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One-year Master’s Program at La Pietra

NYU’s Department of Italian Studies offers the possibility to obtain an M.A. in Italian Studies in one year at its beautiful site in Florence, the historic Villa La Pietra. Students may take all 32 credits for the M.A. while studying at La Pietra. The 12-month program includes seminars and coursework at NYU Florence and the Università degli Studi di Firenze, as well as independent studies directed by faculty in New York or Florence.

With seventeen full-time faculty and a number of adjunct faculty, the Department of Italian Studies at New York University is one of the strongest in the country. It offers a wide range of courses in areas from Italian philology to the history of fascism, from the Sicilian school of poets in the 13th century to contemporary literature, art, politics and media. With its undergraduate major and minor in Italian as well as an M.A. and Ph.D, the department boasts a curriculum that attracts students from all over the world. Each academic year, a visiting faculty member from the Department of Italian Studies directs the program at La Pietra, advising students on their masters’ theses and collaborating on the organization of the Graduate Studies Seminar, which draws scholars, curators, and artists from around the country to present talks and meet with students. The M.A. program is also served by a local Coordinator for Graduate Programs who facilitates access to local resources, including important libraries, museums, and archives, and provides additional academic advisement.

M.A. students have a number of resources at Villa La Pietra at their disposal, including a spacious office on the third floor of the villa open seven days a week. Students have access to the Villa’s gardens and grounds as well as the academic center at Villa Ulivi and standing invitations to all campus events. La Pietra also hosts a number of conferences and events throughout the year to which graduate students are welcome. Recent conferences include “Remembering Primo Levi,” “The Future of Humanities,” “Art Historians at NYU: A Transatlantic Conversation,” “Dante at La Pietra”. Recent M.A. graduates are now in Ph.D programs at the University of Cambridge, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan, and NYU. Other students are working in areas of the arts, tourism, publishing, and education.

Please read here below if you would like to learn more about the program. You may also refer to the Student Handbook (please see the link below) and/or contact the faculty and staff listed at the bottom of the page with specific questions.

Student Handbook


Facilities 
Originally a 14th-century villa, purchased by the Sassetti family and expanded into their grand “Palagio” in the 15th-century, Villa La Pietra has expanded over the centuries into a 57-acre estate that includes five separate buildings, many of them developed by the family of Sir Harold Acton, which owned the villa until Sir Harold’s death in 1994, when the estate was bequeathed to NYU. The university has created a campus on the site that hosts approximately 360 undergraduate students per semester during the academic year.

Villa La Pietra: the crown jewel of the estate, housing the Actons’ private collection of art, books and furnishings. The gardens behind the Villa are accessible during regular office hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Graduate seminars are generally held in Villa La Pietra, as are the bimonthly lecture series that students are required to attend as part of the Works in Progress Seminar. The administrative offices of NYU Florence, including Immigration, are located on the second floor of Villa La Pietra. The Garret office, reserved for graduate students, the office of the visiting faculty from Italian Studies, and the office of the Coordinator for Graduate Programs and Advanced Research, are located on the third floor of Villa La Pietra. Villa Ulivi: the center for undergraduate classes; there is a coffee bar on the ground level, along with a large computer space and the campus library. Academic Support has its offices here. Villa Natalia: one of the student dorms, Natalia also houses a regular mensa (breakfast, lunch and dinner, pay per meal) as well as the Offices of Student Life. Student Life provides a wide range of activities and services, including medical assistance. Villa Colletta: another student dorm. Villa Sassetti: the conference center for La Pietra; Global Research Initiative fellows have office space on the second floor. Classes may be held here as well. See our website for photos of the Villa’s spectacular layout and more information about the NYU Florence undergraduate program: http://www.nyu.edu/global/lapietra/.

Academic Resources
Florence boasts a number of the world’s greatest libraries. They include the Biblioteca Nazionale, the Biblioteca Marucelliana, the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, the Gabinetto Vieusseux, the Bibilioteca dell’Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, the Biblioteca Berenson at Villa I Tatti, and the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. There are also a number of good “study” places throughout the city especially welcoming of students.  They include the libraries at the Università di Firenze and the recently renovated Biblioteca delle Oblate (with Wi-Fi). Cultural resources include the obvious list of museums, churches, palaces, etc.  Each MA and Ph.D. student receives an “Amici” card for the academic year, courtesy of the program. The cards allow you free entrance, without having to wait on line, to the thirteen State-owned museums in Florence (including the Uffizi Galleries, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the seven museums located at the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens, the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the Medici Chapels at San Lorenzo, the Museo di San Marco, the Museo dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure, and the Archeological Museum), and a number of Medici villas.

