The University of Catania
The foundation of the University of Catania, the oldest in Sicily, dates back to 1434, when the king of Spain, Alfonso of Aragon (who was also King Alfonso I of Sicily) authorised the establishment of a Studium generale with the privilege of issuing legally valid academic titles.
In 1444, the first four faculties of Medicine, Philosophy, Canonic and Civil Law and Theology and Arts were established. Students began to attend classes in 1445, however it was not until two centuries later that the university gained its own establishment in Piazza Università.
The former building was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 and students were left without a place to continue their study. In the interim period before it was rebuilt, the resourceful students, unperturbed by such events and endowed with infinite determination, transferred classes to wooden huts near the harbour. The new building, designed by Giovan Battista Vaccarini, is a magnificent monument of Baroque architecture.
Today the university buildings are spread throughout the city, with a contrast between the modern, hi-tech “University City”, and numerous historical buildings in the old city centre. It offers an attractive portfolio of academic titles and is committed in the creation of a “laboratory” where the ancient Mediterranean culture meets the new technologies, in order to offer advanced training experience.
There are about 45,000 students enrolled at the University of Catania. The organization of the teaching is handled today by 17 departments, by the Faculty of Medicine, and by two special didactic units established in the decentralized offices of Ragusa (Modern Languages) and Syracuse (Architecture).
A special didactic unit is also the school of excellence "Scuola Superiore di Catania", a higher education centre of the University of Catania conceived in 1998 to select the best young minds and offer them a course of studies including analysis, research and experimentation.
Department of Political and Social Sciences
Research activities in the Department comprise a wide range of projects, seminars, workshops and conferences in Political and Social Sciences, Economics, Law, History and they lay emphasis on the analysis of political and social change at the national, sub-national, European and transnational levels. Research is often carried out using comparative or contextual approaches to examine and develop wide-ranging areas of research, with a multilevel focus. The research programmes of the Political and Social Science area range over the four sub-disciplines of Comparative Politics, Sociology, International Relations, and Social and Political theory with a long-standing experience in Political Science, International Relations and European Politics. The research programmes in Economics are concentrated in the three broad areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics and a strong emphasis on International business. The research programmes in Law range over legal issues in areas such as European and International Law, Labour, Economic, Private and Administrative Law. The research projects in History are focused primarily on the History of Europe, from the modern period to the present, the history of modern institutional systems and the History of the Mediterranean area.
Didactics and research activities
The EUI offers four Bachelor courses (BA) and six Master courses (MA). The BA in International Relations and History aims at providing skills in mapping trends in theories and practices of international relations as events and processes that have occurred over time. The BA in Administrative Studies provides students with an introductory understanding of business and management theories and practices. The BA in Sociology and Social Work combines academic and vocational elements and it is focused on the study of social theory, social policy and social research. The MA courses aim at improving knowledge and professional skills. The MA in Global Politics and Euro-Mediterranean Relations is focused on global institutions, policies and issues, global justice, EU policy-making and governance, and key Mediterranean issues. It is taught entirely in English and offers a double degree programme with the University of Liège. The MA in Internationalisation of Business provides students with a knowledge of global business competition and its economic and legal constraints.
The MA in Public Administration provides with a professional degree those individuals seeking to serve the public through the effective administration of public programmes. The MA in History and Culture of Mediterranean Countries offers the chance to explore key aspects of Mediterranean history and the cultural, political and social transformation of Mediterranean area across the 19th and 20th centuries. The MA in Social Policy and Management trains students in the skills and techniques needed to plan and manage projects in Social Policies. The MA in Sociology enables students to analyze how social influences affect different individuals and groups, and studies the behaviour of, and interaction among, groups, organizations, institutions. Moreover DAPPSI offers a long list of Mobility Programmes and an office for the management of the training and apprenticeship programmes.