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Italian and Visual Cultures (BA)

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Course details

This course offers the opportunity to combine Italian and the study of Visual Cultures and to spend the third year abroad in Italy. Italian comprises 50% of the course, with the remaining 50% of the course devoted to exploring Visual Cultures. The programme is unique in combining a language with areas traditionally covered by History of Art (including comparative art history) and the study of International Film. 

Studying at one of the UK's oldest Italian departments, you will develop your language skills to their full potential and explore a wide variety of Italian literature. The curriculum allows you to immerse yourself in traditional areas of Italian studies – including Dante and Renaissance art and literature – as well as choose from an exciting range of subjects such as cinema and art, contemporary prose, modern media, history and politics.

By the end of your studies you will be equipped with an impressive portfolio of critical, communication and leadership skills that will greatly enhance your employability and open up a wide range of career opportunities. 

Key facts

Key facts about the course
UCAS code RW36
Qualification Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Duration Four years full-time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time undergraduate degrees must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Further information on making your application through UCAS is available on the Applying section of our website.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. The College runs three annual Open days which give you the chance to meet our students and teaching staff, and get a taste of what university life is really like.

Prospective students who receive an offer of a place are invited to attend a UCAS day, where they are shown around the department, given the opportunity to speak with academic members of staff and meet current students.

Entry requirements

Year of entry (select):

Year 1
Year 2

Typical offers - 2016

Typical offers
A-levels ABB including B in one essay based subject, or equivalent. If Italian is taken at A2 level, a grade B is required
GCSE  At least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.
English language
 IELTS and TOEFL scores for non native English speaking applicants
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including grade 5 in one essay based subject or equivalent. If Italian is taken at Higher Level a grade 5 is required. 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject. If Italian is taken at A2 level, a grade B is required.   
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus grade B in one essay based subject at A2 level.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction plus A2 grades B,B including an essay based subject. If Italian is taken at A2 level, a grade B is required. 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Adv Level Core.
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including B in an essay-based subject. If Italian is taken at Advanced Higher level, a grade B is required plus Higher requirements.
Scottish Highers  AABBB plus Advanced Higher requirements.
Irish Leaving Certificate  AABBB at Higher Level including B in an essay-based subject. If Italian is taken at Higher level, a grade B is required.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area.

Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

Typical offers - 2017

Typical offers
English language
Other UK Qualifications Year 2
International Baccalaureate  
BTEC Extended Diploma  
BTEC National Diploma  
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma  
Welsh Baccalaureate  
Scottish Advanced Highers  
Scottish Highers  
Irish Leaving Certificate  
Access to Higher Education Diploma  

Other UK Qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU Entry Requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

The specific offer that will be made will be based on the strength of the personal statement.

While Italian normally requires a minimum B grade at A2 level, we also accept students with little or no previous knowledge of Italian, who will start with an intensive beginner’s language unit in the first year. In such cases we look for at least one essay based subject at A2 level or equivalent.

Applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we accept a broad range of qualifications. Special consideration will be given to mature applicants, and we are happy to consider applicants with other qualifications, including QAA-approved Access to HE courses.

Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant is 21 or over at the time of application and has had a considerable break from education.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for further information on the entry requirements from their country and English language requirements.  Royal Holloway offers an International Foundation Programme and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

We make decisions based on achieved or predicted grades, personal statements and references. More information on how your application will be assessed, and tips for your personal statement can be found on our Applying pages.


Why choose this course?

  • You will study at a top-ranking languages department with an outstanding research record.
  • You will be based in our award-winning International Building at the heart of the Egham campus. 
  • You will use our excellent language learning materials that include complex simulations designed to reflect real-life situations through extended role-play. 
  • You can choose from a wide range of exciting courses covering literature, film and cultural studies, visual arts, history and society.
  • You will benefit from an immersive third year of study spent in an Italian-speaking environment. You can choose between studying at an Italian university, being a teaching assistant or going on a work placement.
  • You will enjoy easy access to London’s vast wealth of film and visual arts resources, from small collections to national museums, libraries and film institutes.

What you'll learn

Each year you will take a combination of core and optional Italian and Visual Cultures modules. 

In Italian the course is structured around core course units in spoken and written language and you will also study translation. You will use film resources and computer programmes designed by the School of Modern Language, Literatures and Cultures. 

The course covers an array of topics relating to the Italian-speaking world, including language and translation, literature, film, history, visual arts, and popular culture. All or part of your third year will be spent in an Italian-speaking environment studying at a partner university, working as a language assistant, or in other approved employment. 

For the Visual Cultures part of your degree, you will take three core courses plus one optional module in year 1, two core units plus two optional modules in year 2 and one core unit plus three optional modules in your final year. Optional modules cover a wide range of specialist subjects that explore visual cultures in France, Germany, the Hispanic world and Italy. 

Throughout the course, you will: 

learn to converse and write confidently in Italian 
acquire a broad and comparative knowledge of the theories and practices of visual media across a range of cultures and contexts (geographic, historical, political)
acquire the kind of critical, communication and leadership skills that are highly valued by prospective employers 
enhance your own original critical and analytical thinking and expression 
hone oral and written communication skills, and the ability to pose and solve problems in sophisticated and flexible ways 
learn research skills and the ability to analyse and process effectively many different kinds of information. 

All undergraduate degree courses at Royal Holloway are based on the course unit system. This system provides an effective and flexible approach to study, while ensuring that our degrees have a coherent and developmental structure. In the case of combined degree courses, this approach also makes it possible to change the balance of your subjects during your time at Royal Holloway. 

The School's website gives detailed lists of the course units taken for each different degree. 

View the full course specification for Italian and Visual Cultures (BA) in the Programme Specification Repository

How you'll learn & be assessed

The course has a modular structure. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice. 

Our teaching combines a majority of seminars and small group work as well as role play and conversational activities, with some lectures. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources such as Powerpoint slideshows, copies of selected primary and secondary texts, audiovisual materials, class and seminar preparation aids, links to relevant external sites, quizzes and grammar and essay writing guidance, and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally and who holds regular surgery hours at least twice weekly.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you take. Coursework includes essays, language exercises, translations and reports. Oral presentations and computer-based tests are used in some course units to assess grammar and comprehension skills. You can, to some extent, choose course units which suit your own assessment preferences. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, year abroad and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement. 

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Employability & career opportunities

Combining the study of Visual Cultures and Italian at Royal Holloway will equip you with a broad range of transferable skills which are highly prized in today’s global marketplace. In addition to developing the ability to communicate fluently in a foreign language and gaining practical skills in translation and interpretation, you will increase your cultural awareness, initiative and independence by spending time abroad. You will also learn valuable skills such as critical, independent thinking and time-management. All of these skills will equip you for a broad range of careers in both the private and public sectors, in the UK and abroad, and also for professional training in areas such museum curation and education, the auction trade, law, accountancy, international management, arts administration, broadcasting, diplomacy, the civil service, and teaching. The course will also give you excellent grounding if you wish to progress to MRes and PhD programmes in Visual Arts or International Film.

For information on what our graduates are doing now, please see the School’s website.

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