John Cabot University: the Academic Experience

Undergraduate Course Descriptions and Search

Unless otherwise indicated, all courses carry three semester hours of credit. Please note that not all courses are offered every semester or every year. Students should consult with their Academic Advisors to determine the frequency with which courses are offered and preplan their programs accordingly.

Courses numbered 100-299 are freshman, sophomore, or other introductory level courses. Courses numbered 300-399 are junior or senior level courses, requiring background in the material. Courses numbered 400-499 are senior level courses. Students should ensure that they have completed the prerequisites listed at the end of many course descriptions.

Graduate course descriptions

The University reserves the right to cancel courses with insufficient enrollment, and the curriculum is subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions and program development.

Honors Courses

Students who achieve high levels of academic excellence (minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5) have the option of taking specially designated “Honors Courses.” Please see Course Schedules and Syllabi to see which Honors Courses are currently being offered. Click here to learn more about Honors Courses at John Cabot University

For-Credit Research Assistantships

Students undertaking a for-credit research assistantship have an opportunity to deepen their research skills, while sustaining a more advanced research project in a specific disciplinary area. Research assistants may earn one unit of academic credit (on a P/NP basis) for the completion of at least 45 hours of work. They must complete at least 90% of their work before the end of the semester in which they are registered in order to receive a passing grade. Learn more about For-Credit Research Assistantships

EXP One Credit Courses

These 1 credit courses are designed to provide students with opportunities to acquire useful technical or professional skills, or to engage in academic topics they may enjoy exploring. This particular set of courses aims at encouraging students to think out of the box and break intellectual boundaries. Read through our offerings – which will be updated regularly – and venture into unknown fields! EXP courses can be found in the drop down menu below, grouped under EXP One Credit Courses.

EXP 1 credit courses will normally be offered on four Fridays, designated for each semester. These courses cannot be used to fulfill general distribution requirements, or as Major Electives, or towards the fulfillment of Minor requirements; they can only be taken as general electives. Students can take a maximum of three 1 credit courses within the 120 credit graduation requirement.

Course Search:


IT 101 Introductory Italian I (This course carries 4 semester hours of credit, except for Summer sessions, when it carries 3 semester hours of credit.)

This course is designed to give students basic communicative ability in Italian. By presenting the language in a variety of authentic contexts, the course also seeks to provide an introduction to Italian culture and society. Students work on all four language skills: speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. Note: This course carries 4 semester hours of credit during the Fall and Spring terms, 3 hours in Summer.

IT 102 Introductory Italian II (This course carries 4 semester hours of credit, except for Summer sessions, when it carries 3 semester hours of credit. Prerequisite: Placement or IT 101)

A continuation of IT101. This course aims at developing and reinforcing the language skills acquired in Introductory Italian I, while placing special emphasis on oral communication. Note: This course carries 4 semester hours of credit during the Fall and Spring terms, 3 hours in Summer.

IT 103 Intensive Italian I (This course, which is the equivalent of IT 101 + IT 102, carries 6 semester hours of credit.)

This course meets four times per week and covers the equivalent of a full year of elementary language study (Introductory Italian I and II) in one semester. Designed for highly motivated students who wish to develop communicative ability in Italian in a relatively short time.

IT 201 Intermediate Italian I (Prerequisite: Placement, IT 102, or IT 103)

A continuation of IT 102. This course focuses on consolidating the student’s ability to use Italian effectively. Emphasis is given to grammar review and vocabulary expansion. Selected readings and films acquaint students with contemporary Italy.

IT 202 Intermediate Italian II (Prerequisite: Placement or IT 201)

A continuation of IT 201. While continuing the review of grammar, the course emphasizes the development of reading and composition skills. Short stories, newspaper articles, and films supplement the textbook.

IT 203 Intensive Italian II (This course, which is the equivalent of 201 + 202, carries 6 semester hours of credit. Prerequisite: Placement, IT 102 or IT 103)

This course meets four times per week and covers the equivalent of a full year of intermediate language study (IT 201 and IT 202) in one semester. Designed for highly motivated students who wish to consolidate language skills in a short time.

IT 250 Italian Language Through Italian Songs (Prerequisite: Placement or IT 202 or permission of the instructor)

Open to students who have reached the 202 proficiency level in Italian, this course is designed to develop listening and oral skills as well as to consolidate Italian grammar through the study of popular Italian songs. Research demonstrates, in fact, the high efficacy of music in the learning process of a second language; neurologists have found that musical and language processing occur in the same area of the brain, and there appear to be parallels in how musical and linguistic syntax are processed. Popular Italian songs will serve as a starting point for expanding vocabulary, learning idiomatic expressions, reviewing grammar, and practicing pronunciation. In addition, the themes proposed in the songs will provide topics for class discussion.

