The Italian program offers the master of arts and Ph.D. degrees. In most academic years, a wide array of courses and seminars is offered each semester to provide an even distribution across various literary periods. Courses typically meet two or three times a week and are broad in focus, generally exploring well-defined periods or genres. Seminars are held once a week for two hours and take up narrower topics in greater depth. Typical course offerings over a two- to three-year period cover all centuries of Italian literature and a wide variety of topics, including Italian culture, cinema, civilization, and linguistics. Strong emphasis is placed on the practice of the language; Italian is the usual language of instruction in graduate courses and seminars.

Graduate students gain a solid foundation not only in scholarship and criticism, but also in teaching. Most students have guarantees of support. The standard offer to an incoming teaching assistant provides a guarantee of three or four years of support, depending on whether the student has already done graduate work elsewhere. Study abroad programs and exchange agreements with individual universities provide opportunities for study and research in Italy. For example, the department frequently sends a graduate student to serve for a semester or a year as house fellow for the study program at the Villa Corsi-Salviati near Florence. In addition the department has exchange and cooperation arrangements with the Université di Siena and the Université di Firenze.

The department offers regular workshops designed to give students an overview of the job market and how to best prepare for it, making its placement record outstanding. As one of the largest Italian programs in North America, the department offers an unparalleled opportunity to study Italian literature, linguistics, and culture.

Please Note: If you have received only a bachelor's degree and intend to go on to a Ph.D. after completing your M.A., please apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

We hope you will consider applying to our program. We offer an M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian.

Applicants for the M.A. or Ph.D. in Italian must submit all application materials by the application deadline of December 20. International students may have different deadlines due to the extra processing time required for visas and I–20 or IAP–66 forms. Please refer to International Student Services for more information.

Graduate School Application
Please refer to the following links: 

  • Consult the Graduate School website for complete information about graduate education opportunities at UW–Madison. This site is especially helpful in understanding Admissions Requirements and developing a Timeline for application.
  • You will need to list three people who will write letters of recommendation for you. They should be in faculty or permanent academic staff positions. Since the Graduate School will contact your recommenders directly via e-mail once you have completed your online application, you should be sure to contact each recommender at least a month prior to when the letter of recommendation is needed to let them know that they will be contacted directly by the Graduate School
  • Submit the online Graduate School Application for Admission and pay the application fee.
  • GRE (optional) institution code 1846 for UW–Madison
  • Non-native English speakers must also submit results for the TOEFL or MELAB exams. Please note that the Graduate School requires that these scores be no older than 2 years old. This is calculated from the start of the term for which you are applying, NOT the date on which we receive your application.

Materials to be sent to the department

  • TA/Fellowship Application: To be considered for teaching assistantship or fellowship support, you must submit to the department a document listing all relevant experience since you began studying Italian. There is no specific application form—it is a document, much like a CV, that you put together yourself. Include travel, study, or residence abroad. For teaching experience, be specific about subject, level, actual classroom hours/week, and age of students. Also indicate undergraduate and graduate honors, and how you would support yourself if UW was not able to offer support.
  • writing sample (essay or paper in Italian—usually between 7 and 12 pages in length)
  • If your referees are sending hard copies of your letters of recommendation to the department and are not electing to submit the letters electronically, you must print, fill out, and send a recommendation form to your recommender, who needs to include it with their letter.

Application materials should be sent to:

Graduate Coordinator, Shawn Ramer 


Graduate Program Coordinator 
Department of French and Italian 
608 Van Hise Hall 
1220 Linden Drive 
University of Wisconsin–Madison 
Madison, WI 53706 

Questions? Please contact Graduate Coordinator Shawn Ramer.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

The Department of French and Italian typically offers four years of guaranteed support for its incoming M.A. students who remain in good standing in the program. The most common form of support in our department is teaching assistantships. The basic teaching assistantship in our department is at the level of 36% time and comes with a stipend, tuition remission and health benefits. For more information about our teaching assistantships, please visit our website. We also offer fellowships, scholarships and project assistantships, as available.  

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Over half of degree coursework (18 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.25 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations Formal examination required. No thesis requirement.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

Must take a total of 24 credits of Italian courses numbered 500 and above. Students choose courses in consultation with their advisor.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).


All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their advisor.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.


In most cases, the department offers four-year guarantees of support (for students with no prior graduate work) and three-year guarantees of support (for students with prior graduate work) to incoming students. During this period of guaranteed support, students usually hold a fellowship or teaching assistantship. Decisions on support are made in February and offers are usually sent out in early March.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Demonstrate critical understanding of the major works of Italian literature and culture from the Middle Ages up to the present.

2. Lead a well-informed discussion of literature and culture utilizing an adequate proficiency of Italian.

3. Master methods of literary and cultural analysis in their specific areas of interest.

4. Examine literary texts of various genres and write competent critical and analytical essays

5. Lead a well-informed discussion of literature and culture utilizing an adequate proficiency of Italian.

6. Identify, select, and retrieve primary and secondary sources pertaining to questions in Italian literature and culture.

7. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.

8. Create level- and course-appropriate instructional objectives, activities, and assessments for teaching language, literature, and culture.

9. Use instructional technologies appropriately to enhance the teaching of language, literature, and culture.

10. Incorporate insights from second language acquisition theory and current best practices in foreign language teaching into instruction.


Professors Buccini, Livorni and Rumble

Associate Professors Menechella, Phillips-Court and Todorovic

Faculty Associate Eadie