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The School of Philosophy

The School of Philosophy's aim is to study and investigate the principal questions of philosophy and culture. In particular, this faculty makes special reference to the ethical problems raised by the present development of the experimental and social sciences, on the basis of a permanently valid philosophical patrimony, offering a useful instrument for theological research. The teaching activity is oriented in such a way as to assist and perfect the spirit of initiative, the capacity for reflection and research, a sense of responsibility and respect for the ecclesial community.

First Cycle (Institutional)

The first cycle has a duration of two years. It aims at giving the students a solid and complete basic philosophical formation. Furthermore, students will become familiar with the method of philosophical research through seminars and courses of methodology.

First cycle courses have an institutional and systematic character, where ethics is centered and founded on a metaphysics-based anthropology. This elucidates the principal themes of philosophical inquiry and demonstrates the intimate harmony between good philosophical reasoning and revealed truth, resulting in a unitary vision of knowledge compatible with the Christian moral life.

In this program the study of Latin and Greek also holds a very important place, as these languages are extremely important both for the study of the sources of the classical philosophical tradition and for the specialization studies in the second and third cycles.


Students wih a diploma that qualifies admission to universities in the student's home-country may be admitted to the first cycle.

Second Cycle (Specialized Licentiate)
The second cycle of studies in philosophy has a duration of two years and aims at guiding the students through a thorough investigation of some philosophical themes towards an ulterior maturation of their capacity of synthesis and a correct use of the methods of teaching of philosophy and of philosophical research.

Presently the School offers two specialization courses:

- Ethics and sciences
- Metaphysics and epistemology

The two-year course of specialized Licentiate studies includes:

1. In-depth and synthetical monographic courses on the principal philosophical themes; common to both specialization courses.
2. Courses and seminars dedicated to the study of the themes proper to the specialization.
3. One course of philosophical method.
4. A special program for the direct knowledge of the most important philosophical and scientific works.
5. Elaboration and discussion of the Licentiate thesis.
6. The comprehensive specialized Licentiate degree exam.

At the end of the second cycle of studies, after having passed all examinations, defended the Licentiate theses and passed the degree examination, all regular students obtain the Licentiate degree in philosophy.


Candidates to the second cycle of studies in philosophy with a bachelor's degree exam in philosophy graded not lower than "cum laude", can be admitted without further examinations. Students with a Bachelor's degree in philosophy graded lower than "cum laude", or without a Bachelor's degree in philosophy, but, who have completed the six-year program of philosophy and theology in a secondary school or institutes acknowledged by the ecclesiastical authorities (seminaries etc.) with an average of "cum laude" in the philosophical topics, can be admitted after having passed an entrance examination on a number of relevant topics. This exam/interview will take place during the first days of the month of October.

Students of the second cycle should have an adequate knowledge of Latin and Greek. Students that do not have certification of this must take a test.

Those students that do not have the sufficient knowledge of Latin and Greek must take additional courses (offered by the University) and pass the exams.

Apart from Italian, the Licentiate students are required to know at least two modern languages well enough to read philosophical publications in these languages.


The students should follow courses and pass the examinations for a total of 49 credits (one credit equals one weakly hour of lectures for one semester) distributed as follows:

12 credits corresponding to the 4 in-depth and synthetical courses common to both specializations (one course of 3 credits per semester).
22 credits corresponding to courses chosen among the specialization courses in one's own
specialization program.
10 credits corresponding to courses chosen among any of the courses offered in the second
4 credits corresponding to seminars.
1 credit corresponding to the course Methodology of Philosophical Research which is compulsory for all first-year students.

Usually the specialization courses and seminars equal 2 credits. When choosing and distributing the courses among the four semesters, students are advised to consider the advantage of leaving free time for the writing of the Licentiate thesis in the fourth semester.

In the course of the first year the students should read two philosophical works (one each semester) under the guidance of a professor and write a work of synthesis and evaluation which must be consigned by the beginning of the exam session.


All students of the second cycle write a 70 page thesis (approximate) to demonstrate their research capabilities.

The topic of the thesis will be chosen by the student under the guidance of one of the Faculty members.

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. For students that have taken the first year of the second cycle in another university the expiry of the term is the 30th of November.

Students should consign five bound copies of the thesis, signed by the moderator on the first page, to the academic office before:

September 8th for those students that wish to defend their thesis and sit for the degree examination in the October exam session.
January 15th for those students that wish to defend their thesis and sit for the degree examination in the February exam session.
May 15th for those students that wish to defend their thesis and sit for the degree examination in the June exam session.
One copy of the thesis will be returned to the student with the stamp of the University on the first page.

Upon defending the Licentiate thesis and passing the Licentiate exam, students receive the degree of Specialized Licentiate in Philosophy.

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

Students should register and pay the fee for the Licentiate exam when delivering the five copies of the thesis to the academic office.

The final grade for the Specialized Licentiate degree is calculated by adding the second cycle examinations grades: 3/6 of the average of the exams of the various courses and seminars; 2/6 from the Licentiate thesis grade; 1/6 of the final licentiate exam.

Third Cycle (Doctorate)
The third cycle aims at concluding the philosophical specialization. All students should attend monographic courses for a total of four credits, taking the final examinations. Under the guidance of one of the members of the Faculty the students should prepare a doctoral thesis which must constitute an actual contribution to philosophical research. The qualification of doctor will be given according to the established norms.


Students that wish to be admitted to the third cycle should have a specialized Licentiate degree in philosophy, with a minimum of Magna cum Laude in the defense of their Licentiate thesis.


Students should present a request of approval of the topic of the doctoral thesis, addressed to the Dean of the School, within the end of the first semester, indicating the moderator of the thesis. An outline of the work, approved by the moderator, must be enclosed with the request. The approval of the topic is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed.

All chapters of the thesis should be examined also by the co-moderator who will be appointed by the Dean at the moment of the approval of the topic. The co-moderator has 15 days to communicate his observations, through the moderator, to the student. Before proceding to the final printing of the thesis the student should deliver one typewritten copy to the academic office in order to receive the authorization to the defense from the co-moderator.

Students should deliver five copies of the completed thesis, all signed by the moderator on the first page, to the academic office paying the fee for the consignment of the thesis. One copy of the thesis will be returned to the student with the University stamp on the first page.

The defence of the doctoral thesis is public, in front of a commision of members of the Faculty and will take place in the period from October to June. The date (at the earliest 15 days after the consignment of the thesis) and the hour will be communicated by the academic office.