IT 281/381 Independent Study

IT 301 Advanced Grammar and Conversation (Prerequisite: Placement or IT 202 or permission of the instructor)

This course is designed to help students gain fluency and confidence in speaking while reviewing the advanced structures of Italian grammar. Contemporary literary and journalistic texts offer an introduction to Italian culture and provide the basis for class discussions geared toward expanding vocabulary and reinforcing the idiomatic use of the language.

IT 302 Italian Composition (Prerequisite: Placement or IT 301 or permission of the instructor)

In this course students will be guided through a variety of types of writing and styles (e.g., journalistic, business and professional, essay). Although mainly designed for advanced non-native speakers, the course may also be taken by native speakers who wish to improve their writing skills. Students will reinforce their knowledge of grammar and syntax, as well as develop vocabulary. In addition, students will learn fundamental writing techniques, such as organizing ideas, selecting examples, drawing conclusions, and using the appropriate style for the given genre or mode of discourse.

IT 308 Introduction to Professional Translation (Prerequisites: Placement or IT 301 or permission of the instructor; EN 110)

This course is designed to introduce students to the world of professional translation. Though it will cover some of the fundamental theoretical concepts of translation, the focus will be on teaching practical translation skills and processes. The course will concentrate mainly on translating from Italian to English, but also vice versa, depending on student enrollment. The aim of the course is to enable participants to produce translations that reflect grammatical accuracy, a command of idiomatic language, cultural sensitivity, and appropriate register and tone. Although mainly designed for advanced non-native speakers of Italian, the course may also be taken by native speakers who are interested in developing their translation skills.

IT 309 Italian Language Through Literature (Prerequisite: Placement or IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

This course investigates the main linguistic transformations of the Italian language during the last century through the language of literature. A selection of some representative short stories from the 1930s to the present day will be studied. The purpose is to analyze different narrative and rhetorical techniques, to follow the progressive definition of the linguistic standard, and to identify the influence of the spoken language on written Italian. After careful reading, students will explore these stories in class discussions on the writer’s technique, style, and ideas, through the analysis of characters, plots, and the large variety of themes and structures used.

IT 310 Introduction to the Study of Italian Literature (Prerequisite: Placement, IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

The course will introduce students to the study of Italian literature; it is designed for those students who have reached 300-level proficiency in Italian language and also functions as a preparatory course for those who wish to study Italian literature at higher levels. The first part of the course focuses on a preliminary explanation of basic literary terminology and teaches students to recognize codes and genres in a limited selection of Italian literary texts. In the second part of the course, students will read samples from significant works of Italian literature in conjunction with selected passages from the canon of Italian literary criticism. They will practice their critical and writing skills by applying the concepts learned during the course to the analysis and reading of the literary texts under consideration. At an introductory level, students will begin to appreciate the difference between commentary and criticism and between both historical and formal approaches to the study of Italian literature.

IT 317 Roots of Italian Identities (Prerequisites: IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

This course aims to give an insight into the linguistic, cultural and sociological complexity of the ‘notion of Italy.’ The topics studied, based primarily on literary texts, include some of the major themes of Italian culture as well as examples of the various ‘identities’ that Italy offers today: the question of political and cultural unity and the long-lasting question of a common national language; the role played by Italian intellectuals in the construction of Italy as a nation; the Mafia and the institution of family-based structures; the Italian literary canon and the contemporary ideas of culture and literature. The course is in Italian.

IT 319 The Image of Rome in Italian Literature and Cinema (Prerequisite: Placement, IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

This course, which is held in Italian, explores the image of Rome in Italian twentieth century literature and cinema. Literary and cinematic representations not only mirror in different ways the actual geographical, social, and cultural landscape of a city, but they also participate in shaping its identity and its self-representation. The course aims at providing students with critical keys to understanding this multilayered relationship in its different expressions.

IT 320 Critical Study of Early Italian Literature (Prerequisite: Placement, IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

The course will introduce students to early Italian literature, focusing on a selection of the main authors, works, and literary trends from the 13th to the 18th century. The approach takes into account historical, philosophical and political contexts, positioning literary works in their cultural context in order to provide the student with the instruments for a critical understanding of the dominant literary themes. Emphasis will be placed on the formation of literary genres and the dominance of poetry, as well as the development of the Italian language. The course will focus on the role of the classical tradition and the church on the development of the literary tradition, and the interaction of literature with figurative art, music and philosophy. Attention will also be given to the representation and presence of women in Italian literature. Students will practice close reading of the texts, reference secondary sources both in Italian and English, and develop skills of textual and critical analysis.

