Featured Advice
What are your interests?



Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate


Career Zone
NFQ Level
2 Years


Ian McKinley - Italian
Ian McKinley - Italian

Italian as a Leaving Cert subject aims to bring students closer to fluency in the Italian language, as well as developing a good knowledge of literature, culture, geography, and national history to provide a context for communication.

Why more Irish students should be studying Italian

  • Italian is a significant language. There is a tendency to see Italian as a language you learn for fun - ask people who speak a few languages why they learned Italian... they'll tell you how much fun it is, how beautiful the language is, you'll hear about the art and the fashion and the opera... then there are the Italians who will tell us it came before French and being the closest language to Latin makes it superior, that back in the Middle Ages anyone who was educated had to be able to speak Italian... these are potentially all legitimate reasons for learning Italian but there are other reasons why we need to be offering more Italian.
  • Italy is the 4th largest economy in Europe, it has the same economic output as France or the UK.  
  • The number of native speakers of Italian is not far behind the number of native speakers of French – it’s estimated that there are about 68 million native speakers of French but there are 62 million of Italian and there are large communities of Italian speakers across the world. For example, 1.5 million in Brazil, another 1.5 million in Argentina, 1 million in the US, another million between Canada and the UK.
  • There are plenty of well-qualified teachers in Ireland because we have well-developed third level provision, with appropriate avenues for teacher qualification.
  • We have excellent resources and materials for teaching Italian including the new textbook In bocca al lupo! for Senior Cycle, Giro d’Italia for Junior Cycle, and resources available on www.languagesinitiative.ie.
  • In the Leaving Certificate examinations last year, there was one candidate of Italian (500) for every 50 candidates of French (25,000) which is an imbalance, not only in the context of encouraging linguistic diversity, and championing plurilingualism, but also in terms of the economic importance of Italy to Ireland.  Historically, French has been important for many reasons but, at a conservative estimate, a more realistic balance should be in the order of 10 students of French for every student of Italian.  This would no doubt result in an increase in opportunities for trade and exchange with Italy.

 What kind of student might Italian suit?

  • Anyone with an interest in Italian culture, history, and language.
  • Students who are considering working in Italy or international relations in the future.
  • Students who can already speak Italian and want easy points.


Italian is not offered by many schools as a core Leaving Cert subject choice, but that does not preclude any one from taking it outside school and sitting it at examination.

Some schools require all their Leaving Certificate students to take a language. If students have the option to choose whether or not to take a language, they should consider it seriously as it may determine the choices available to them when it comes to applying for college.

For example, a third language is a requirement of a number of departments in the NUI colleges -- University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD), NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth. The phrase, third language, refers to a language other than English and Irish, which, it is presumed, most students already study.

Departments in NUI colleges that require students to have a language include or Arts, Humanities, Law, Social Science, Commerce, Medicine and Health Sciences and some other degrees. A third language is not required for engineering or agriculture in these colleges.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the University of Limerick require students to have one language -- either Irish or a modern language, while Dublin City University (DCU) and the Institutes of Technology require students to pass Maths and English or Irish.


This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 361 students who sat the Higher Level Italian exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 112 students who sat the Ordinary Level Italian exam in 2019.


Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

The Leaving Certificate Italian syllabus aims:

  • To introduce the students to Italian as a living and vibrant method of communication thus helping them to appreciate a culture other than their own.
  • To enable the students to acquire the necessary communicative skills that will allow them to take full part in classroom activities in Italian, participate in everyday transactions and interactions, extract information from and to interpret the various mass media communications, make further study and or possible career paths through the medium of the Italian language a realistic option.
  • To achieve the above aims, the students must be facilitated to develop a critical awareness of how meaning is organised and conveyed by the structures and vocabulary of the Italian language and to develop an understanding of language in general.

The aim is to continue and develop the aspects and aims of the Junior Cycle Programme and to develop skills in the following four areas leading to proficiency in all areas of the Italian language.

Modern languages require students to be proficient in the following skills:

  • Oral/Speaking
  • Written
  • Aural/Listening
  • Reading

Course Content

The Leaving Certificate syllabus for Italian contains the following three broad components:

  • Basic Communicative Proficiency
  • Language Awareness
  • Cultural Awareness

This syllabus structure aims to lead every pupil towards four basic outcomes as a result of the experience of modern language learning in the classroom:

(a) A communicative ability in Italian

(b) An awareness about language and communication

(c) An awareness of the culture associated with the Italian language

(d) Some idea of how to go about learning a foreign language


  • Classroom
  • Everyday
  • Media
  • Leisure
  • Study
  • Career
  • Language Issues
  • Language Learning
  • Grammar
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Issues transcending cultural divisions

Exam Structure

The examination will assess a candidate’s ability to:

  1. understand the spoken language
  2. understand the written language
  3. communicate in the spoken language
  4. communicate in the written language
Mark Allocation for Leaving Certificate Italian:

Section    Higher Level Ordinary Level
Speaking 25%   20%
Listening Comprehension 20% 25% 
Reading Comprehension 30% 40% 
Writing 25%  15%

Career Possibilities

Italian is useful for careers in Fashion, Tourism, Hospitality, Food and Wine, Sales and Marketing, Teaching, Business and careers in the EU.

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Humanities

These subjects explore the ways in which humans live and communicate in the world. Human life is examined by looking at our past, our present and into our future. These subjects help people to express themselves clearly and develop their reasoning ability.

Required for 3rd Level?

Please note this subject can also be used for language matriculation purposes for universities.

This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.


What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Niamh Cacciato, Solicitor
I chose two languages in school- French and German. I had the choice of German or Art and Music. Most people chose Art and Music and there was only one class out of six classes of first year doing two languages. I believe that doing two languages improved my proficiency in language in general and my ability to learn new vocabulary and grasp new concepts.

I realised I was good at working out how to express myself in French and German and I always wanted to learn new words and phrases and this led me to then choose languages as two of my three subjects for an Arts Degree at third level. I knew that I would like to do French at university and then when I learnt that Italian was on offer I thought why not try something new! I also knew that Italian was similar to French as they are both Latin-based languages and I could guess some of the Italian vocabulary from my knowledge of French.

... View Full Interview

Career Articles

Permanent Language Jobs in the EU
Permanent Language Jobs in the EU
Posted by CareersPortal
There's always an alternative route to college
There's always an alternative route to college
Posted by CareersPortal
6 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language
6 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language
Posted by CareersPortal
How STEM is influencing the world of Journalism
How STEM is influencing the world of Journalism
Posted by Dublin City University
Consider a career in Copywriting
Consider a career in Copywriting
Posted by CareersPortal
Applying STEM to Journalism
Applying STEM to Journalism
Posted by Dublin City University