters & Science? Email
  • Haven’t started classes yet at UWM? Email our admissions counselor at
Letters & Science Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements for the major (in the Requirements tab of this page), students must fulfill a number of other requirements. Students must take a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. These can be thought of as falling into one of three "buckets:" major, general requirements, and electives, which is where a minor could fall. Many classes fall into more than one bucket at the same time. This is why it is important to talk to your advisor, so you can take advantage of those double-counting opportunities.

Students interested in Italian likely are interested in a career with global features. And that is a very possible outcome! The challenge is figuring out how and where you want to apply your Italian skills – Do you want to work in a business setting for an international company? Do you want to work within the U.S. or work abroad? Do you want to work directly to promote and teach Italian language and culture in an educational or social service setting? Do you want to use your Italian skills everyday in a public facing career in the hospitality or travel industry?

There are so many options, and you will need to research, explore and gain hands-in experience while in college to match your skills, knowledge and interests to jobs in the marketplace. 

Internships, research projects, and part-time jobs can help you determine which career path is right for you. Italian majors often find job opportunities in business administration, marketing and market research, banking, social services, community development, health services, journalism, travel and tourism, sales, teaching, human resources/personnel management, corporate training, and fundraising.  

We encourage you to begin exploring career options when you declare your Italian major or at the start of your sophomore year, whichever comes first.   


Prospective Students (not yet enrolled at UWM)

Prospective students, contact our admissions counselor at or 414-229-7711.

Current Students

General questions such as how to declare, how to change a major, general education requirements, etc. should be directed to the College advising office at or 414-229-4654.

Specific questions about Italian, such as research opportunities, internship opportunities, major requirements, etc., should be directed to Simonetta Milli Konewko.