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.
Admission to the undergraduate course of the Scuola Normale is gained by passing a highly selective entrance examination consisting of written and oral tests. For the Phd course admission is on the basis of candidates' diplomas and oral tests.
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.