Italian, MA

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Jo Ann Cavallo
Director of Graduate Studies: Elizabeth Leake
Email Address: [email protected]
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

Drawing on a distinguished history initiated in 1825 by Lorenzo Da Ponte, celebrated librettist of Mozart's operas and first teacher of Italian at Columbia University, the department is known for providing broad coverage of Italian literature and boasts a faculty that represents a diverse spectrum of interests and critical approaches. In addition, students are able to take advantage of the rich cultural and scholarly programs sponsored by the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. The Paterno Collection, housed in Butler Library, is a unique resource for the study of Italian literature.

To earn the MA, students must complete a total of ten courses.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose, a writing sample (a course paper, term paper in either English or Italian, etc.), a personal statement, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.


A high degree of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English and Italian is required. Although an undergraduate major in Italian is not a prerequisite, the student must have a general knowledge of Italian literature. Prior study of Latin, German, or a Romance language other than Italian is recommended. The GRE General Exam is required.