Admissions Information
Master’s applications are accepted for fall and spring. The deadline for Fall 2014 is April 15, 2014, although students wishing to apply for a post as Peer Advisor on the undergraduate program (see below under ‘Housing’) should apply by the beginning of April; the deadline for Spring 2014 is November 1, 2013. All applicants must use the online application available at http://gsas.nyu.edu/page/grad.admissionsapplication.html

Requirements
Original transcripts; statement of purpose; three letters of recommendation; GRE general test and TOEFL for applicants who are not native English speaking; an academic writing sample (approx. 15 double-spaced pages) in Italian or English, demonstrating skills in literary, cultural or historical analysis.

Curriculum
The MA program requires 32 credits, in addition to a 40-45 page master’s thesis. Students generally take 16 credits in the Fall semester and 16 in the Spring, completing their thesis in time for September graduation.

In the Fall semester, course offerings will be as follows (all courses are 4 credits):

  • course taught by visiting faculty member (in Fall 2012: Studies in Italian Culture: Florentine Culture, 1250-1600, taught by Virginia Cox, and in Fall 2013: Laughter and Desire: Early Modern Italian Drama, taught by Eric Nicholson).
  • Introduction to Research in Italian Studies: a team-taught video-conferenced course, taught by the New York based faculty and coordinated by the visiting faculty member, intended to give an overview of the discipline of Italian Studies and to help students choose and refine a thesis topic.
  • Introduction to Research in Florence: a course taught by NYU Florence faculty member Ilaria Sborgi, intended to introduce students to research techniques and methods. The course will include visits to Florentine research libraries and archives (see above under ‘Academic Resources’).
  • an elective course at the Villa, to be taught by a member of NYU Florence faculty (in Fall 2013, Studies in 20th Century Italian Literature: A Traveling Culture: Modern Italian Writers and Their Journeys Inside and Outside the Peninsula, taught by Alessandro Raveggi).
  • selected courses at Florence University (to be announced). A tutor is provided to help liaise with the University and to prepare for examinations.

In the Spring semester, course offerings will be as follows (all courses are 4 credits, unless other stated):

  • course taught by visiting faculty member (in Spring 2014: Studies in 20th Century Literature: Murder in the Bel Paese, taught by Rebecca Falkoff, and in Spring 2013: Studies in Italian Culture: Pasolini and the Politics of Art History, taught by Ara H. Merjian).
  • Works in Progress seminar (2 credits): this seminar, directed by the visiting faculty member, is intended to help students structure their work on their thesis, and prepare for the Graduate Studies symposium.
  • Guided Individual Reading (2 credits): students will work independently under the guidance of a faculty advisor to research and write their thesis.
  • one or two elective courses at the Villa, to be taught by a visiting faculty member or members of NYU Florence faculty (in Spring 2014: Studies in Early Modern Literature: The Medieval Comic Tale and European Realist Literature, taught by Patrizia Grimaldi-Pizzorno, and in Spring 2013: Laughter and Desire: Early Modern Drama, taught by Eric Nicholson).
  • selected courses at Florence University (to be announced). A tutor is provided to help liaise with the University and to prepare for examinations.

Notes

  1. All students will be expected to take at least one course at Florence University or another approved external institution during the course of the year.
  2. In addition to the courses listed above, students will be expected to attend meetings of the Graduate Studies Seminar, a series of bi-weekly evening talks with invited speakers (see the current semester’s program at http://www.nyu.edu/global/lapietra/academic.program/)

Tution and Fees
Tuition and fees are payable to New York University. Tuition does not include lodging, meals, and day-to-day living expenses. NYU Florence MA students receive a 30% tuition discount. For up-to-date tuition and fee rates, please refer to www.nyu.edu/bursar/tuition.fees. NYU undergraduate students enrolled in the BA/MA program have a special discount of an additional 20%. Students who choose to study in New York for their entire MA experience are not eligible for the 30% tuition discount. Health insurance is mandatory for all graduate students. For up-to-date information on insurance rates and details on insurance, see www.nyu.edu/shc/about/insurance.html.  

