• About SNS

    The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public institute for higher education that in its two centuries of life has earned itself a special place, both in Italy and abroad, a place characterised by merit, talent and scientific rigour.  Two types of course are available: the undergraduate course and the PhD course.The teaching activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, placed in Pisa, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, located in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. 

  • Admission

    The evaluation for entrance to the first year of the undergraduate course does not include the high school leaving certificate, and the bachelor's degree is not taken into consideration in the entrance examination for the fourth year course. For each PhD course, candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and research project and an interview.

  • Academics

    The Scuola Normale Superiore offers two types of course: the undergraduate course, leading to first and second level university degrees, and the PhD course, the international equivalent of the Italian Dottorato di ricerca.The teaching and research activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.The first two academic structures, housed at the Pisa site, organize courses for both the  undergraduate course and the PhD course. The Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, deals only with the PhD course.

  • Research

    A highly qualifying feature of the Normale way is the strong link between teaching and research that is a characteristic of both the undergraduate and the graduate programmes of the Scuola. The research structures of the two Faculties welcome students with a relevant study interest, enabling them to collaborate in a mature way with the activities of the researchers.

  • International

    The Scuola Normale is an institute of a decidedly international nature. Examinations for admission to the undergraduate degree course and for the PhD course are open to all citizens worldwide. A certain number of places on the PhD course are reserved for students from other countries. During the pre laurea and  post lauream teaching courses, study and research programmes are made available at overseas universities and research centres with which the Scuola forms an intense network of collaboration.  The doctorate course in particular is taught in a veritable graduate school in line with the highest international standards. 

The war and the postwar period

The Scuola Normale continued operating despite the Second World War (1940-45), albeit with some limitations and practical difficulties.

In 1940 it participated in the Universal Exposition in Rome for advanced studies and high culture, but dissent towards the regime became more and more manifest among students and professors.

After Mussolini's removal by the Grand Council on the 25th of July 1943, the Scuola Normale remained under German control since it was in the territory of the Republic of Salò.

After the tragic bombardment of Pisa on August 31, the new Scuola Normale director Luigi Russo – threatened with arrest for political dissent – went into hiding in Florence. He was replaced by the mathematician Leonida Tonelli, who defended the library and furnishings of Palazzo dei Cavalieri, which had become a German barracks, by moving the most important collections into the nearby Carthusian monastery in Calci.

After Pisa's liberation on September 2 the Anglo-American army requisitioned the Scuola Normale, so its students and professors were forced to move into the Puteano dormitory. Luigi Russo, reconfirmed as the school's director, continued his efforts to safeguard school and library materials and the activities of the Scuola Normale resumed. On September 25, 1945, the Palazzo was liberated and the restoration of the building began. It was also decided to admit 70 war veterans and partisans as students. For this purpose a plan to augment the school's financial resources beyond state funding was established. The school's patrimony was increased by donations and advantageous purchases; this plan was pursued in the ensuing years as well.

In the post-war years, the Scuola Normale remained substantially the same as it had been under Gentile. In 1959 a “Women's Section” was created, located in the Timpano building, thus allowing women to live inside the school rather than in external housing.