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The School of Church Communications
The Program of Studies
As the Church is a unique institution, the program provides much more than mere techniques. It provides a thorough academic preparation for Church communicators of the coming millennium.

Courses, taught in English and Italian, are divided into four main areas: ecclesiology, which provides a profound knowledge of the Church from the perspective of the faith; humanities, which provides a thorough grasp of the history and culture of Christianity; communications proper, which provides a sophisticated understanding of the methods, business, and technology of the mass media; institutional communications, in which one studies the means of communications proper to non-profit organizations, with particular attention to the Church and her institutions.

In short, students in the School of Church Communication learn to tell the story of the Church today, with theological depth and professional skill, in a consistent, imaginative, compelling way.
Telling the Story of the Church
When it comes to modern communications, the Church can and should be more than merely "up-to-date". The Church should be setting the pace.

The Church enters the field of mass communications with enormous resources waiting to be tapped: the experience of centuries, in all places, among all people; a vast array of powerful instruments and time-tested methods; top-level professionals; a world-wide network of dedicated, intelligent personnel.

Most importantly, the Church has the one indispensable resource: a story to tell. The good news of God's saving love for man, the story of the Gospels.

This is the essence of Church Communication: the story of the Gospels is the story of the Church. It is told and re-told everyday in countless Christian homes and parishes and dioceses. It is the story of shepherds tending their flocks, of doctors healing the sick, of teachers educating children, of the poor finding generosity and compassion. It is the story of hidden heroism: years of hard work and silent service in the Lord's vineyard; of parents and children persevering in faith and love. It is the story of God's mercy sought and received, of God's love for man revealed in the Lord's Supper and His Sacrifice on the Cross. This is the daily story of Church... the story waiting to be told.

Today, while circumstances may have changed - a news story can now circle the globe in seconds - the story and the challenge remain the same. And the new circumstances present new opportunities. For today the Church stands alone among the world's institutions, living and working all over the earth, speaking all the tongues of man, as present and vital in Manila and Denver as it is in Bogota and Paris. We live in an age made for a world-wide Church, with a world-wide message. It is our age, and it falls to us -it is our calling and our opportunity- to tell the story of the Church today.
Timely, Clear, Well-targeted Information
At the School of Institutional Social Communications, students learn to be pro-active. They learn to take the lead in the countless matters that come up every day in the field of communication and which may involve, sometimes involuntarily, the Church, its message, personnel, and institutions.

Increasingly, the Church attracts the attention and curiosity of the organs of public opinion. These circumstances call for a specialists in Church communication who will be able to deliver information that is timely, clear and well-targeted.
To Learn Rome
In Rome, in close spiritual and physical proximity to the Holy Father, students are steeped in the faith, culture and history of the Church. They will have the chance, to use the words of Pope John Paul II describing his own academic years in the Eternal City, to "learn Rome" (Gift and Mystery).
Serious Training
The School of Institutional Social Communications draws on top-level resources to create an international center of instruction, research, technical training, theological reflection, and strategic analysis. At the School, students get well-balanced professional preparation and serious training.

Hands-on experience
In addition to research and theoretical instruction, an important part - perhaps the most important part - of the program is hands-on experience and practical exercise in Rome and, during the summer months, in institutions around the globe. This practical experience will help students complete their final projects.

Professional Expertise and Interdisciplinary Approach
The faculty includes renowned communication experts and specialists in a wide variety of academic fields from all over the world. For students, the School of Communication will remain a permanent source of data, expertise and experience. For graduates, the School offers the possibility of ongoing training through professional seminars for practioners in the field of Church communication.

International Vision
Professors and students from America, Europe, Africa and Asia make it easy to learn from the experience of others and open new horizons. Students take these friendships and experiences with them when they return to their own countries.

Besides having access to the Athenaeum's extensive library, students enjoy the use of the Documentation Center, the Audiovisual Center and the Multimedia Laboratory. They are trained to use the latest communications technology, taking advantage of the revolutionary potential of new technology to serve the Church more effectively, rapidly and efficiently.
Church Communication at Work
Graduates of the School of Church Communication are ready to take on day-to-day tasks in the dioceses, religious communities, and ecclesiastical organizations where the story of the Church is told today: handling media relations, writing and editing publications, organizing internal communications systems, teaching in schools and seminaries. Moreover, since communicating the identity of the Church is a task for all the faithful, our graduates are prepared to assist the efforts and multiply the effectiveness of all those telling the story of the Church today.

Above all, they bring to their work a vision.

The graduates of the School of Church Communication help people inside and outside the Church recognize that the story being lived in the day-to-day life of the Church is the same story that is told in the Gospel. This is more than a matter of organization or technique. It is a question of seeing the big picture -the story of salvation- imbedded in the business of the Church's daily life and work.
First Cycle (Baccalaureate)
The first cycle of studies in Institutional Social Communications lasts three years and aims at giving the students the philosophical, theological and canonistic basis for a scientific knowledge of both the Church and the modern world. The fundamental concepts of social communications and of institutional communications are also part of the program. Students that have already finished their institutional studies in philosophy and theology may take the first cycle in one year only, provided they have attained the validation for the courses already taken.

