Italian and Linguistics (BA)

Department Website

Program Description


New York University’s Department of Italian Studies is the largest free-standing Italian department in North America, with faculty expertise that includes a range of historical periods and methodologies, spanning from medieval literature to neorealist cinema. Students can take courses in topics such as Renaissance epic, Futurism, literary translation, avant-garde literature, opera, Italian American culture, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Classes are conducted in both Italian and English.

We offer one-on-one faculty advising for students who choose to write honors theses and/or present their work at our annual undergraduate research symposium. Through our department, students have access to the bountiful event programming of the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and have the opportunity for internships and scholarships. Majors and minors are encouraged to enrich their studies by spending at least one semester at NYU’s breathtaking Florence campus.

Students of Italian studies gain cultural fluency and research experience that prepares them for graduate study and for careers in a range of fields.


Linguistics is the science of human language. It seeks to determine that which is necessary in human language, that which is possible, and that which is impossible. While linguists work to determine the unique qualities of individual languages, they are constantly searching for linguistic universals—properties whose explanatory power reaches across languages. The discipline of linguistics is organized around syntax (the principles by which sentences are organized), morphology (the principles by which words are constructed), semantics (the study of meaning), phonetics (the study of speech sounds), phonology (the sound patterns of language), historical linguistics (the ways in which languages change over time), sociolinguistics (the interaction of language with society), psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics (the representation of language in the brain). Current research by faculty members extends across the field, including topics in the interaction of syntax and semantics, phonetics and phonology, languages in contact, pidgin and creole languages, urban sociolinguistics, and computer analogies of syntactic processes.

Joint Honors

Students interested in pursuing joint honors in Italian and Linguistics should consult with the Italian department as well as with the director of undergraduate studies in Linguistics either in or before the second semester of their junior year.


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