Italian & French Studies


Contact Us

Kerry Lappin-Fortin
Associate Professor
519-884-8111 x 28278
Image of The Leaning Tower of Pisa and The Eiffel Tower
Welcome to the Department of Italian & French Studies



However small our department may be, we are big on this: award-winning teaching and one-on-one mentoring. We are dedicated to helping our students learn a second (or third!) language, and to introducing them to the richness of Italian and Francophone cultures.


Our Italian courses, which include beginner and intermediate level language courses, and an appealing array of literature and culture courses taught in English, may be taken either as electives or towards earning an Italian Studies Minor.


Our French students may pursue any of the major or minor programs offered by the University of Waterloo, and may be eligible for opportunities to study in Quebec (Chicoutimi)) or France.


All those interested in French and Québécois cinema are invited to come out to our movie nights, Soirées ciné!

Course Spotlight
Looking for something different in Italian?

ITALSTS391: The Italian Novel and Cinema.

A survey of some of the principal novels of the twentieth century in Italy in association with their cinematic versions by eminent Italian film directors. Prereq: Level at least 2A


ITALST 265: Mafia Culture and the Power of Symbols, Rituals, and Myth

The course will analyze the cinematic representation of the Mafia in North America and focus on the manner in which North American cinema productions often glorify the Italian Mafiosi’s lifestyle. Special attention will be given to movies of the 1930s, to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, as well as to the television series The Sopranos. The goal is to deconstruct the romanticized portrayal of the Italian and Italian-American gangster lifestyle created on the silver screen and on television by analyzing the atrocities committed by organized crime.


Antonio Nicaso is a bestselling author, and an internationally recognized expert on organized crime. He is a regular consultant to governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world and a lecturer at various Italian and North American universities.

2019 Academic Achievement Awards

Congratulations to 2019 graduates Jenevieve Ayuste (French Studies) and Sonia Zettle (Italian Studies) for achieving the highest academic achievement in the Department of Italian and French Studies. The awards were given out at the St. Jerome's University Graduation Ceremony held on Sunday, June 9th.  

Gabriel Niccoli Italian Culture Award

The Department of Italian & French Studies is pleased to announce the creation of a new award in honour of recently retired Professor Gabriel Niccoli, long-time department Chair and recipient of the University of  Waterloo's Distinguished Teacher Award. The Gabriel Niccoli Italian Culture Award is a cash award which recognizes academic excellence in the study of Italian culture.

Congratulations to Brianna D’Alessandro who is the first recipient of this award, having achieved the highest combined average in the culture courses ITALST 291 and 292.