The graduate program in Italian is committed to the interdisciplinary study of Italian literature, linguistics and culture. Our faculty work on areas ranging from literature and cinema to language acquisition and pragmatics to critical theory and music. Recent and current graduate students working in Italian have written on topics ranging from the literature of extracomunitari in Italy, women’s voices in lyric poetry, the acquisition of verb morphology, to postmodernism and detective fiction. Prospective graduate students should know that they will training appropriate for an ever-more interdisciplinary profession, but that they will have the resources of a major university, ranging from the European Union Center to the largest public university library in the world, containing world-famous Dante and Tasso collections, alongside equally important collections of Proust, Rilke and Milton.
In order to encourage innovative work that crosses disciplinary boundaries, the Ph.D. program in Spanish, Italian & Portuguese literary and cultural studies requires students to pass doctoral exams not only on the dissertation topic and period, as well as a contiguous period, but also an outside field or chronological period. As a result, we strongly encourage students—while acquiring a solid foundation in Italian culture—to work outside the program during their stay here, particularly in those programs that offers graduate minors and certificates, such as the Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory, the Unit for Cinema Studies, and the program in Gender & Women’s Studies. Italian at UIUC also has a strong connection with the Program in Comparative Literature. Students in the Ph.D. program in Italian linguistics pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE).
We recognize that financial support is a crucial aspect of a graduate career, and we are committed to providing our continuing students with fellowships and teaching opportunities. All of our graduate students in Italian have received Graduate Teaching Assistantships, which include tuititon and partial fee waivers. Before completing their degrees, our Ph.D. students have the opportunity to teach in their content area, in addition to language courses.