FAQ

An enthusiastic Dante studentAn enthusiastic Italian Studies student

Questions about Language Classes
Questions about Majors and Minors
Questions about International Study
Questions about Graduate Study

Questions about Language Classes

The Undergraduate Bulletin says something about a Placement Exam. What’s that?

The Placement Exam is primarily intended for students who have studied Italian in high school but did not take the AP or SAT II. Under no circumstance may students place themselves.

When I tried to register for an Italian class everything I wanted was full. What can I do?

There are a number of reasons class sizes are limited, but the most important of them is to ensure that every student has the best learning experience possible. For 30000 / 40000 level courses, be sure to check any crosslists for spaces, or email the instructor.

If there are compelling extenuating circumstances that you believe should be taken into account, you may present your case to the Assistant Chair of the Department to find out what alternatives you may have for language courses.

Should I contact the instructor directly for permission?

No, since most instructors are unable to access up-to-date enrollment figures, your first stop should always be the Assistant Chair. Please be aware that if there are other sections still open for the course you want it is unlikely you will be able to get an exemption.

I heard that the department keeps a waiting list for students should slots open up in courses that are full. How do I get on that list?

The department does not generally keep a waiting list for classes until all sections of a given course and/or level are filled. In the event you have been unable to enroll in any section of a given course you may go to the department office to discuss your situation with the Assistant Chair. You may also want to check inside.nd the first week of classes since sometimes slots open at the last minute.

Who should I talk to about overriding a pre-requisite for a course?

If you do not have the prerequisites as recognized by the automated system to enroll in a course, an exemption form signed by the Assistant Chair must be obtained. If you know you will need this form do not wait until the last minute to pick it up. You should take care of this no later than one week before the first day of registration.

Where can I get advice about language courses?

For questions about first year language courses you may contact the 100-level coordinator; for questions about second year language courses you should talk to your current instructor or you may contact the 200-level coordinator. If you have not taken a class at Notre Dame or if you need immediate assistance, you should come to the department office in 343 O'Shaughnessy Hall.

I’m applying for a grant and need to get a language evaluation. Who should I contact?

If you have done coursework at Notre Dame you should contact your most recent instructor. If you have had no university coursework in Italian you may contact the Director of the Italian Language Program.

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Questions about Majors and Minors in Italian

I’m interested in pursuing a major in Italian. What are the requirements?

The first major in Italian includes ten courses at the 20000 (Intermediate I) level or above. The supplementary major in Italian has eight courses. For specific requirements and a worksheet click here. You may also pick up a worksheet in the department office in 343 O’Shaughnessy Hall.

Is there a minor available in Italian?

Yes.  The Minor requires five courses at the 20000 level or above.

I’m ready to declare. What should I do?

You will need to have your paperwork signed by the Assistant Chair of the department, who will also help you fill out a grid that explains the major. At that time you will be assigned a faculty adviser, with whom you should meet during the week prior to registration. It is usually a good idea to double check to make sure your paperwork has gone through about three months after you have submitted it or by the third week of classes Fall of your senior year, whichever comes first.

How often do I have to meet with my faculty adviser?

First majors must meet with their faculty adviser the week before registration each semester. Supplementary majors are also strongly encouraged to meet with their faculty adviser as soon as they declare the major and no later than the second semester of their junior year.

How many 200-level courses may I count toward the major?

You may count only two of your 200-level courses toward the major; in fact since the 200-level courses in Italian make a two-step sequence, you can only take two 200-level courses in Italian.

I have AP credit hours. Do these count toward my major?

No, AP credit hours fulfill language requirements only and will not be used toward your Italian major. You may only count credits in university-level courses.

But I heard this from a friend of mine who is an Italian major...

Sorry, this information is incorrect. When in doubt, you should always speak to your faculty adviser to get the correct information on major requirements. If your adviser is on leave or otherwise unavailable you may contact the Undergraduate Coordinator.

How was I supposed to know these were the requirements?

These requirements are available in the Undergraduate Bulletin and in the department, and it is each major’s responsibility to see his or her faculty advisor on a regular basis.

What do you mean when you say 50% of courses must be taken “in residence” at Notre Dame?

