Graduate Program

The Department of Italian Studies at New York University is recognized as one of the finest Italian programs in the country. It offers programs leading to the Master of Arts degree in Italian Studies and the Ph.D. degree in Italian. Courses are taught by an outstanding faculty with specialization in key areas of Italian literature and cultural history. Specific strengths of the faculty lie in the fields of medieval and Renaissance studies, 20th-century literature, film, and culture; postmodern Italy; the application of new technologies to the humanities; and cultural theory. In addition to courses taught by faculty members, the program offers courses taught by eminent visiting professors from Italy and the United States. The Tiro a Segno fellowship in Italian-American culture allows the department to appoint prominent visiting professors to teach courses concerning the experience and contribution of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans to American culture and society.

The Italian program attracts full-time graduate students of superior quality from all parts of the world. In addition to training capable and creative scholars, one of the program's objectives is to promote the effective teaching of Italian at all levels. To this end, students teach several Italian language and literature courses, normally during the second and third years. The Italian program also welcomes qualified part-time students who wish to obtain a master’s degree. An interdisciplinary approach is recommended: students are encouraged to enroll in additional courses outside of the department, e.g., courses in history, cinema, comparative literature, and the fine arts.

NYU offers graduate students in Italian a number of unique resources. At this time, PhD students may pursue dissertation research and do independent work at magnificent Villa La Pietra, NYU’s center for study abroad in Florence, and at the Università di Firenze. Graduate students may also take advantage of the resources of Casa Italiana, one of the most active Italian cultural centers in New York. Casa Italiana hosts colloquia, lectures, film series, concerts, and art exhibits throughout the year. In addition, two conference series are now hosted by the Department: an annual graduate spring conference and a biennial joint conference organized by the Department in conjunction with the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM), intended to bring together Italian and US scholars within the disciplines of history and literature.


Several of our graduate courses include:

Studies in Italian Culture 
ITAL-GA 1981  Faculty. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Variable content course. Recent topics: social and cultural studies (Forgacs); Nietzsche in Italy and France (Merjian); diversity and otherness in contemporary Italy (Forgacs); Pasolini and a politics of art (Merjian); film and urban space in Italy (Forgacs); Florentine Culture, 1250-1600 (Cox); Language and Politics in Italy from the Renaissance to Berlusconi (Cox and Ben-Ghiat).

Topics in Italian American Culture 
ITAL-GA 2165  Faculty. 4 points. 2016-17
Topics range from sociology of immigration to anthropology of ethnic identity, and from Italian American fiction to the contribution of Italian Americans to the visual and performing arts.

Topics in Italian Literature 
ITAL-GA 2192  Faculty. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Variable content course. Recent topics: pastoral and peasants in Italian culture (Tylus); gender and writing in Renaissance Italy (Cox); love and magic, words and images in Orlando Furioso and 16th-century culture (Bolzoni).

Guided Individual Reading 
ITAL-GA 2891  Faculty. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17

Ph.D. Exam Preparation Seminar 
ITAL-GA 3020  Forgacs, Ardizzone. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This course comprises a series of student-led seminars under the direction of the Director of Graduate Studies, intended to prepare students for their Ph.D. exam.

Research Preparation in Italian Studies 
ITAL-GA 3030  Faculty. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This course is designed to introduce students in the Ph.D. program to independent research in preparation for their concentrated work on the dissertation. It is a required course for students in their last semester of course work.

Medieval/Early Modern

Divina Commedia 
ITAL-GA 2311  Ardizzone. 4 points. 2016-17
This course proposes a reading of Dante’s Commedia considered in light of the theological, philosophical and rhetorical learning of Dante’s time.

Dante and Medieval Thought 
ITAL-GA 2314  Ardizzone. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Dante’s minor works and, in particular, Vita Nova, Convivio, and De Vulgari eloquentia, read in light of the philosophical-theological debate of the time. Focus is on intellectual history, medieval theory of knowledge, intelligence, and speculation from the Pseudo-Dyonisius to Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Sigier of Brabant and Bonaventure.

Studies in Medieval Culture 
ITAL-GA 2389  Ardizzone, Vise. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Variable content course. Recent topics: bodies, passion, and knowledge; Stilnovisti: poetry and ntellectual history; politics, poetics, and imagination in 13th-century poetry: from the Sicilian School to Cino da Pistoia; Dante, the Prose Works as an Intellectual Autobiography.

The Arts of Eloquence in Medieval and Early Modern Italy  
ITAL-GA 2588  Cox. 4 points. 2016-17
Recent scholarship in medieval and early modern culture has increasingly stressed the centrality of the study of rhetoric in these periods and the range of its influence, not simply on literature but on everything from art, music, and architecture to political thought. This course serves as an introduction to medieval and early modern rhetoric in Italy, conceived of broadly as a global art of persuasive discourse, spanning both verbal and nonverbal uses.

Studies in Renaissance Literature 
ITAL-GA 2589  Cox, Bolzoni, Tylus. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Variable content course. Recent topics: The Italian Lyric Tradition from Petrarch to Marino (Tylus); art and literature, poetry and portrait in Italian Renaissance (Bolzoni); the literature of pilgrimage in early modern Italy (Tylus) 2014-15.

The Courtesan in Early Modern Italian Society and Culture 
ITAL-GA 2590  Cox. 4 points. 2016-17
Examines the figure of the so-called cortigiana onesta within 16th- to 17th-century Italian culture, with a particular focus on the role courtesans played within the literary culture of the period, both as authors and as the subject of literary works. Also pays some attention to representations of courtesans within the visual arts and to their role within the musical culture of the time and in the early history of Italian theatre.

Studies in Early Modern Literature 
ITAL-GA 2689  Cox, Tylus. 4 points. Variable content course. Recent topics: Studies in Translation (Tylus). 2016-17

Seminar on Dante 
ITAL-GA 3142  Ardizzone. 4 points. 22015-16, 2016-17
This course proposes a reading of Dante’s Commedia and prose works.

19th and 20th Centuries

ITAL-GA 1980  Ben-Ghiat. 4 points. 2016-17
This course examines the Neorealist movement in cinema and literature that swept Italian culture just after World War Two. We will explore the varieties of Neorealist styles and ideologies, Neorealisms, cultural and political context (Reconstruction, the Cold War, the legacies of fascism, war trauma), and its influence in later Italian culture and film.

Italian Colonialism 
ITAL-GA 2972  Ben-Ghiat. 4 points. 2015-16.
Explores Italian colonialism from the late 19th century through decolonization. Through readings of colonial travel literature, novels, films, diaries, memoirs, and other texts, students address the meaning of colonialism within Italian history and culture, the specificities of the Italian colonial case within broader trends of European imperialism, and the legacies of colonialism in contemporary Italy.

20th-Century Italian Poetry 
ITAL-GA 2984  Ardizzone. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Reading and analysis of major poetic texts of the century until contemporary poetry. Principal authors: D’Annunzio, Pascoli, Luzi, Montale, Saba, Sereni, Ungaretti, Zanzotto. Focus is on movements such as symbolism, decadentism, ermetism, as well as the discourse of the avant-garde.

Studies in 20th-Century Literature 
ITAL-GA 2989  Variable content course. Staff. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17



For more information on our graduate program, please contact our Department Administrator, Anne Wolff-Lawson ( and our Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Jane Tylus (