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 four academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Sciences, placed in Pisa; the Department of political and social sciences and the Ciampi Institute, located in Florence.
The institutional aim of the Scuola is to promote the development of culture, teaching and research in the sciences and the humanities. This particular purpose is achieved by exploring the interconnections between these two areas. This important aim is also obtained through a very high level of university and post-university education, as well as continuing and recurring training, giving priority to the relationship between education and research.
The final purpose of the Scuola is to transmit the acquired abilities to the public administration and to the world of professions.
At the Scuola Normale teachers, researchers and students live in the same environment, switching between teaching activities and research in the labs and attending the cultural events organised by and within the Scuola. An optimum teacher to student ratio (about 1 to 10), the seminar method of teaching, the prevalence of interaction and discussion within the academic environment, as opposed to more traditional lectures: these are the basic ingredients of the typical college life of the Scuola Normale.