Visa
Non EU students need to apply for a student visa if they stay in Italy for more than 90 days. It can take up to 2 months to procure a one-year visa from your regional Italian consulate. For the NY Consulate, students need to call ahead to schedule an appointment, and then plan to leave their passport while the consulate processes their request; they then must return to the Consulate to receive their passport and visa. Check the website at http://www.consnewyork.esteri.it if you live in the NYC area. The Department will send the necessary paperwork (a letter confirming admission to the program and a letter from Villa La Pietra). You will then need to supplement these materials with other documents required by your regional Italian consulate. We will need to confirm with you your departure dates as early as possible; generally we apply for visas with an August 15 start date, ending August 15 on the following year.

Employment Opportunities
NYU Florence graduate students may apply to be Peer Advisors. The Peer Advising Program provides a select group of undergraduate and graduate students with free room and board in exchange for a number of hours a week spent supervising a small cadre of undergraduate students and assisting with student services. There is considerable competition for these positions and not all graduate students who apply will necessarily be offered one. Interested students should contact the Office of Student Life directly at florence.studentlife@nyu.edu immediately upon acceptance into the program, expressing interest in being considered for a PA position, including a resume and specifying any relevant experience, language skills, and familiarity with Florence or Italy in general. For students who will not be working as PAs, several other employment opportunities exist on the NYU Florence campus.

Housing
For students serving as Peer Advisors, NYU finds housing either on or off campus. The Peer Advising Program provides graduate students with free room and board in exchange for a number of hours a week spent supervising a small cadre of undergraduate students and assisting with student services. There is considerable competition for these positions and not all graduate students who apply will necessarily be offered one. Interested students should contact directly the Office of Student Life, email florence.studentlife@nyu.edu, immediately upon acceptance into the program, expressing interest in being considered for a PA position, including a copy of your resume and specifying any relevant experience, language skills, familiarity with Florence or Italy in general.

There are several options for students who will not be working as PA’s. The following agencies are reputable and can assist in locating short- or long-term rentals in the city:

Florence and Abroad
Via San Zanobi 58, Firenze
email: fa@florenceandabroad.com
Phone: +39 055 487004
Website: http://www.florenceandabroad.com/

Milligan & Milligan
Via Alfani 60, Firenze
Phone: +39 055 268256
E-mail: info@milligansales.com
Website: http://www.milligansales.com/0016/gb/default.asp

Accademia Realty
Via di Santo Spirito 11, Firenze
Phone: +39 055 2670331
E-mail:  dott.venturini@accademiarealty.com
Website: http://www.accademiarealty.com/

Milligan and Milligan also organizes homestays for those who are interested in living with a Florentine family. Graduate students currently living in the city may also be able to provide advice about available housing in Florence; you may wish to contact them if you are interested in renting their apartment or in finding out where else you might look. Please contact Genevieve Brightwell for addresses of current students in the program who have offered to be of assistance via email. While rental costs vary widely, students have generally found housing opportunities that are substantially cheaper than those with which they are familiar in New York or other urban areas in the United States. 

Orientation
Bruce Edelstein organizes the orientation for graduate students during the first two weeks of September. Students are welcome to attend all or part of the three-day orientation held for undergraduates at various locations on campus and in the center in Florence during the last week in August, which focuses more broadly on daily life in Florence. Fall classes at NYU Florence begin the first week of September and end in early December; schedules differ for Florentine institutions, although all schools observe a holiday from roughly December 15 through January 7. Spring classes at the Villa begin in mid-January and end in late April; Florence University courses will continue through early June, with exams mid-month. 

Address and contact information in Florence

NYU Florence
Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese 120
50139 Firenze

Bruce Edelstein, Coordinator for Graduate Studies and Advanced Research
e-mail: edelstein@nyu.edu, phone: +39-055-5007246
Sabrina Melillo, Immigration and Facilities Coordinator
e-mail: sabrina.melillo@nyu.edu, phone: +39-055-5007451
Ellyn Toscano, Executive Director, NYU in Florence
e-mail: ellyn.toscano@nyu.edu
Office of Student Life: florence.studentlife@nyu.edu, phone: +39-055-5007450
Office of Academic Support: florence.academicsupport@nyu.edu, phone: +39-055-5007291 or +39-055-5007319

Address and contact information in NYC

New York University
Department of Italian Studies
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
24 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011
phone: 212-9988730
Fax: 212-995-4012

Genevieve Brightwell, MA Program Coordinator
e-mail: genevieve.brightwell@nyu.edu, phone: 212-998-3859
David Forgacs, Guido and Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò Chair in Contemporary Italian Studies, Director of Graduate Studies
e-mail: david.forgacs@nyu.edu