1. The second-cycle or Licentiate Course in Bioethics, which lasts two years (four semesters), enables students to gain a greater understanding of and specialize in the different subject areas of this discipline.
  2. To attend this course, you must have gained a first-cycle (or equivalent) degree in bioethics or in one of the following disciplines: life and health sciences; philosophy; theology; and law. The Dean of the Faculty will carefully assess all applications, both by examining documents giving evidence of prior studies completed and goals achieved and by administering an entrance exam.
  3. Licentiate courses may be: a) weekly, in each semester; or b) intensive, i.e. during intensive weeks in each semester. During the intensive weeks, weekly courses are suspended.
  4. If you wish to attend weekly courses, you must demonstrate that you have adequate knowledge of the Italian language. Otherwise, you will be required to take an Italian language exam at the start of the academic year. If your knowledge of the Italian language is not adequate, you will have to attend the Italian language course offered by the Faculty during the first semester. If you are a foreign student and only attend intensive courses, knowledge of the Italian language is desirable but not compulsory.
  5. The second-cycle curriculum involves a minimum number of 120 ECTS credits. You must attend all the common courses and some of the optional courses, in order to reach the required number of credits, and pass the related exams.
  6. To take an exam, you must have regularly attended at least two-thirds of lectures.
  7. You will also be required to prepare a Licentiate thesis under the guidance of one of the teachers of your Faculty (or of another Faculty, after obtaining an appropriate authorization from the Dean of your Faculty). Under the rules established by our Athenaeum, your thesis must have a length of 50-100 pages. In your first academic year, you must obtain the thesis registration form from the Faculty Registrar’s Office, have your thesis approved by the teacher that you selected as your advisor, and deliver it within the set deadline. The Faculty Registrar’s Office will give you a receipt. In your second academic year, you will have to deliver your thesis to the Faculty Registrar’s Office at least two months before the session in which you plan to take your final exams. The thesis must be delivered in three bound copies and in electronic format. The above-mentioned periods do not include holidays.

  8. Final exams

To gain your degree at the end of the cycle, you will be required to pass two (written and oral) final exams, an oral exam on texts, and to defend your Licentiate thesis.

You will be admitted to the final exams only if you have passed all the exams required by the Licentiate curriculum and if you have handed in your thesis at least two months before the session in which you plan to take your end-of-cycle exams.

Exam on texts –  you will have to take an exam on two significant texts of bioethics, selected from those proposed by the Faculty. Please submit the form with the titles of your selected texts to the Faculty Registrar’s Office on the dates specified in the general calendar.

Written final exam –  you will have to study and improve your knowledge of a number of final-exam topics (Temi di Sintesi) proposed by the Faculty. In your written final exam, you will be required to deal with one or more of those topics, selected by the Faculty upon the exam. During the exam, you will have to prove your synthesizing and critical thinking skills.

Oral final exam – this exam will cover all the topics proposed in the list of thesis topics (Tesario di Licenza). You will be examined for fifteen minutes by a board consisting of two teachers.

Public defense of the Licentiate thesis – you will have to publicly present and defend your thesis for twenty minutes before a board consisting of three teachers: the chairperson, the thesis supervisor, and a reviewer.

Learning Objectives

The second-cycle degree is awarded to students who:

  • have acquired knowledge of the specialist contents of bioethics;
  • have proven their ability to understand the above contents in a structured and interdisciplinary way;
  • have proven their ability to identify the bioethical issues associated with their specialty;
  • have proven their ability to identify the various aspects (see the first cycle, 1) of these issues;
  • have proven their ability to provide reasoned opinions on/solutions to these issues, in line with the teachings of the Church;
  • have proven their ability to scientifically communicate the topics (data, ideas, problems, and solutions) associated with their bioethical specialty;
  • have acquired a good understanding of the English language;
  • have acquired the qualifications required for academic teaching, research, and counseling in bioethics, and for working in various types of institutions;
  • qualify for the third cycle.



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