Politecnico di Milano is a science and technology university established in 1863. Its most eminent professors over the years have included the mathematician Francesco Brioschi (its first Director), Luigi Cremona, and Giulio Natta (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963). Politecnico di Milano is now ranked as one of the most outstanding European universities in Engineering, Architecture and Design, and in many disciplines is regarded as a leading research institution worldwide. According to the QS University Rankings 2021, in the field of Civil & Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano is ranked as 13th worldwide, 6th in Europe and 1st in Italy.

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The University has always focused on the quality and innovation of its teaching and research, developing a fruitful relationship with business and productive world by means of experimental research and technological transfer. Politecnico takes part in several research, sites and training projects collaborating with the most qualified European universities. The contribution of Politecnico is increasingly being extended to other countries: from North America to Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe. Today the drive to internationalization sees Politecnico di Milano taking part into the European and world network of leading technical universities and it offers several courses, many of which are entirely taught in English.

The number of students enrolled in all campuses is over 48,000, which makes Politecnico di Milano the largest institution in Italy for Engineering, Architecture and Design.

Politecnico di Milano has a long and well established tradition of honorary degrees awarded to distinguished laureates in the fields of Engineering, Architecture, and Design. Honorary degrees in Civil Engineering have been recently awarded to Dan Frangopol, Lehigh University (2016), and Mark Sarkisian, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (2021), respectively President and Executive Board Member of IALCCE.