Florence, Italy
Degrees Offered: BA MA PhD Minor

French and Italian students acquire in­depth knowledge of their chosen language and culture, often through a semester or year living and studying abroad. Graduates receive a broad­based liberal arts education, learning practical, critical and analytic skills essential for problem solving and effective interaction in the world beyond the university. Proficiency in one or more foreign languages is an asset to many professions and provides an enriching understanding of the world. A degree in French or Italian prepares students for a wide variety of career choices in fields such as interpreting, translating and foreign language teaching. It also serves as an auxiliary skill in business, industry and commerce, civil service (both foreign and domestic), law, library science, journalism, radio and television, the film industry, publishing, science and social sciences, travel and tourism, and religious, health and social service agencies in the United States and abroad.

Undergraduate Opportunities

The major in French is built around a series of stimulating courses that allow students to acquire language skills, study literary works that have helped to shape Western and Francophone culture and develop an in­depth knowledge of French thought. After successfully completing the program, students feel at ease with the language and culture of France, are able to apply this knowledge to other areas of the humanities or social sciences and feel comfortable travelling or working in French­speaking countries. Undergraduate French students also have the option of studying abroad in Annecy, Rennes, Strasbourg, Paris, Toulouse or Belgium, while Italian students can study abroad in Florence, Perugia or Ferrara.

The major in Italian provides graduates with modern Italian language skills suitable for everyday life. By combining courses offered through the department with Italian interest courses from other departments, including film studies, fine arts, humanities and history, the program promotes an understanding of the role of the Italian literary and cultural tradition within Western civilization. Italy is the cradle of the Renaissance and continues to project a powerful formative influence. Thus, in addition to supplying the language skills necessary for advanced professional study and specialization, studying Italian introduces graduates to a rich literary, artistic and intellectual history at the roots of the modern world. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the few schools in the Rocky Mountain region to offer an undergraduate major in Italian.

Graduate Studies

MA, PhD in French

The Department of French and Italian at CU­ Boulder enjoys a national reputation, and is the only PhD granting department in the Rocky Mountain region. The department offers comprehensive coverage of all areas of French and Francophone literature, and has an outstanding record of placing its MA and PhD recipients in desirable positions of employment. The graduate program typically counts an enrollment of 20­25 students, drawn from both the U.S. and several foreign countries, pursuing interests from the middle ages to twentieth­century and Francophone literatures.

Graduate students are required to take a number of courses outside the department for their degrees, and have wide freedom in choosing these courses. The department also has two year­long exchange programs in conjunction with French universities. The department, the Center for Humanities and the Arts, the Graduate School and the College of Arts & Sciences all offer many grants and fellowships of various amounts to help fund graduate student travel, conference attendance and research. Entering students are also eligible for a series of fellowships.

Research Opportunities

In addition to its regular course offerings, the department frequently invites lecturers to speak on critical and literary problems, and visiting professors to teach seminars on special topics. There are regular meetings of foreign language conversation tables and clubs. Students can work in up­to­date, well­equipped language laboratories, be videotaped in conversation courses, receive computer­assisted instruction at a variety of levels and attend presentations of films, plays and festivals in their chosen foreign language. 

The several-­million-­volume Norlin Library is the largest in the region by far, and the university is a leader in adapting the newest advances in high technology towards teaching and research. The university has recently made a major commitment to the humanities, including the establishment of the new Center for Humanities and the Arts and the construction of a new high­tech humanities office and classroom building, which the Department of French and Italian now occupies.

The department provides mandatory seminars on teacher training, and CU­ Boulder’s innovative Graduate Teacher Program has been cited as a national model. In addition to teaching workshops, the program offers the chance to be a lead teacher in the department, and for advanced students, provides the opportunity to visit many other campuses in the state to get a better sense of the academic world and job market.