Department of Social and Political Sciences


The Department of Social and Political Sciences (SPS) has been ranked first among the large departments of social sciences in the 2004-2010 research assessment. SPS conducts and coordinates research and teaching programmes in the fields of social and political theory, public policy analysis, the politics of work and welfare, and the study of culture and of social relations.

 The Department was established in April 2012 when it merged the Department of Social and Political Studies and the Department of Labour and Welfare Studies. The widely acknowledged multidisciplinary nature of the original departments was thus reinforced, drawing together sociologists, political scientists, legal scholars, economists and anthropologists who apply their skills to developing collaborative, multidisciplinary research and teaching programs across a large range of issues of contemporary and scholarly importance.

 The Department believes that the social sciences in their plurality are pivotal to understanding contemporary political and social systems and processes of change. For this purpose, it promotes multidisciplinary research and innovative and integrated tertiary educational programmes. As with the best European and international research and models of higher education, it seeks to pool, exchange, challenge and develop the knowledge and expertise of scholars and students of the social sciences.

 The Department of Social and Political Sciences offers students and junior and senior researchers a physical space, an intellectual environment and training programmes through which they can tackle new and challenging ideas and conduct research into their chosen fields of scientific interest. At the heart of this formation is the Department’s characteristic interdisciplinary approach.

The Department :

  • offers 5 BA programmes (in two cases in association with other departments) and 4 MA programmes, and participates in the teaching activities of several other programmes in the Faculty of Political, Economic and Social Sciences and in the School of Linguistic and Cultural mediation sciences ;
  • facilitates and supports participation in international, national and local research programmes and fora, and participation in all aspects and stages of the research process, including collaboration with public institutions and private bodies ;
  • promotes the creation of stable national and transnational research networks and organizations so as to bring together both leading and emerging scholars from a range of scientific communities ;
  • organizes scientific seminars, conferences and summer/winter schools, also in collaboration with parallel national and international scientific bodies ;
  • manages, updates and disseminates bibliographies of the latest research through its own Documentation Centre ;
  • manages and develops an IT laboratory which supports research and teaching activities within the department ;
  • promotes the establishment and activities of research centres and laboratories, also in cooperation with other departments and universities ;
  • facilitates the circulation and public discussion of research results, including through the publication of its own various working paper series, the organization of public seminars, and high profile media interventions ;
  • coordinates and conducts research and consultancy activities regulated by contracts and agreements with a variety of public and private institutions in accordance with national laws and the University’s statutes and regulations.

The Department upholds the principle and process of peer review for each and every research activity undertaken at the University and beyond, and further acknowledges peer review as central to academic integrity and independence.

The Department adheres to the principles set forth in the University Code of Ethics and formally commits to respecting the principle of equal opportunity for all.

International relations  

Thanks to its members, the Department of Social and Political Sciences plays an active role in national and international scientific communities and boasts many types of collaborations.

Attesting to the Department’s position within the various scientific communities of reference is the fact that it members are or have been on the steering committees of major national and international scientific associations, such as the International Sociological Association, the European Sociological Association, the European Consortium for Political Research, the European Political Science Association, the International Political Science Association, the European Network for Social Policy Analysis, the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, the International Labor and Employment Relations Association, the Italian Association of Labour-Management Relations Studies, the Italian Association of Sociology, the Italian Society of Political Science, and the Italian Society of Political Philosophy.

Last but not least, the presence of the Department’s professors on the editorial and scientific boards of countless national and international scientific journals further attests to the Department’s relevance in research networks of excellence.

Graduate School in Social and Political Sciences

The Graduate School in Social and Political Sciences (GSSPS) of the University of Milan, established in 2003, offers from A.Y. 2013/2014 three Ph.D. programmes : Economic Sociology and Labour Studies, Political Studies and Sociology and Metodology of Social Research. Each programme focuses primarily on advanced training in the respective discipline to enable students to master the dominant paradigms, research methods and essential literature. In addition, the School provides an opportunity for cross-disciplinary training in approaches and methods. The rationale is to encourage students to combine the rigorous study and use of the specific tool kit of their discipline with curiosity and attention towards the tool kits and research agendas of other disciplines, thus becoming aware that scientific innovation often stems from "contamination".

 The world is the working environment of research students. A graduate school needs to be nested in the international research arena. The GSSPS is pursuing this goal in several ways. The School is open to students from all over the world. All classes are taught in English by a mixed Italian and international faculty. The School has several institutional links with foreign universities in Europe and in North America, including Bremen University, Edinburgh University, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, the London School of Economics, the Amsterdam University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard University and others. This network is being presently increased to include other prestigious institutions worldwide.

 From Academic Year 2013/2014, the Graduate School hosts the NASP-WEST project (Network for the Advancement in Social and Political Studies) which involves a network of universities in North-Western Italy : Brescia, Università Cattolica, Genova, Milano, Pavia, Piemonte Orientale, Torino.

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