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Romance Studies: Italian

Degree            Bachelor of Arts
Application mandatory
Course commences winter semester only
Standard course duration 6 semesters
Focus options 50% (with Teaching Degree option); 25%
Language requirements 50%: basic knowledge of Latin
Language of instruction German and Italian; examinations held in Italian


Faculty of Modern Languages

Note for prospective students interested in coming to Heidelberg University to take the Teaching Degree course qualifying its graduates to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany:

In accordance with the statutory provisions laid down by the State of Baden-Württemberg, students wishing to embark as of winter semester 2015/2016 on a Teaching Degree qualifying them to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany can only do so by enrolling in two-tier courses with a Bachelor/Master structure (polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor programme with a Teaching Degree option; Master of Education course scheduled to start in winter semester 2018/2019).

As of winter semester 2015/2016, the subject described on this page can be studied in a polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor course with a Teaching Degree option. It has to be combined with another 50% subject of relevance for secondary-school education.

For more information, go to

Note for students already enrolled in a Teaching Degree course in the framework of the Examination Regulations for Teachers at Higher Secondary Schools (GymPO I):

In the winter semester 2015/2016 and later, students enrolled by 31 July 2015 in a Teaching Degree course regulated by the provisions of GymPO I (2009) are entitled to switch to a different main subject under the conditions set out in said GymPO provided that the change is in accordance with the statutory provisions.

In this case, the following transitional regulations apply:

For more information, go to

Course outline

Literary studies

Italian literary studies in the Department of Romance Studies at Heidelberg University focus on:

  • the history of Italian literature from its beginnings to the present day; from Dante to Umberto Eco, Antonio Tabucchi, Alessandro Baricco to Niccolò Ammaniti and more.
  • the three major genres; the epic, lyric and drama in their specific Italian forms. Not only the various historic literary epochs and movements are considered, but also, for example, regional cultural diversity and the ways in which these genres differ 
  • various approaches and models from literary theory; from hermeneutics to deconstruction theory and post-postmodernism. Theories are considered in view of current intermedial and transcultural research
  • literary studies and media (opera, film and the internet)


The following topics, which are included amongst those addressed within Italian linguistics, are considered along with relevant linguistic theories and methods:

  • languages and dialects within the Italian-speaking world and their classification
  • the transition from Latin to a Romance language and the development of Italian
  • the history of the Italian language, development of a national norm
  • investigation and description of the structure of the Italian language (vocabulary, grammar, phonetics etc.)
  • language and society, language change, language contact
  • Discourse analysis

Cultural studies:

  • analysis of cultural phenomena in the Italian-speaking world; from artistic expression (e.g. film) to popular culture (e.g. fashion), both in the past and in the present day
  • analysis of public discourses and their presentation in the media
  • analysis of the relationships between culture and power (e.g cultural inheritance, mass media)
  • theories and methods of cultural analysis (e.g. performance, construction of space) and comparative cultural analysis (e.g. intercultural and transcultural approaches)
  • interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches

Language practice

Courses for Italian language practice are designed to enable students to:

  • speak and write correctly and fluently
  • understand complex contemporary texts (novels, newspapers etc.)
  • discuss, both orally and in written form, aspects of Italian society, literary works and linguistic phenomena
  • obtain thorough knowledge of grammatical structures, in particular, of Italian syntax
  • understand film and radio recordings and recognise the various registers used (i.e. formal, informal and official Italian)
  • translate literary or journalistic texts into Italian

Specialised Didactics

Didactics of modern foreign languages currently focusses on the approach taken to improving language skills. Skills are observed, and the features noted then inform steps taken for the targeted improvement of these skills. Following a given period aimed at improving language skills, these are reevaluated and conclusions are subsequently drawn as to how language skills can be efficiently further improved. This process is fully transparent and is carried out with the agreement of learners.

Central to this approach is the improvement of learners’ transversal skills. These build on other basic skills; intercultural skills and text and media analysis skills for example (critical analysis of texts, images etc. in their respective contexts).

