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Political Science and Sociology

Research Activity

The PhD course in Political Science and Sociology of  Scuola Normale Superiore is methodologically pluralist and multidisciplinary. Taught in English and truly international in student composition and faculty experience, it combines structured teaching with close, supportive supervision. The duration of the programme and its grant is four years.

In the best European tradition,it brings together theoretical and empirical resear, with attention to historical, institutional and cultural specificities.

The main research areas are listed below. Prospective applicants are encouraged to look closely at the research interests specified by the Faculty in their personal web pages.

Democracy and social movements. This stream looks at social movements, civil society, participative democracy, democratic innovations, political violence, new media from sociological and political science perspectives. Particular attention is devoted to mobilizations in defence of women’s and gender right, labour rights, the enviroment,  and the territory,

International political economy. This stream examines the  transformations of capitalism, and in particular economic internationalization (globalization, Europeanisation, global  industries, finance, migrations), changes in work and employment (digitalisation, industrial relations, new labour conflicts and inequalities) and the governance of these processes through policies, institutions and agency at multiple levels.

Comparative politics and society.This area focuses on the comparative understanding of political parties, interest groups, civil society and public opinion, with particular attention to new political actors and practices.

Despite its young age, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences has already established an international reputation for academic excellence and world-class research. Besides the structured courses on methodological and substantive issues, the faculty offers a stimulating environment, with international conferences, specialist workshops, summer schools and guest lectures.

Teaching Activity

The Program consists of lectures and seminars.

In consultation with their course coordinator, each year students will present a study plan to the Department Council where they specify what research and training they plan to do in the incoming academic year. In the first year at the School, students are required to attend and pass 6 compulsory and 2 elective courses, for a total amount of 8 courses, each one of 20 hours. From the second to the fourth year, PdD candidates are required to attend and pass 3 elective courses per year.

At the beginning of the first year, the students will be assigned a provisional mentor. 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 Department Council.

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 undergo an interview in front of a Committee appointed by the Department Council and including teachers of their course, in order to assess the studies and the research activities carried out during the previous year. Passing the 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, on any seminars, congresses, or other scientific activities they have participated in, and it will mention any publications they have produced. For admission to the final year, this report will include a section relating to the progress made in their research project.