Degree recognition

All the information for students who intend to follow our courses of study and wonder whether the degrees obtained at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum are also recognised in civil society.

Degrees obtained at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum

Academic degrees obtained at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum can be civilly recognised by following the instructions of the relevant ministerial educational body after obtaining all the necessary documents.


The Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum is a canonically erected higher educational institution approved by the Apostolic See with the right to confer academic degrees by authority of the Holy See. As a result of the decrees of the Congregation for Catholic Education (now the Dicastery for Culture and Education), the faculties of Theology, Philosophy and Bioethics were established within the university with the right to confer the academic degrees of Baccalaureate, Degree and Doctorate. Connected to the Faculty of Theology, the School of Religious Sciences was canonically erected, where the corresponding Baccalaureate and Degree cycles take place.

The academic degrees conferred by the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum follow the didactic regulations established and recognised by the pontifical education system. The Holy See acceded to the European treaties concerning the European Higher Education Area and the Bologna Process (2003). It has also made special agreements on the recognition of studies with some European and non-European states, either directly or through local bishops’ conferences. As a result of these agreements, pontifical titles are recognised throughout Europe according to theĀ Lisbon ConventionĀ (11 April 1997), ratified by the Italian State with Law no. 148 (11 July 2002).

In order to apply for civil recognition of qualifications in an educational institution that is not among those approved by the Holy See, most states require a priorĀ endorsementĀ of the documents, i.e. the affixing of stamps attesting to their authenticity by the Dicastery for Culture and Education and the Vatican Secretariat of State. This step is necessary because the Holy See is not a party to the Hague Convention. Therefore, it is not possible to affix Hague Apostilles on documents by the University.

The procedure to be followed to request the authentication of documents at the Holy See:

  • Requesting the documents you wish to endorse from the General Secretariat (more information is available atĀ Requesting certificates and diplomas).
  • Request for endorsement of documents at:

– The Department for Culture and Education – P.zza Pio XII n. 3 – tel. 06.69.884.167 – fax 06.69.884.172. For the degree to be recognised, it must at least be endorsed (as mentioned, this varies from state to state) and bear:

    1. the original copy of the Diploma on parchment and a photocopy;
    2. the Certificate of Qualification (containing the examinations taken).

Ā – The Vatican Secretariat of State – (Vatican Apostolic Palace). Vatican City – tel. 06.6988.3438 – fax 06.6988.5088, providing the original Diploma and certificate of examinations to have the signatures authenticated

Documents that can beĀ endorsedĀ at the Holy See are only those related to obtaining the academic Baccalaureates, Degrees and Doctorates.

The University offers an endorsement service for its students upon request.

According toĀ Presidential Decree no. 63 of 27 May 2019Ā (OJ.pdf), to date the Italian state ensures the civil recognition of the pontifical academic BaccalaureatesĀ andĀ Degrees, respectively asĀ LaureaĀ andĀ Laurea magistrale, in the following disciplines:Ā Theology,Ā Sacred Scripture,Ā Canon Law,Ā Liturgy,Ā Spirituality,Ā MissiologyĀ andĀ Religious Sciences.

The aforementioned decree updates Article 10.2 of Law no. 121 of 25 March 1985Ā and theĀ Decree of the President of the Republic, 2 February 1994, no. 175.

To proceed with civil recognition in Italy, the interested party must first request the following certificates from the General Secretariat:

  • Diploma and Certificate of Achievement with declaration of the 13 years of teaching and 180 ECTS* for recognition of theĀ BaccalaureateĀ as a ā€˜Laurea’.
  • Diploma and Certificate of Achievement with declaration of 20 years of teaching and 120 ECTS* for recognition of theĀ DegreeĀ as a ā€˜Laura Magistrale’.

* For those who obtained their academic qualifications before the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) came into force at the University, upon request it will be possible to obtain a declaration of equivalence as an attachment to the certificate stating that the five-year curriculum has fulfilled the 180 credits required for the Baccalaureate and the subsequent two-year specialisation (Degree) has fulfilled the 120 credits for the Degree.

For legalisation by the Italian state, instructions on this page must be followed:Ā 

Below is the process for legalisation by the Italian state currently known to us:

  • Book the legalisation service atĀ https://prenotami.esteri.itĀ on behalf of the title holder.
    • Reservation by proxy:
      • If you intend to delegate a third person for the process, the appointment must always be made in the name of the title holder.
      • The proxy shall be responsible for submitting the original copy of the proxy on plain paper and a photocopy of the delegating party’s ID.
      • If the proxy represents several people, they will have to make an appointment for each delegating party. The service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis at the embassy.
  • At the same time as the legalisation of the qualification, if requested by other Italian public administrations, the correspondingĀ Declaration of Value may also be issued. In this case, in addition to the original title, it will be necessary to present theĀ Diploma Supplement certificate, which has also already been legalised by the two Vatican bodies (Holy See)
  • On the day of the appointment, the person must attend with an identification document and an original copy of their qualification. The Italian Embassy at the Holy See is located in Viale delle Belle Arti. Rome – tel. 06.3264881
  • For the costs and payment method of legalisation and declaration of value services, seeĀ

Finally, an application must be submitted on plain paper, together with all the documents and endorsements indicated above, to theĀ Ministry of Education, University and ResearchĀ – Equivalence Office – Via Michele Carcani, 61. Rome – Tel. 06 9772.6090.

The Masterā€™s Diploma in Religious Sciences (four-year degree) is not among the degrees subject to recognition by the Italian State. However, it is valid for carrying out teaching activities according to theĀ decree by the President of the Republic on 20 August 2012 (no. 175)

After obtaining the endorsement at theĀ Vatican Secretariat of State, it is necessary to go to your country’s embassy at the Holy See,Ā or to theĀ Apostolic Nunciature in that country,Ā for the corresponding endorsements. Finally, you must follow the instructions of the ministerial educational body from which you wish to apply for recognition of your qualification.

The person responsible for initiating and continuing the process of civil recognition of titles is the person who obtained the title. Therefore, the person concerned must proceed in accordance with the rules issued by the entity where they wish to recognise their title (for example, for Italy this body is the Ministry of Universities and Research; for Mexico it is theĀ SecretarĆ­a de EducaciĆ³n PĆŗblica).

During this process, the University limits itself to the issuing of certificates and parchment diplomas relating to the courses of study it offers. Information on the certificates and diplomas awarded can be found on this page: Request for certificates and diplomas.

WARNING: this page is purely informal in nature and is intended to offer some useful information on the civil recognition of pontifical titles. Since this information may vary without prior notice been given to the individual universities, and differs depending on the educational system of origin requesting the recognition of studies, the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or actual updating of the information contained herein.


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