• 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. 

Call for Applications for Entrance Exams for the First and Fourth Years of University Studies - Academic Year 2017 – 2018

 “Call for selection of 60 places in the first year (Bachelor level) and 21 places in the fourth year (Master level) of Scuola Normale Superiore for the academic year 2017-2018”

1 - Places available

The Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) announces a selection for:

  • 28 places for the first year and 4 places for the fourth year of the undergraduate course of the Faculty of Human Sciences;
  • 32 places for the first year and 6 places for the fourth year of the undergraduate course of the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences.
  • 5 places reserved for candidates applying for the Master degree in “Neuroscience”
  • 6 places reserved for candidates applying for the Master degree in “Materials and Nanotechnology”

The scholarships have a duration of:

  • five years for the successful candidates in the first year;
  • two years for the successful candidates in the fourth year and in the Master degree in “Neuroscience” and in “Materials and Nanotechnology”

Students who have fulfilled the obligations established to attend the course attain the qualifications provided for in Article 41 of the Statute of the SNS[1].

Successful candidates must enroll at the University of Pisa and simultaneously attend a first level (BA) degree course or a second level (MA) degree course among the following of the "Humanities" area for the Faculty of Human Sciences and those of “Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences" area for the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences:

  • Successful candidates in the first year of the Humanities area: Cultural Heritage Studies; History; Humanities; Philosophy; Discipline of entertainment and communication
  • Successful candidates in the fourth year of the Humanities area: Archaeology; Philology and History of Antiquity; Philosophy and Forms of Knowledge; European Literature and Philologies; Italian Language and Literature; Linguistics; Oriental Studies: Egypt, Near and Middle East; History and Civilization; History and Forms of the Visual and Performing Arts and New Media;
  • Successful candidates in the first year of the Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences area: Biotechnologies, Chemistry, Industrial and Environmental Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, Geological Sciences, Natural and Environmental Sciences;
  • Successful candidates in the fourth year of the Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences area: Biology Applied to Bio-medical Sciences; Marine Biology; Cellular and Molecular Biology; Industrial and Molecular Biotechnologies; Chemistry; Industrial Chemistry; Conservation and Evolution; Physics; Geophysics of Exploration and Applied; Computer Science; Computer Science and Networking; Mathematics; Environmental Science; Geosciences and Geotechnologies

Note: This list may be updated as a result of any changes in the course schedules of Pisa University for the academic year 2017-2018

The successful candidates of the first year of the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences also have the chance to enroll in the extended length degree course in "Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies”, which is part of the “Health Sciences” area.

If different subjects are chosen from the aforementioned, they have to be of interest, in any case, to a degree similar to those outlined above, and remain subject to the Faculty Board’s approval.

Successful candidates will have reserved places and will thus not have to take any entrance tests required by the University of Pisa in order to enroll in first level or second level degree courses.

[1] Depending on when students enter the SNS, they may obtain: a) an SNS First-Level Diploma if they completed a BA / BS degree at the University of Pisa as well as all SNS obligations; b) an SNS Second-Level Diploma if they complete an MS / MA degree from the University of Pisa as well as all their SNS obligations; c) an SNS Diploma di Licenza if they complete an MS / MA diploma from the University of Pisa as well as all their SNS obligations and they had previously obtained the SNS First-Level Diploma.

2 - Admission requirements

Places are for those who, regardless of their nationality, are in possession of the following requirements:

for the first year:

  1. have achieved a qualification giving access to first level degree courses in the Italian universities;
  2. were born after 31 December 1995;
  3. have not attended, for the academic year 2016-2017, a university course belonging to a Class of degree course[1]  that includes disciplines chosen by the candidate for the SNS entrance exams

for the fourth year:

  1. have achieved a degree that gives access to a second level degree course during the academic year 2016-2017, or have committed to achieve it by 31 October 2016;
  2. were born after 31 December 1992.

The following will be excluded from taking part in the competition:

  1. have been subject to disciplinary action of "expulsion" provided by Article 20 of the internal  regulations of the SNS;
  2. have been convicted for imprisonment for three years or more.
  3. The requirements for admission must be satisfied before the expiry of the deadline for applications, except for the possession of a bachelor's degree, required for entry in the fourth year, that will have to be achieved, under penalty of forfeiture of the position, by October 31, 2016.

Candidates shall be admitted on a provisional basis, and may be excluded at any moment from the admissions process should they fail to meet any requirements.

