Political and Social Sciences

The degree course in Political and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore is a specialised course in Research on Political and Social Processes. It focuses on democracy and its challenges, political communication and socio-economic conflicts. It prepares both for social research and for the analysis of policies and communication, and therefore for academic, journalistic or political careers, in international organisations and in governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Three main characteristics distinguish this course in the panorama of master's degrees in political and social sciences, making it a unique training experience:

  • research activity and intense tutoring through supervisors;
  • the sharing of learning and research experiences with Phd students coming from all parts of the world;
  • marked internationalisation.

 The students of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences are also enrolled simultaneously in one of the master's degree courses of the "Cesare Alfieri" School of Political Sciences of the University of Florence (https://www.sc-politiche.unifi.it/vp-49-lauree-magistrali.html).  The Florence site of the SNS offers integrative courses through a programme – in English and in Italian – with a distinct international character, thanks to the experience of the lecturers and the provenance of the students.

The main thematic strains among which students will choose their own courses are: democracy and social movements; political communication; international political economy, work and inequalities.

Created in 2015, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences already has a well established international reputation for its academic excellence. In addition to the courses, the activity of the Faculty is enriched with numerous international conferences, research workshops, summer schools and guest lectures by prestigious scholars from other countries.

The course offers students the possibility to become part of a stimulating and highly formative environment, to spend study periods abroad, to experience the intense  collegial life of the SNS and to lodge free of charge at the Aldo Capitini student residence (https://www.sns.it/it/residenza-aldo-capitini), (https://www.sns.it/it/perche-studiare-alla-normale)

The students “normalisti” of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, where it is activated only  a Master Degree course, must enrol at the University of Florence (UNIFI) and simultaneously attend a second level (MA) degree course at the “Cesare Alfieri” School of Political Sciences, to be chosen among the following: Politics, Institutions and Markets; International Relations and European Studies; Sociology and Social Research. The Scuola Normale Superiore offers, in its premises of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, courses in English  and in Italian. Foreign students must be capable of attending courses in Italian at the University of Florence. Those holding a foreign diploma must carefully read the enrolment rules provided by UNIFI ( https://www.unifi.it/upload/sub/studenti/2021/manifesto_2021.pdf, art.11.1.1). 

The courses that the students can choose for composing their study plan at the Scuola Nornale Superiore, are organized in three research thematic strains: democracy and social movements; politics and society; international political economy. They have a multidisciplinary, pluralistic and methodological approach and some or most of them are part of the educational activities scheduled within the two PhD programmes in “Political and Social Sciences” and in “Transnational Government”. 

Although it was recently established, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences has already consolidated an international reputation thanks to its academic excellence. In addition to the courses, the activities of the Faculty are enriched with numerous international conferences, research workshops and seminars with the participation of well-known scholars and guests.

The normalisti’s studies are entirely free of charge and include:  a total reimbursement of the enrolment fees paid to Florence University; free accommodation; free meals. Besides, students can benefit from an intense collegial life, from important international mobility opportunities and from a free access to all research facilities, including one of the largest library in Europe. 

Attività didattica

In the first and second year of the course there will be 4 courses of 20 hours each (compulsory courses and those chosen by the students) for a total of 80 hours per year.

The teaching activity is arranged in small courses and seminars in which contact with teachers and peer-to-peer work is privileged.

The courses have a multidisciplinary and methodologically plural profile, and are held in Italian and English. Mainly they take place together with the courses offered within the PhD in Political Science and Sociology and the one in Transnational Governance, giving students the opportunity to study alongside doctoral students already engaged in research projects and fieldwork. Seminars, unlike traditional frontal teaching, are often an opportunity for the co-creation of knowledge in which expert teachers interact with the participants' questions, insights and criticisms.

Students are required to submit an annual study plan to the Faculty Council, and, in a final interview at the end of the year, they will receive an assessment of their study and research activities carried out during the year. Passing this interview ensures the student's place, and will allow admission to the next academic year.

Reference teacher