• 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. 

Research activities

The PhD course aims at surpassing the traditional opposition between analytical and continental philosophy, by articulating originally topics of investigation and methodological approaches. This novel perspective, at the forefront of current philosophical studies worldwide, allows the mutual integration of a solid competence in the history of philosophy with the most up-to-date trends of research in theoretical, logical-linguistical, and ethical-political disciplines.
Inspired by these principles, the doctorate is organized according to the following educational tracks, which are independently structured, but also mutually interrelated:

  • History of Medieval philosophy, Renaissance philosophy, and Modern philosophy. In the field of Medieval philosophy, particular attention will be given to Arabic philosophy, its roots in ancient Greek thought, and its reception in Latin philosophy. The history of Renaissance philosophy will focus on the works of Machiavelli, Bruno, and Pomponazzi. In the development of Modern philosophy, authors like Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel will be taken as pivotal figures.
  • In the context of Moral and Political philosophy, special prominence will be given to hermeneutical and deconstructional theories, to the genealogy of Nietzsche, and to the archeology of Foucault, paying particular attention to the paradigms of “political theology” and of “biopolitics” as they are developed in contemporary Italian thought.
  • In the field of History of logic, contemporary logic, and theories of language, the following topics will be taken into account: modal logic, polyvalent logics, uncertain reasoning, and theories of truth. Particular emphasis will be granted to the relationship between logic and the so-called analytical metaphysics, and between logical structures and linguistic tools.
  • Language, as product of the human development naturally inherent in cognitive processes, will represent a main area of study, also in connection with the interplay between philosophy, politics, and biological life. Special attention will be given to projects targeting typological and diversity linguistics, as well as projects with experimental focus in psycho- and neuro-linguistics.
Teaching activities

The Program consists of lectures and seminars.
In consultation with their course coordinator, each year students will present a study plan to the Faculty Board where they specify what research and training they plan to do in the coming academic year. In their three years at the School, the students will attend and pass the examinations of at least three annual courses. Such courses are chosen in order to broaden the cultural base of students and to orient them towards a specific research project.
At the end of the first year and in agreement with the PhD Board, the students will propose the name of the supervisor of their thesis and its topic for approval by the Faculty Board.
During the three years of the course, the students are expected to participate in seminars offered by the School and to take part in research internships in institutions both in and outside Italy.
At the end of each academic year, with the exception of the final year, the students will then be interviewed on the studies and research they have carried out during the year in front of a committee appointed by the Faculty Board and including teachers of their course. Successfully passing this interview means that the students can keep their post and fellowship, and thus be admitted to the following year.
At the interview, the students will present a report on their scholarly activity, their research and its results, any seminars, congresses, or other scientific activities they have participated in, and any publications they have produced. For admission into the final year, this report will include a section relating to the progress made in their research project.