Applicants that wish to be admitted as ordinary students to the first cycle of studies should have a diploma that qualifies admission to universities in their own home-country.
Second Cycle (Specialized Licentiate)
The second cycle of studies aims at widening the students' knowledge of the concepts of social communications and at giving the students a specific preparation in institutional communications. The actual study will be on the different means of communication of non-profit organizations, especially of the Church and of the institutions that belong to it. The course both teaches the theoretical knowledge and provides the necessary practical training. Those students that have completed the first cycle of studies in social communications can be admitted to the Licentiate cycle. It lasts two years, including the Thesis (or the Practical project).

Before beginning the second year of License study, the students must complete, during the academic year or the summer break (in which case, for one full month), an internship equivalent to 6 credit hours. The internship should be done at a communications institution, which must issue certification.

English Language
At the conclusion of the second year of the License, each student must demonstrate the knowledge of the English language at the level of "First Certificate". The University organizes a course (available through special registration) for those who need to improve their knowledge of this language in order to reach the required level.

All students of the second cycle should produce a thesis in the field of communications, under the guidance of a member of the Faculty. The thesis can be either a practical project or a work of scientific research.

Practical project
The work should be carried out in the period from February to June. The students should conceive an original idea in the field of communications and from this develop a plan for its practical realization.

The idea should be based on specific data (audience, statistics, budget, programing, etc.) and be related to one of the means of communication. The proposal should also include a feasibility study of the project.

The proposal, after the approval of a professor chosen by the student, should be addressed to the Dean of the School who will evaluate it, consulting also the advisory committee.

General norms and deadlines:
October 22th: Presentation to the Secretary of the School of the proposal of the project, approved by the guiding professor. The student should write a two-page description of the project including the following: the aim of the project, the explanation of what will make it interesting and useful, the method of work.

November 2th: Approval from the steering committee. The students will have five days to modify projects that have not been approved or to present a new project.

15 April: The students should consign a short report, signed by the director of the project, on the state of the project, including a general description of the final public presentation.

May 20th: All students should consign a paper of 50 double-spaced pages (not counting pages with schedules or graphs) in 5 copies to the Academic Office. Audiovisual materials can be handed in as complementary to the written work.

Public presentation and defence: In the course of the month of June all students will be given 20 minutes to discuss their work in front of a board of Faculty members. The language of the presentation is Italian. The board will evaluate the project with regard to its quality, creativity, novelty and feasibility. The grade given for the work will include also the evaluation of the presentation itself.

Work of scientific research
The topic will be chosen by the student under the guidance of a member of the Faculty. To attain the approval of the topic the student should address a request of approval indicating the topic and the moderator of the thesis to the Dean of the School before the end of the second semester of the first year of the second cycle. The written work should have a length of at least 70 typewritten pages. It will be evaluated by a board of two professors. Students should consign four bound copies of the thesis, signed by the moderator on the first page, to the academic office within: May 15th for those students that wish to defend the work in the June exam session; September 15th for those students that wish to defend the work in the October exam session. One copy of the thesis will be returned to the student with the stamp of the University on the first page.

After the defense of the Final Project (practical project or work of scientific research) students end the studies of the second cycle with a degree examination after which they receive the degree of Licentiate in Institutional Social Communications.

In this oral examination the students will be examined on a list of topics that represent a synthesis of the entire program.

Students should register and pay the fee for the Licentiate exam when delivering copies of the practical project or of the work of research to the Academic Office.

The final evaluation of the Licentiate degree in Institutional Social Communications will depend upon the sum of the marks given in all of the examinations of the second cycle: 3/6 from the average of the exams of the single courses and seminars; 2/6 from the evaluation of the Licentiate thesis; 1/6 from the result of the final degree examination.
Third Cycle (Doctorate)
The third cycle completes the specialization in Institutional Social Communications. Under the direction of a professor from the Faculty, the student prepares the doctoral thesis which must make an effective contribution to the research in this scientific field. The title of Doctor is conferred according to the established norms.

In order to enter the third cycle, the student must possess the title of License in Institutional Social Communications, achieved with the minimum grade of Magna cum laude (9.0), and having furthermore obtained the minimum grade of 9.4 for the License thesis.

Doctoral Thesis
a. The student must present to the Academic Office, before the end of the first semester of the final year of the License program, a request addressed to the Dean of the Faculty, asking for approval of the theme of the Doctoral thesis and indicating the chosen advisor, as well as the other requested information, in the appropriate form. The approval of the thesis topic is valid for five years, at the end of which the request must be renewed.

b. Each chapter of the thesis must also be reviewed by a co-advisor, who is named by the Dean at the approval of the thesis topic. The co-advisor has a period of 15 days in which to submit to the Doctoral candidate, through the advisor, his observations regarding the submitted chapter. Once the drafting of the entire thesis has been completed, and before the definitive printing and binding, the student turns it in to the Academic Office in order to receive from the co-advisor the nulla osta for discussion, according to the current procedure.

c. The student must turn in to the Academic Office five bound copies of the thesis, with the advisor's signature on the first page, and pay the respective fee. Once the stamp of the University has been placed on the first page of the thesis in the Academic Office, one copy is returned to the student.

d. The defense of the Doctoral thesis takes place in a public session before a panel of professors, in the period between October and June. The date (not earlier than 15 days after the turning in of the thesis) and the time are communicated by the Academic Office.

e. For the publication of the thesis, refer to the General Norms.
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