Ph.D. in Italian


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The Ph.D. in Italian is a highly selective program that teaches and trains students working in the field of Italian Studies. The program offers a flexible curriculum tailored to each student’s interests and background that leads to a new dissertation-oriented program of study designed to achieve both a high degree of specialization and a broad understanding of Italian literature and culture. Although students in the Ph.D. in Italian mainly work on Italian questions, they enrich their area of specialization by following three courses in a single field allied to their primary research interests, such as history, film studies, cultural anthropology, medieval studies, philosophy, theology, Romance philology, critical theory, art history, etc. In addition, students attend the Italian Seminar, which functions as a ‘core course’ for the degree; the ‘language pedagogy’ course; and a course on literary and/or critical theory.

The Ph.D. in Italian aims are to cultivate a dynamic and productive graduate academic community benefitting from high-quality teaching, one that is engaged in original research leading to academic publications, to attending and contributing to scholarly meetings, and to completing successful doctoral dissertations in a timely manner. In addition, the Italian section offers students the opportunity to develop and teach language, literature, and culture courses as part of a broader endeavor to prepare its students in all aspects of life as university teachers and researchers. Students receive advanced training in various areas of scholarly specialization, in pedagogy, in research methods, in writing for publication, in developing and applying for funding, in oral presentation, and in preparing for and performing in job interviews. The goal is to train students to the highest professional and academic standards, thereby ensuring that they will have the best chance possible to be appointed to tenure-track positions and to be successful in their career as scholars. Indeed, the majority of graduate students who have completed Ph.D. dissertations on Italian topics have been appointed to tenure-track posts.

The program offers the opportunity to participate in research exchanges with major universities, including Cambridge, Verona, and Roma III, and to spend time doing research based at the University of Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway.

Course requirements

At least 60 credit hours, or a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond a previously awarded master’s degree, are required for the Ph.D.. These credit hours are earned through a combination of coursework and/or research. The minimum residency requirement for the Ph.D. degree is full-time status for four consecutive semesters.

Applications for Fall Admissions

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We are currently accepting applications for entry in Fall admissions. Prospective applicants can find general information on the application process on the Graduate School website, where they can also complete and submit their applications. The application deadline is January 8.

Please note that if you apply electronically, there is no application fee to pay this year. To process the waiver please contact Ms Linda Rule ( / 574-631-6887).

Application Requirements

  • GRE General Test (optional)
  • TOEFL or IELTS for non-native speakers of English
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Statement of intent (maximum 750 words)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Two writing samples: one in English and one in Italian (Ph.D.)

Please contact Professor Zyg Barański with any questions about the Ph.D. program and the application process.


Students admitted to the Ph.D. in Italian are awarded a full five-year funding package that includes tuition remission, a competitive stipend, health benefits, and additional funding for research and conference travel. Many students also receive additional funding in the form of premium fellowships and other top-up funds. 

Students receive teaching remission in years 1, 2, and 5. During years 3 and 4, the standard teaching load is one course per semester.

Guaranteed Sixth-year Post-doctoral Fellowship

As part of 5+1 Doctoral Program, Students who complete the Ph.D. in five years (namely, complete all requirements for the degree at least 10 days before the start of what would otherwise be their 11th semester) are guaranteed a fully funded one-year postdoctoral fellowship with a teaching load of no more than one course per semester.