IT 321 Critical Study of Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature (Prerequisite: Placement, IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

This course aims to provide a critical understanding of the main trends in Italian literature from the early 19th to late 20th centuries. Topics include: cultural implications of the modern Italian literary canon; coexistence of national and regional cultures in the Italian literary tradition; relationships between literature and national history, literature and society as well as literature and other arts. These issues will be discussed by combining close readings of the most paradigmatic works and authors with secondary sources both in Italian and in English.

IT 322 Sociolinguistics: A Changing Language In a Changing Society (Prerequisite: IT 302)

This course aims to analyze the interrelation between language and society in contemporary Italy. If we can say that Italian is the national language of Italy, it is not realistic to say that all Italians have always spoken just Italian or the same Italian. The history of the Italian language, in fact, shows how the process of it becoming the unitary language has been slow and how language still varies in time, social, situational and geographic space. The course will try to give an up to date account of linguistic diversity, social variation, special codes and language varieties in the Italian society and in the context of linguistic interaction between Italian and dialect, and between Italian and English within Italy. The course will be conducted entirely in Italian.

IT 335 Twentieth Century Italian Women Writers (Prerequisite: Placement or IT 302 or permission of the instructor)

This course will deal with the writings of Italian women writers (Aleramo, Deledda, Morante, Ginzburg, Banti, etc) of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their contribution has been crucial in the shaping of a recognizable, but still not fully acknowledged, "tradition" of women writers in Italy. Through the particular perspectives of distinguished Italian women writers, the course will explore versions of “feminine writing” and will introduce gender- and genre-related issues. Class discussion and assignments will examine themes such as the construction of female identity and the role played by women’s writings in the context of social and political emancipation for women in Italy. All work will be in Italian.

IT 349 The Divine Comedy (Prerequisite: One previous course in Italian literature or permission of the instructor)

This course introduces the students to the Divine Comedy through a close reading of selected cantos of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The most relevant themes and the complex structure of the poem will be studied and analysed in relationship to its political, philosophical, historical, and poetic implications.

IT 398 Internship: Italian Studies Field

The For Credit (FC) Internship course combines academic learning with a short-term (generally 3 to 6 months, full or part-time with a minimum of 120 hours) employment opportunity. Field experience allows participants to combine academic learning with hands-on work experience. For-Credit internships may be paid or unpaid. The organization or firm must be sponsored by the JCU Career Services Center (CSC). After being selected for an internship and having the CSC verify the course requirements are met, the intern may enroll in the Internship course corresponding to the academic discipline of interest. Course requirements include: attending the internship class which will is scheduled for 10 in-class hours over the semester, verification of the minimum number of hours worked in the internship by the CSC; completion of a daily internship log; in-depth interview with the internship sponsor or organization; and a 2500 to 3500 word “White Paper” presenting a position or solution to a problem encountered by their employer. This course is graded on a “pass/no pass” basis. The course will begin the 4th week of each semester. Students will determine with the Registrar’s Office or their Advisor which semester corresponds most closely with the timing of their internship.
May be taken only once for academic credit.

IT 399 Special Topics in Italian Literature (Prerequisite: One previous course in Italian literature or permission of the instructor)

An in-depth treatment of an area of concern within the field of Italian literature. Topics may vary.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

IT 401 Advanced Writing (Prerequisite: IT 302)

This course, which is conducted in Italian, aims at improving students’ ability to write texts of different types and levels of specialization, focusing on academic and professional purposes. The course has both theoretical and practical components aimed at familiarizing students with the cultural and formal elements that make texts effective, convincing and articulate.

IT 480 Senior Thesis (Prerequisite: Senior Standing)

Thesis supervision for Italian Studies majors in their final year.

IT/BUS 303 Italian for Business (Prerequisites: IT 302 and FIN 201 or permission of the instructor)

This course, which is open to students who have completed the equivalent of two years of college Italian, is designed for those interested in doing business with or in Italy. It focuses on the Italian language of business, aiming at developing students’ written and oral skills while providing them with the technical vocabulary and professional expressions that are most often used in a variety of business situations. Topics are confronted in several ways: through readings from textbooks used in business schools, the analysis of letters, office documents, and newspaper articles about business, and targeted exercises and discussions. Attention is also given to culture, manners, and customs as they relate to business practices.