The SNS retains the right to check at any time, even after the announcement of the successful candidates, the veracity of the statements made in the application to meet the prescribed requirements. The lack of requirements determines the exclusion from the admissions process which means the loss of the place. The reasons for an exclusion or a revocation shall therefore be communicated in writing to the address indicated on the application.

In addition to the requirements of the preceding paragraphs, candidates must have a sufficient knowledge of Italian to enable them to successfully take part in courses.

[1] Class of degree courses: Grouping of degree courses of the same level, having the same educational goals, characterized by the same educational activities and awarding qualifications with identical legal value. Classes are identified on the basis of one or more ministerial decrees. (definition source: cimea 2003)

3 - Applications and deadlines

Applications, for both first year and fourth year places, must be registered online before midnight (Central European Time) of 10 August 2017, through the SNS website: http://www.sns.it/  The application can be filled out in English or Italian.

All applications received and registered on line after the stipulated date and time will be rejected whatever the cause of delay. Applicants are strongly advised to check that they have received notification via e-mail of the registration of their application; the SNS is not responsible for application procedures not correctly concluded.

Candidates are advised not to wait until the last few days before the deadline to present their application; the University cannot accept responsibility for any malfunctioning due to technical problems, overloading of the communication line and/or the application systems, for  communications that go astray on account of incorrect indications in the application or errors ascribed to third parties, accidental circumstances or force majeure. The application must include, in addition to personal details, forwarding addresses and proof of qualification for admission, and the discipline – or disciplines – for which the candidate intends to compete.

Candidates can only apply for a single course and only for a single Faculty.

Candidates applying for the Master degree in “Materials and Nanotechnology” can also apply to compete for the fourth year positions of the undergraduate courses of the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences.

Candidates applying for the fourth year in the Faculty of Human Sciences must attach a copy of their thesis in PDF format. If the thesis has not yet been discussed, a draft version is acceptable. If the thesis is not written in Italian, English, French, Spanish or German, the candidate must provide an index and an abstract in one of these languages which covers the issue addressed, the hypothesis from which the candidate started, the methodology followed and the results obtained. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure the legibility of this document.

Candidates who are not nationals of the European Union must submit their application for a place at the University of Pisa to the Italian consulate in their home country, as prescribed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) in relation to registration of foreign students for the academic year 2016-2017.

The SNS retains the right to allow the regularization of the applications proven to be non-compliant, if submitted in time.

Candidates must declare the following, according to Article No. 46 of the President of the Republic Decree No. 445, dated 28 December 2000,  entitled "Legislative provisions relating to administrative documents" and subsequent amendments and additions:

  1. their name, surname, date and place of birth, national insurance/social security number;
  2. their citizenship;
  3. their residence; address if it does not match the residence; telephone number and e-mail address at which to receive any communications;
  4. that they have not been convicted for imprisonment for three years or more;
  5. that they are have not received the disciplinary measure of "expulsion" from the SNS;
  6. a valid educational qualification, the school or university from which it was obtained and the date of graduation;
  7. the place and the Faculty they are competing for (first or fourth year, Human Sciences or Mathematical and Natural Sciences Faculty);
  8. candidates for the first year only, if enrolled in a degree course for the academic year 2016-2017: in this case, the name, the class of degree course, faculty and the university must be specified;
  9. the bachelor or master course they intend to enroll at the University of Pisa;
  10. that they are aware of the admissions process regulations and accepts them, without reservation;
  11. they are aware of the information concerning the processing of personal data under article 9;
  12. if a candidate, in accordance with the article 20 of the Law No. 104 dated 5 February 1992, "Framework Law for the assistance, social integration and rights of disabled people”, wishes to take advantage of assistance and extra time to take the tests, a formal request must be provided;
  13. if a candidate, in accordance with the Law No. 170 dated 8 October 2010 specific for the specific learning disabilities wishes to take advantage of assistance and extra time to take the tests, a formal request must be provided;
  14. the request of enjoying of the Sabbatical rest, in accordance with the Law No. 101 dated 8 March 1989, which regulates the relations with the Jewish communities;
  15. any exams they wish take in a different language from Italian, in accordance with paragraph 4.

Candidates should also indicate the subjects in which they intend to take the tests, referring to the “Framework of the tests” attached to this announcement.      

First year candidates for the Faculty of Human Sciences must also indicate the three disciplines in which they intend to do the written tests and the three disciplines chosen for the oral tests, even if they are the same as the written tests.

