The curriculum is composed of three cycles in conformity with the requirements of the Apostolic Constitution, Veritatis Gaudium. Besides the regular lectures, seminar activities and practical exercises form part of the program. Students are free to have recourse to professors for further information and direction.

FIRST,PURELY PREPARATORY, CYCLE: lasts for four semesters (two years) and is for those who have no training in philosophy or theology; no exception for those who already have a degree in Civil Law is permitted. It is dedicated to the study of the institutions of canon law and the philosophical and theological disciplines that are required for formation in canon law.


In the first cycle, the compulsory subjects are the following: a) Elements of Philosophy: Philosophical Anthropology, Metaphysics, Ethics, b) Elements of Theology:  Introduction to Sacred Scripture; Fundamental Theology: Divine Revelation, its transmission and credibility; Trinitarian Theology, Christology; Treatise on Grace, Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology, both general and special; Fundamental Moral Theology and Special Moral Theology c) Canon Law d) Latin.


The courses can be followed at our University at the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology or the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences Mater Ecclesiae (ad hoc program for students of the first cycle of the Faculty of Canon Law). This does not exclude the possibility to attend other centers of study of equivalent status.

SECOND CYCLE: Students who have completed the first cycle or their philosophical and theological formation in a seminary or School of Theology, should note that the dean may decide that a candidate needs further knowledge of Latin and/or of the institutions of Canon Law.


All students will be invited to have an interview with the Dean in order to be accepted into the program and to decide on their study plan. Students who have completed the first year of the first cycle, and who have the permission of the Dean, may be allowed to register in the second cycle as “extraordinary”; (rather than “ordinary”) students. In this case, they will be entitled to follow the licence program while, at the same time, completing the required exams of the first cycle in theology and philosophy within a year. (Please consult the faculty for information on registration formalities).


The second cycle consists of a three-year course of study (six semesters) in which the entire Code of Canon Law is studied, as well as other pertinent legislation covering both ministerial and disciplinary Sources.


During this period, students are introduced to scientific work through practical research, particularly on the Sources. Moreover, students are required to follow at least one optional course and one seminar under the supervision of a professor of the faculty. The courses of the first year of this cycle are taught every year. Registration is only allowed in September as the academic year is so constructed as to provide elementary knowledge without which it is not possible to pursue further studies.

Regular attendance at courses and seminars is required.

In order to complete the second cycle, students have to present a written dissertation of between 50 and 100 pages length (please consult the Faculty for information on how to proceed). The second cycle ends with the De Universo Iure exam. This is an oral exam that lasts about 60 minutes It is not possible to take the final exam before all other academic conditions are fulfilled (please consult the Faculty for information on how to proceed).

THIRD CYCLE: Only those students who have successfully obtained the Licentiate degree with an overall minimum grade of 8.5/10 may register in the Third Cycle. The grade point average of the Licentiate is based on the exams and the seminars of the second cycle, the thesis and the De universo Iure Licence comprehensive exam. Potential students in the Third Cycle also have to prove their capability to carry out research and to produce a scientific piece of work. The Dean will decide, case by case, who is entitled to register in the third cycle. Students coming from other universities will have to provide all the documentation proving they have all the necessary academic requirements for admission. Once accepted, the student can register for the course (please consult the faculty for information on registration formalities).


During the first semester, students follow courses that go into more detail on specific questions. They will have to choose a subject and present it to the professor who will be their Moderator. The Moderator will help the student to prepare a paper of at least ten pages (thesis project), in which they will briefly explain their personal and scientific reasons for their choice of topic. This is the Status Quaestionis: i.e. the topic of the thesis, the methodology that will be adopted and the bibliography that will be used for the work.


The thesis project will be delivered to the Secretary of the Faculty along with the application form that has to be filled out and signed both by the student and by the Moderator. Then the thesis project should be presented to the Office of the Dean (please consult the Faculty for information on how to proceed).

Once approved, the thesis project will be valid for five years. If the student does not complete his/her thesis or the defense within this time limit, the work already produced will no longer be valid and the student will have to restart his or her project, or modify the previous one (please consult the Faculty for information on how to proceed).


In this case, the student will have only to pay the required fees and receive the PLACET of the Dean.


Once the thesis project is approved, the student will start writing his or her dissertation (please consult the Faculty for information on how to proceed).

At the completion of the writing of the thesis, in order to defend it the student needs to pay the exam fees, fill out the appropriate form and deposit it in the Faculty Secretariat. He must also present three copies of the doctoral thesis duly bound in compliance with the instructions of the Secretary General of the University. Within a week of filling out the form and the delivery of the thesis the date will be scheduled for the defence and duly communicated to all interested parties. It is obligatory that there be an interval period of one month from the filing of the form and the defence of the thesis.