Didactics widely refers to the determination of teaching aims, other issues, however, are also addressed. These include the

  • improvement of functional communication skills (speaking, writing, listening, reading, speech projection) and the relevant linguistic means;
  • the didactic adaptation of literary, cultural and linguistic content to topics taught in skill-orientated courses;
  • promoting the development of individual learners;
  • differentiating between heterogeneous groups of learners;
  • supporting learners throughout learning and construction processes

Course structure

Pleas see the Module handbook for the B.A. course.

Main research interests

The main research interests in linguistics are:

  • the emergence of linguistic territories in the Latin/Romance area as a whole; history of Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Galician on the Iberian Peninsula and overseas, notably in America; history of everyday Italian; synchronic and diachronic investigations on syntax, semantics and word formation in the Romance languages
  • varieties of present-day French and of Italian from the 18th century to the present; spoken and written language
  • dialectology and sociolinguistics of southern Italy, language geography, notably geolinguistic investigations on the Campagna region; substandard research in conjunction with the eponymous Graduate College
  • dictionary projects focusing on Old French, Old Spanish, Old Gascon, Old Occitan

Literary studies are anthropological, poetological and comparative in their approach. Main research interests (in connection with the literary history of all major Romance languages) are:

  • Spanish and French literary studies; early modern age to late 17th century and high modernity in the 19th and 20th centuries; general issues in the theory of literature (deconstruction and hermeneutics)
  • French and Italian literature from the 18th to the 20th century; literary anthropology with special reference to autobiographical writing in the early modern age; enlightenment in Italy (in conjunction with the Università di Torino); the novella in the 19th and 20th centuries; modern poetry; research on Stendhal (in conjunction with the University of Paris III)

Romance literature outside Europe; Spanish and French literature from Latin America and the Caribbean (with a special focus on cultural studies); literature of the Hispanics/Latinos in the USA

Formal requirements

Admission to the B.A. course

As of the winter semester 2015/2016 a selection procedure will be used for admission purposes. In this selection procedure (referred to as an admission test in the Admission Regulations) applicants are awarded points in line with the following criteria:

  1. Achievements in subjects relevant for the B.A. course as listed in the school-leaving certificate (Abitur or equivalent university entrance qualifications) – max. 45 points; for a list of relevant achievements and details on the underlying calculations, see § 7 of the Admission Regulations
  2. Professional education/training or professional activity in a field relevant for the B.A. course and/or other non-school qualifications relevant for the B.A. course – max. 15 points; for a list of relevant qualifications and details on the underlying calculations, see § 8 of the Admission Regulations)

The maximum number of points achievable here is 60. All applicants who have achieved at least 35 points will be admitted to the course.

There are special regulations for international applicants. For more information, apply to the International Relations Office of Heidelberg University (Seminarstraße 2).

Applicants participating in the selection for the first time and failing to achieve the requisite number of points can take part in the procedure one more time.

IMPORTANT: You must apply for admission to the selection procedure by 15 July latest. The admission procedure takes place once a year only (for the winter semester).

For more information, click here.

Online application for the course.

International applicants

There are special regulations for international applicants. Please consult Heidelberg University’s International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt, Seminarstraße 2) for more information.

Subject combinations

Possible subject combinations are listed in the Catalogue of Subjects. Combinations of two Romance Studies subjects are possible.

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations B.A. (26 March 2015)
Examination regulations B.A. (14 June 2010)
Examination regulations B.A. (8 January 2009)
Examination regulations B.A. (only valid up to winter semester 08/09)
Students enrolled before 1 March 2009 can apply for the last named regulations to be declared valid in their case.

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.
Module descriptions 33% option: see pp. 26-32 of the examination rules and regulations.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

M.A. course

Heidelberg University offers a consecutive M.A. course in 'L'Italia a contatto - lingue, letterature, arti'.

Academic advisor

Elisa Manca
Department of Romance Studies, Office 209
phone: +49 (0)6221 542750
web: Elisa Manca

Counselling hours: wednesday, 11-12am

For potential changes of dates, please observe:

Please see:


Department of Romance Studies
Seminarstraße 3
D-69117 Heidelberg

Office 103
phone: +49 (0)6221 542731
fax: +49 (0)6221 543153

Student representation

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2019-05-07
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