The Normale introduces itself
The Normale is a place where scientific, technological and cultural challenges find a fertile, open and stimulating ground, where the critical knowledge, scientific rigour and intellectual curiosity can develop.
The Scuola Normale Superiore is a university institute of higher education, research and high-level training with a special status, whose prestige in the research and educational fields is recognised at an international level. Three of its former students – Giosuè Carducci, Enrico Fermi and Carlo Rubbia – have been awarded the Nobel prize; more recently, Alessio Figalli won the Fields Medal.
The Normale promotes culture, teaching and research in the disciplines of the Humanities, mathematics, and natural and social sciences, and the exploration of their interconnections. It is a place where scientific, technological and cultural challenges find a fertile, open and stimulating ground, where the critical knowledge, scientific rigour and intellectual curiosity necessary for interpreting the complexity in which humanity is immersed contribute to the growth of our country and of Europe. The talent of its students, the high level and innovativeness of its research and its interaction with society, are the values that make up its identity.
The curriculum of the Normale offers two possibilities: the undergraduate course (corresponding to a three-year degree course and a master's degree) and the PhD course. There are three faculties: the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy and the Faculty of Sciences, both sited in Pisa, and the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (sited in Florence).
One of the main aims of the Normale is to identify and cultivate the talents of its students, guaranteeing that the teaching they receive develops their individual capabilities in a context of coexistence, dialogue and collaboration. Dozens of young people are selected each year, by means of calls, solely on the basis of merit. Upon entering the Normale, they are housed free of charge in the residential colleges, they live and work together, they have discussions with scholars of all ages, provenance and educational pathways, they start research early on, and they are encouraged to seek experiences in other university and research institutes, in Italy and abroad.
Those selected for the undergraduate course are committed to attending the lectures given by the Normale together with the corresponding study courses of the University of Pisa (for the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy and the Faculty of Sciences) or of the University of Florence (for the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences). Hence they follow two parallel and complementary educational courses respecting rigorous didactic obligations.
At the Normale the ratio between lecturers and students is extremely virtuous, apart from small annual variations hovering at around 1:4. This makes the Normale a community of people who live, study and develop together. In fact, lecturers, researchers and students live side by side in a unique environment, carrying out teaching and laboratory activities and organising events open to the public and experimental initiatives. The study course is made up of experiences, research, in-depth studies and moments of intuition, individual skills thus developing through sharing.