Political Sciences at Pavia

The University of Pavia is one of the oldest in Europe. Founded 650 years ago as a school of Law, Science and Medicine, it is now a prestigious multidisciplinary research University and is a partner in more than 300 international exchange programs aimed at promoting international cooperation through the mobility of students and teaching staff.

Pavia has a long and respected tradition of research and teaching in “Political Sciences”. Founded in 1926 for the academic training of future diplomats, journalists, and public managers, Pavia’s Faculty of Political Sciences (now the Department of Political and Social Sciences) is the second oldest in Italy, and one of the best known. The mission of the Faculty has always been inherently multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, as reflected in its journal, Il Politico, which publishes articles in Italian and English in the areas of politics, sociology, history, law, and economics.

Pavia’s ranking with respect to Italian Faculties of Political Sciences has been consistently high over the last decade. Pavia University as a whole has also been consistently ranked first or second over recent years (by the Italian Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali) in the category of large-sized Italian Universities.

“Political sciences” is a multidisciplinary form of study peculiar to a limited number of European countries, most notably Italy and France (scienze politiche, sciences politiques). The “political sciences” (in the plural) include political science (in the singular), but also the other social sciences (economics and sociology), together with history, and law. These other “sciences” count as “political” insofar as they focus on political phenomena, making political science a central discipline through which the other disciplines relate to one another.

Pavia has produced and hosted a number of nationally and internationally renowned scholars in the political sciences. The political and legal theorist Bruno Leoni, the economist Libero Lenti, and the historian Carlo Maria Cipolla are among the figures who have established pioneering and leading schools of research at Pavia.

As well as including prominent researchers in Western and European comparative politics, history, law, economics, and sociology, Political Sciences at Pavia also boasts particular strengths in the study of African and Asian history and politics, and in the teaching of Arabic, Chinese and Japanese languages.

Leading figures in Italian political sciences.

Gaetano Mosca

Gaetano Mosca, Italian political scientist and founder of the theory of elitism. He contributed importantly to the study of the legitimacy and organization of political power.

Vilfredo Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto, Italian economist and sociologist. He developed influential theories of individual choice and social action and introduced the concept known as Pareto efficiency.

Norberto Bobbio

Norberto Bobbio, an Italian legal and political theorist of the second half of the Twentieth Century made prominent contributions to democratic theory and liberal socialist thought.

Bruno Leoni

Bruno Leoni, an Italian political scientist, legal theorist, and libertarian political philosopher. He was a professor at Pavia and founded the Pavia journal "Il Politico".



Micol Cesarani, Current occupation: Programme Development Specialist at Plan International UK (WPIR Student 2014-2016)

“I found WPIR as the most suitable faculty to reach my career objectives, mainly because of its multidisciplinary approach, multicultural environment, eminent professors, and the scholarship opportunities offered by UNIPV. On the one hand, the knowledge of international politics dynamics I gained through many of the classes offered at WPIR has been a great basis for developing hard skills necessary for working in developing and managing humanitarian and development programmes in the NGO sector. On the other hand, the most useful skills I developed in my years at WPIR are the soft ones, like public speaking, team work, and the capacity to work under tight deadlines. ”.


Dorcas Heward-Mills - WPIR Student 2021-2023

“I was interested in IR because I wanted to develop a comprehensive awareness of global society and acquire the knowledge, skills, and requisite qualification that, given my future objectives and potential professional career. I have learned a great deal about the historical roots of global and regional superpowers, the comparison of political economies with relevant models, important security, legal, and diplomatic issues that embody international relations, etc. Some of the most exciting things to do outside the walls of the University of Pavia is take a short stroll from school to the Ponte Coperto to enjoy the tranquil setting while reading, having a picnic with friends, or simply taking some “me time.” Three important things at the University of Pavia are: the curriculum and course structure, professional instructors and the variety of students from various backgrounds.”.