• 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. 

Political Science and Sociology

Research activities

The PhD course in Political Science and Sociology of the Scuola Normale Superiore builds upon a methodologically pluralist approach and a multidisciplinary nature, combining structured teaching with close supervision activities by a dedicated faculty. The duration of the programme and its grants is four years. The PhD program is offered by a consortium of SNS and the University of Bologna.
The main research areas which have been singled out are organized around the following topics.
Democracy and social movements. In this area, sociological and political science competences converge around political sociology, which bridges the two disciplines through its main focus on the reciprocal influence of political and social transformations. Social movements, civil society, participative democracy, political violence, new media and conflicts are the main concepts addressed in the teaching and research activities. In the best European tradition, the methodological approach will be sensitive to the historical, institutional and cultural specificities, but also oriented to the development of theory.
Comparative/global public policy and international governance.This area addresses, in an innovative way, themes such as the comparative analysis of public policies; the global dimension of public policies; the multilevel governance of public policies, that is the structural and processual characteristics that influence how public policies are decided and implemented in multilevel institutional processes (from the sub-national to the national, and from the supra-national to the international ones, with due attention devoted to the European Union); the structure of regimes and dynamics of international politics (not only foreign policy and defence, but also migration, social, public health, educational, energy and economic development policies).
Comparative politics and society. This area is oriented towards the comparative analysis of a set of major politico-institutional processes, focusing on the interactions between political parties, interest groups, civil society and public opinion. Classical comparative analysis, based on cross-national comparison, is backed up by the study of processes which are territorially multilevel, such as Europeanization and globalization, in the political ‒ but also economic, social, and cultural ‒ spheres.

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 four years at the School, the students will attend and pass the examinations of at least 6 annual courses (whereof 5 are compulsory).
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 four 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.