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Research Guides

Collection Guidelines: French & Italian Studies: Departmental Focus

Collecting guidelines for French & Italian Studies materials at UW Libraries (Seattle).

About French & Italian Studies

French has been taught at the University of Washington since soon after its founding, at least since the late 1870s.  Italian has been taught since 1904. 


The Department of French and Italian Studies (FIS) has among the largest number of French majors of any university on the West coast and offers a vibrant Italian minor. Recently revised curricula in both wings of FIS have invigorated undergraduate study, articulating coursework in the department with exciting new areas of study at the UW in Environmental Humanities, Digital Humanities, Socio-linguistics, Translation, and Film and Media.

Nearly 2400 students enroll in FIS courses every year, from elementary through advanced language courses, to upper division courses on Dante and the Middle Ages, science fiction, Italian film, immigrant cultural production, and translation, to graduate seminars in qualitative research and digital editing. In these courses, students learn language and research skills that are essential to succeeding in the 21st-century global workplace.

In addition, FIS offers exciting study abroad programs and exploration seminars for undergraduates in Paris, Nantes, Québec, and Rome (UW Rome Center). Travel support for conferences and research is available to graduate and undergraduate students in FIS.


FIS faculty engage in cutting-edge research in a range of fields and time-periods.This work covers France, Italy, the Caribbean, Francophone Africa, and Québec and employs a range of approaches from ethnographic fieldwork to literary and cultural analysis to archival research. Current projects explore the early manuscript traditions of Dante’s works; images of women in Renaissance portrait books; the politics of water usage and consumption in the French Antilles; multilingualism among Senegalese immigrants in Paris, Rome and New York; the history of literacy and typography in the 17th and 18th centuries; French cultural attitudes towards animals; and modern Italian cinema. See also: departmental research projects by field of interest.

From: About French & Italian Studies

Programs & Degrees

The department offers two distinct programs of study for undergraduates: French Studies and Italian Studies.  Comprehensive language sequences develop linguistic competence in oral and written expression, as well as introduce students to Francophone and Italian cultures around the world. The division offers study abroad programs in Paris, Nantes, Martinique, Rome, Umbria and Veneto.  Students can participate in Honors.

The graduate program in French Studies offers a Master of Arts and a Ph.D.  The program is designed to enhance interdisciplinary methods of teaching and research and to channel graduate studies into innovative areas of concentration.  The Ph.D. program balances the traditional areas of “Century” or “Literary Movement” with non-traditional areas such as “Critical Problem” and “Outside Areas.”