• 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. 

Mission and governance

The institutional aim of the Scuola is to promote the development of culture, teaching and research in the sciences and the humanities. This particular purpose is achieved by exploring the interconnections between these two areas. This important aim is also obtained through a very high level of university and post-university education, as well as continuing and recurring training, giving priority to the relationship between education and research.
The final purpose of the Scuola is to transmit the acquired abilities to the public administration and to the world of professions.

Institutional life

The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public university. The Scuola offers both undergraduate and Ph.D courses. 

The undergraduate course, admission to which is by call, is equivalent to the university degree course and leads to a degree certificate.  Teaching is divided between the Scuola Normale, where students attend courses and seminars focussing on the rapid development of an approach to scientific research, with yearly assessments on specific research themes, and the University of Pisa. Students are required to meet the highest of standards of academic performance.
Their undergraduate career is completely free of cost: the Scuola Normale fully reimburses all university taxes and provides board and lodging to all normalisti  as well as an annual study grant.

The Ph.D course is a post lauream course organised autonomously by the Normale, leading to the title of Philosophiae Doctor. Admission is by call, publications and interview; in addition to dedicated  specialist teaching, it involves the development of an original research project aided in part by a network of  collaboration with the most important figures of international research.
Financial compensation for Ph.D course students, including fellowship grant, mobility allowance and expense reimbursements, is one of the highest currently offered by the Italian universities.

The traditional areas of study are the Humanities (History of Art and Archaeology, Modern  and Contemporary Literature, Philosophy, History and Philology) and  Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology). The Ph.D course includes the study of the social and political sciences.

Collegiate life is the most significant feature of the  Scuola: the students live in it; they are entitled to a single room in one of the residential colleges (in Pisa the Carducci, Timpano, Fermi and Faedo colleges, and in Florence the Capitini residence), and they can eat in a refectory shared with the professors and researchers. They have free access to the open shelf library, one of the most sizeable of its kind in Europe, and to the laboratory activities they are required to engage in  right from the start of their academic career.