Italian Language Courses and Training Programs

Italian is one of the most popular languages to learn - not surprising since Italy is one of the world's top travel destinations and cultural centers, and was the home of many historical figures, including artists, musicians and poets. Italian courses are available through degree programs or stand-alone courses for personal interest. Read on to learn more about some of the common courses available in Italian.

Essential Information

Italian language courses incorporate elementary, intermediate and advanced levels of linguistic study, focusing on speaking, reading, writing and listening. Additionally, several courses teach various aspects of Italian culture, such as literature and film. Italian courses and degree programs are readily available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as through continuing education courses, cultural center classes and study abroad programs.

List of Common Courses

The following summaries describe some typical courses taken by Italian language students.

Elementary Italian

Elementary or beginning Italian provides the foundation for further language study. The curriculum usually focuses on the four major disciplines of foreign language education: speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension. Most elementary Italian courses incorporate some instruction in Italian culture and history as supplemental material. These courses are taught in Italian and are typically offered over the course of an academic year.

Intermediate Italian

Also usually offered over the course of an academic year, an intermediate level focuses on refining and strengthening the skills gained in elementary Italian. The four foreign language disciplines continue to govern the curriculum in which students complete more intensive assignments, such as oral presentations, written compositions and the study of Italian texts. Knowledge of Italian culture is deepened as students develop skills by interacting with more primary materials.

Advanced Conversation and Composition

Advanced students are expected to develop and demonstrate full integration of Italian speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension in classroom conversation and written assignments. Cultural and historical aspects of Italian studies shape language assignments. This level of an Italian language program is the most variable by specific institution. Some colleges approach it as a traditional 2-semester advanced Italian course, while others offer advanced language study through Italian opera, film or even a creative writing workshop in a 1-semester format.

Italian Literature

Some courses in Italian literature are offered by language departments, in which case they're directed toward advanced students and taught in Italian; others are comparative literature courses taught in English using translations. Courses in Italian literature are very diverse. Survey courses provide an overview of general trends in Italian literature, while other courses may focus on a specific theme, author, genre or style. Some schools offer in-depth Italian literature courses that can extend three semesters, covering a literary topic through different historical periods.

Italian Cinema

A national contribution to the art form, Italian cinema is frequently emphasized in advanced language studies, as well as in film studies programs. Students are exposed to the history of Italian film and great directors, such as Rossellini, Antonioni and Bertolucci. Courses may also examine film styles and the influence of film on modern culture. Depending on the focus of the program, courses in Italian cinema may be taught in English or Italian.

Training Programs

In addition to college courses, Italian language courses can be found at university extension programs, cultural centers and private language schools. Extension programs generally offer the elementary, intermediate and conversational levels of study, and some schools offer study abroad programs as well. Cultural centers and private language schools typically offer all levels of language study, with an emphasis on conversation and options for those planning on travel in Italy. Cultural education is typically incorporated into language courses of all levels.

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