This means that you must take at least half of your major courses here on the Notre Dame campus: four courses minimum for supplementary majors and five minimum for first majors. The other half may be taken abroad (in one of Notre Dame’s international programs) or at another accredited university, with approval.

What about Passage to Italy,  that's required, right?

It is highly recommended that students take ROIT 30310 (Passage to Italy) as a bridge course between the language sequence and advanced classes.  Highly motivated and proficient students can occasionally go straight to the Introduction to Literature and Culture courses without TPassage to Italy, but this is an exception.

I’m still confused. Who can I talk to?

Once you declare your major you will have two faculty resources: the Undergraduate Coordinator and your faculty adviser. Either should be able to help you with your program. In the unlikely event that neither your faculty adviser nor the Undergraduate Coordinator is available you may contact the Assistant Chair.

How do I find out who my faculty adviser is?

If you have declared your major and do not know who your faculty adviser is you may contact Sara Nunley (E-mail) in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

When I tried to register for an Italian class everything I wanted was full. What can I do?

There are a number of reasons class sizes are limited, but the most important of them is to ensure that every student has the best learning experience possible. If there are still spaces available in a given course by the end of registration, you may talk to the Undergraduate Coordinator or Assistant Chair, but no decisions can be made before that time.  Under certain circumstances a class may be divided into two sections, or the enrollment will be increased. For 30000/40000 level courses, be sure also to check for spaces under crosslists.

Should I contact the instructor directly for permission?

No, since most instructors are unable to access up-to-date enrollment figures, your first stop should always be the Assistant Chair. Note that the department is unlikely to place you in a section of a given course when other alternatives remain open. For upper level courses, you may check with the Instructor. 

What’s the difference between the “honors track” and the “honors society?”

The honors track is a possibility for motivated first majors. To graduate with honors students must take a graduate seminar their senior year or an Honors Thesis Tutorial, and complete a substantive research paper that constitutes the honors thesis. To qualify for the honors track students must be a first major with a GPA higher than 3.7. Qualified students may apply before the end of their junior year, or contact the Graduate Coordinator directly for more information.

The Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society is a national organization that is administered through the Department. To be eligible for membership, a student must have taken at least five courses in Italian (the fifth course may be a current one), have obtained at least a B average in those courses, and be in the upper third of his or her graduating class. The current faculty advisor for Gamma Kappa Alpha is Professor John Welle.

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Questions about International Study

Who can help me plan my schedule of courses to take while abroad?

For Notre Dame sponsored programs you may speak to any Italian faculty or Kathy Opel in International Studies about the Rome program; to Dave Younger in International Studies or Christian Moevs about the Bologna Program.

Important note: Approval forms for applications are handled by the Assistant Chair. Please do not wait until the last minute to do this.

If you are enrolling through a non-Notre Dame program your first stop should be the Undergraduate Dean¹s office in your College. They will check to see if the program is accredited and then refer you back to the Department for specific advice on courses. Once you have determined the courses available that will fulfill major requirements, the Assistant Chair or Undergraduate Coordinator will sign the Transfer Credit Pre-Approval form.

My major advisor says I can't fit international study into my program. What should I do?

Contact the International Studies Programs office. All the programs in Italian-speaking countries offer courses that may be applied to your general university requirements.

Seriously, there’s no way I can fit a semester abroad in. Does Notre Dame have any programs during the summer?

There are a number of Italian program in various cities of Italy, but consult with the Office of International Studies to see whether they can be integrated into your Notre Dame program.  See the International Studies website for details. For advice on summer study in Italy, contact Alessia Blad. 

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Questions about Graduate Study

I heard you can get a Master's degree in just five years, is that true?

No. The BA/MA program is no long offered in Italian. 

Can Notre Dame undergraduates apply to the regular MA program?

Absolutely! Both first and supplementary majors in Italian are welcome to apply.

I graduated two years ago. Would I still be eligible?

Yes, you may apply for the two-year MA program at any time as long as you you get your materials in by the required deadline.

Is there a PhD in Italian available at Notre Dame?

There is a Ph.D. program in Italian available at the University of Notre Dame. For more information, please click here.

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