Candidates for the fourth year of the Faculty of Human Sciences must also indicate which of the following areas they intend to study:

  • Philosophy
  • Modern Literature and Philology, Linguistics
  • Ancient History and Classical Philology
  • History of Art and Archaeology
  • History and Paleography

Candidates must indicate the two disciplines in which they intend to do the written tests and the two disciplines chosen for the oral tests, even if they are the same as the written tests.

Candidates for both the first and the fourth year for the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences must indicate which tests they wish to take, when such choice is given.

4 - Procedures for carrying out the tests

The competition tests are intended to assess preparation, talent, motivation and potential of a both cultural and professional development of the candidates. They are both written and oral.

Candidates are required to attend the written tests without the need for additional communications, in the place and on the dates indicated in the “Framework of the tests” attached to this announcement. Candidates must provide a valid identity card or similar document. In the written tests, the candidates will have to observe the instructions received by the selection board; those who do not observe the instructions will be excluded from the selection process.

The schedule of oral tests and the list of the admitted candidates will be officially published online in a special section of the SNS website, with an indication of the average score in the written tests. The inclusion in the list of admitted candidates is equivalent to a notification to the  persons concerned, who are expected to  attend without the need for additional communications.

Any changes will be announced in the same way; the SNS, however, retains the right to use different means of communication when necessary.

The absence of the candidate at one of the tests, whatever the cause, determines the exclusion from the selection process.

Candidates will have a maximum of six hours in order to complete each written exam .

The test for the Faculty of Human Sciences may be taken in Italian, French, or English. The test for the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences may be taken in Italian or English. The test for the Master degree in “Neuroscience” and in “Materials and Nanotechnology” must be conducted in English. In their application, candidates should clearly indicate which language they wish to use.

The application committee retains the right to check in the oral test that the level of knowledge of the Italian language of the candidate is suitable to ensure the candidate's participation in the activities provided by the course.

5 - Selection Boards of the contest, voting, ranking

The selection boards may delegate some of its activities to sub-committees. The admission to the oral tests and the definition of the final rankings are decided in a plenary session. The selection board may decide to call upon the additional skills and contributions of professors, researchers, graduate students, experts and scholars of the SNS appointed by the Director.

For each of the written tests, the selection board can award a maximum score of one hundred points.

For the Faculty of Human Sciences, the candidates that in the written tests achieved an average of at least seventy points are admitted to the oral tests. For the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, the candidates that in the written tests achieved an average of at least sixty points are admitted to the oral tests. The selection board will calculate this average for the candidates of the first and the second year, by assessing a different value to the two subjects of the exam. A value of 60% to the subject related to the course the candidate is applying for, and a value of 40% to the second one.

The list of candidates admitted to the oral test, along with the indication of the average score obtained by each in the written tests, will be officially published online on the website of SNS.

For each oral test, the selection board can award a maximum  score of one hundred points.

For the Faculty of Human Sciences ,the oral tests are passed by the candidates who achieve an average of at least seventy points. For the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences the oral tests are passed by candidates who achieve an average of at least sixty points.

The results obtained by the candidates in the oral tests will finally be published on the SNS website.

Candidates who have passed both written and oral tests will be declared suitable for admission.

The selection board, taking an average of the marks obtained by the candidates in the written and the oral tests, will formulate the final ranking of the candidates in an order of merit.

If two or more candidates have the same score at the end of the selection process, the youngest candidate will be placed first in the ranking .

The official rankings will be published on the SNS website of.

The SNS will communicate the results of the competition to the successful candidates only.

6 - Contribution to travel expenses

Candidates admitted to the oral tests are reimbursed for documented travel expenses in excess of € 50, from the place of residence to Pisa. There is a maximum reimbursement of € 350 for candidates from Italy, and € 700 for candidates coming from outside Italy.

The request for reimbursement, accompanied by the original travel documents, must be provided by 31 October 2017. Reimbursement will only be provided for travels by rail (second class), by bus, by boat or by plane (economy class and distance between Pisa and the place of residence has to be above 600 miles). For candidates residing in Sardinia air travel expenses will be reimbursed in any case.

Candidates who are not nationals of the European Union may seek reimbursement of costs up to a maximum of € 1,000.

7 - Announcement of the successful candidates

The Director of SNS approves the final rankings and name the successful candidates.

