The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa is a public institute for higher education with unique features: student selection exclusively based on merit, lessons on a seminar basis, deeply intertwined teaching and research, an integrated college life and the encouragement of international exchanges based on the best European model of higher education. In Pisa, lecturers, researchers and students inhabit the same spaces, with teaching and laboratory activities, cultural events and experimental initiatives all taking place in a single area. 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 and, for the PhD course only, the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. The great resource of the Scuola Normale is the quality of its students. Selected on the basis of merit through a special examination, they live in a completely free college system and follow a course of studies revolving around a natural mix of experience, research, in-depth study and moments of intuition.