• 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. 

Literature, Art and History in Medieval and Modern Europe

The PhD course in the Literature, Art and History in Medieval and Modern Europe revolves around the study of the many aspects (literary, artistic, religious, political and institutional) of the European cultures of the Modern Age, their specific historical and social contexts, their interconnections, their ideology and identity, and their relationships with the world beyond Europe. The circulation of ideas, exchanges, conflicts and cultural mediations, the relationships between culture and power, the uses and fruition of knowledge and of artistic and literary creativity and their political, social and religious dimensions, are thus at the centre of an analysis that is of necessity both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, in the awareness of the complex methodological implications involved and of the need to link the theoretical with the historical, documentary, philological and linguistic points of view.
The PhD course thus aims to recruit scholars wishing to further their research studies over a wide diachronic scale in the fields of historyliteraturelanguagehistory of art and iconography, at the same time developing the theoretical and critical competences enabling them to understand the principal phenomena at European level but with an eye to a wider world stage. The integration of these areas offers the possibility, unique in the Italian and international university context, of combining a prestigious tradition of studies, well-established in the individual sectors, with new research methods involving the exchange of ideas and a consistent epistemological bias.
Hence the PhD course takes into account the cultural factors interlacing the usual distinctions between areas and research methods, and aims to delineate vast geographical and chronological horizons, with an emphasis on the variety and historical richness of the European cultural traditions and their influence in the world beyond Europe, in the light of the continuity, discontinuity and recurrence in the Modern Age of phenomena arising in the common classical and mediaeval civilization.
Special importance is attached to the methodological depth required both as a precise cultural option and as an adequate means of tackling the variety and complexity of the study themes falling within its range: literature, language, art, music, theatre, and historical and cultural phenomena of varying nature. Much space will be devoted to highly innovative projects, revolving around the relationship between text and image (iconology, the arts of memory, emblems and illustrated editions) and literary translation, in particular in the fields of ancient and modern theatre. Parallel to the exchange of research, specific research studies will be developed around the various forms of artistic expression, contemporary ways of intertextual and intermedial representation of artistic reality, and the tradition of the classic heritage in literature and in the various art forms from the Medieval to the Modern Age.

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.