Successful candidates must be present at the SNS for the beginning of the course; the date is indicated in the notice of appointment. Otherwise, in the absence of a prior request or a statement of reasons recognized as valid by the SNS, candidates will forfeit their place.

In case of refusal or forfeiture of the place, the SNS reserves the right to proceed to a new assignment within thirty days over the beginning of the courses, with respect to the ranking of the successful candidates.

Successful candidates must provide the SNS, within the deadline that will be communicated to them, with the following:

  1. a health certificate stating immunity from diseases that do not allow them to participate in everyday life of a community, dated not earlier than three months;
  2. a statement regarding the enrolment of  or first level or second level degree course at the University of Pisa.
  3. a declaration of acceptance of the Statute of the SNS, exonerating the school for the consequences of their non-compliance. For any successful candidates that are still minors, a declaration must be made by a parent or a legal guardian;
  4. a digital photograph, or two passport-size photographs;
  5. for degrees obtained abroad a certificate issued by the Institute or by the university must be presented; it must be translated into Italian, with the exception of the certificates made in English, French, Spanish and German.

The SNS retains the right to carry out further checks and ask for more certifications, where permitted by law, for the purposes of compliance with obligations referred to in paragraph 8 referring to refunds of tuition fees.

8 - Students rights and obligations

The status of a student is regulated by the Statute and the internal regulations of the SNS.

Students have the obligation to reside in the colleges of the SNS or in other residences indicated by the SNS.

Students benefit from free meals at the SNS canteen and from free accommodation, from October 1 to September 30 of the following year - with the exception of holiday periods. In addition, they receive a grant in an amount determined annually by the SNS, and reimbursement, total or partial, of the tuition fees.

The grant for 2016-2017 is € 1,280; the grant is subject, for tax purposes, to the Italian legislation on fellowships.

In 2017-2018 the tuition fees and the regional tax for the right to study due to the University of Pisa will be reimbursed in total; to get the refund, the student must have complied with the regulations of the University of Pisa and the DSU - Regional "Right to Study" Program - regulations, or provide the SNS with documents showing the student’s financial situation (ISEE certificate) and the requirements for exemption.

The student may be allowed, for serious reasons, to defer or suspend his/her academic duties no more than once and for the duration of one year. The deferral or suspension for maternity or for any other obligations subject to national laws are permitted subject to the student's informing the SNS of her situation.

The students cannot take on any commitments that are incompatible with the fulfillment of SNS academic obligations.

First (Bachelor) and second (Master) level SNS Students, in order to proceed to the next year must:

  1. follow courses at both the SNS and the University;
  2. sit for discussions and examinations according to a study plan submitted by them and approved by their Faculty;
  3. be judged suitable during interviews and sit for all university and internal exams according to the study plan;
  4. achieve a grade of not less than twenty-four out of thirty in exams taken both at the University of Pisa and the SNS, and maintain an average of at least twenty-seven out of thirty;
  5. the successful candidates for the first year, in order to proceed to the fourth year, must have completed their First level degree at the University of Pisa by 31 October of the relevant year, where required by the degree program attended.

9 - Privacy policy

According to article 13 of Legislative Decree No. 196 dated 30 June 2003 named "Code regarding the protection of personal data", the processing of personal data provided when taking part in the admission process will be carried out for the following institutional activities at the SNS:

  • fulfillment of  the procedures for the competitive entrance examination;
  • access and accommodation of students in SNS halls of residence;
  • provision of guidance services to students.

The rules applied to processing personal data carried out by the SNS are those performed by the non-economic public entities (Articles 18 to 22 and Article 100 of Legislative Decree No. 196 / 2003). The whole process will be carried out through computerized procedures at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, Pisa, Italy. Personal data collected by the SNS can be published and communicated within the limits of the purposes for which they were collected.

Candidates have the rights under Article 7 of Legislative Decree No. 196 dated 2003 and the right to access their personal data, to request their correction, update or deletion,  where incomplete, incorrect or collected in violation of the law. Candidates can deny their processing for reasons recognized by law. Such request must be addressed to the SNS.

10 - Contacts and information

Matters not covered by this call for applications are subject to the SNS Statute and regulations, available at http://www.sns.it

Further information may be found at : http://www.sns.it/didattica/ammissione_ordinario/

Contact the student administrative office at:

  • concorso.ammissione@sns.it
  • Silvia Carresi, +39 050.509663
  • Mario Landucci, +39 050.509237
  • Ambra Vettori, +39 050.509026
  • Silvia Zappulla, +39 050.509685.