The Scuola Normale of Pisa was formally founded on the 18th of October, 1810, by a Napoleonic decree which dealt with “places of public instruction” in Tuscany, a province of the French empire since 1807.
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.
Research is the key characteristic of the Scuola Normale teaching model. Hence the Scuola invests considerable resources in research activities, including the setting up of temporary structures to support them. The laboratories and specialised centres are set up on a five-yearly basis in order to guarantee constant updating of the scientific lines proposed.
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In order to make possible and maintain the exchange of knowledge and experience, the Scuola provides each student with:
As an essential part of the teaching and research activities of the Scuola Normale, the Library's collection has increased most especially in those subject areas where the Normale has traditionally carried out research and teaching, like Physics and Mathematics for the Faculty of Sciences and the Humanities for the Faculty of Arts.
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.
This “minister” has the task of purchasing the equipment for the college gyms and of stipulating suitable agreements with the gyms of Pisa so as to allow students to do physical activities.In addition, there are numerous sports initiatives involving the students, giving them the chance to compete in ways other than on the academic plane with other students from universities in Italy and abroad.