Recognition of Ecclesiastical Academic Qualifications

Recognition of Ecclesiastical Academic Qualifications

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The Athenaeum awards ecclesiastical academic qualifications as laid down in the applicable pontifical laws. Pontifical academic qualifications are recognised all over Europe under the Lisbon Convention (11 April 1997). The Convention was ratified by the Italian State under law no. 148 (11 July 2002); the Vatican State also adhered to the Bologna Declaration (2003) for further European recognition of academic qualifications.

The Athenaeum is revising its post-graduate educational programmes in accordance with the Bologna Process to which the Holy See adhered in 2003, in order to award academic qualifications that are recognised throughout Europe.

The qualifications that the Holy See may certify (vidimazione) are those obtained after cycles of studies leading to Baccalaureate, Licentiate, and Doctorate Degrees.

The procedure for applying for recognition of ecclesiastical academic qualifications consists of the following steps:

  • submit an application to the General Registrar’s Office for obtaining a certificate specifying the entire curriculum of your academic studies, with the list of exams taken and marks assigned (certificato di Ottenimento Titolo), and your degree in original copy; .
  • submit an application for certification (vidimazione) of the above documents to:
  1. Congregazione per l’Educazione Cattolica (Congregation for Catholic Education) – Piazza Pio XII, 3, Rome – no. +39-06-69884167 – fax no. +39-06-69884172, together with the following documents:
  • ­the original copy of your degree on parchment paper and a photocopy of it;
  • the certificate of awarding of the degree (Ottenimento Titolo) with the exams taken;
  • only for deacons, priests, and religious: clearance (nulla osta) of the application for recognition of academic qualifications given by your Ordinary or religious Superior (an extra charge will be applied).
  1. Segreteria di Stato del Vaticano (Vatican Secretariat of State) Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, Vatican City, Rome – tel. no. +39-06-6988.3438 – fax no. +39-06-6988.5088, together with the original copies of your degree and of the certificates of exams taken for obtaining certification (autentica) of the relevant signatures.

For recognition in Italy

  • go to Ambasciata d’Italia presso la Santa Sede (Italian Embassy to the Holy See) – Viale delle Belle Arti, Rome – tel. no. +39-06-3264881, to obtain the vidimazione (certification) of your documents; arrange an appointment by calling the Cancelleria Consolare (consular clerk’s office), which is open from 09:30 to 12:30 Monday to Friday;
  • then go to Ufficio Legalizzazioni della Prefettura di Roma (legalisation office, provincial government, Rome) – Via Ostiense, 131 L/M – Staircase B – 2nd floor, Rome – tel. no. +39-06-67294633, to obtain the legalizzazione (legalisation) of your documents.

For recognition for civil purposes in Italy

  • Pontifical qualifications are valid for civil purposes under the Concordats, the legislation applicable in the various countries, and the special provisions of individual universities or university institutes.
  • In compliance with Italian legislation (art. 10,2, law no. 121 of 25 March 1985, published in  Supplemento ordinario alla Gazzetta Ufficiale no. 85 of 10 April 1985), the Italian State recognises academic degrees in theology and other ecclesiastical disciplines (jointly specified by the parties concerned) that are awarded by the Faculties approved by the Holy See.
  • Decree of the President of the Republic no. 175 of 2 February 1994 (Gazzetta Ufficiale no. 62 of 16 March 1994) provides for the recognition of ecclesiastical academic degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture.
  • Therefore, Baccalaureate and Licentiate Degrees in Theology (and all its specialisations, including Spirituality) and Sacred Scripture may be recognised for civil purposes.
  • To obtain recognition, please ask the General Registrar’s Office to issue the following documents (note that you will need one revenue stamp per document to be certified):
    • Certificato di Ottenimento Titolo (certificate of awarding of the degree) specifying 13 annual courses and 180 ECTS credits* for recognition of the Baccalaureate in Theology as a Bachelor’s Degree (Laurea);
    • ­Certificato di Ottenimento Titolo (certificate of awarding of the degree) specifying 20 annual courses and 120 ECTS credits* for recognition of the Licentiate in Theology as a Master’s Degree (Laurea Magistrale).

* If you obtained your academic degrees before the start of the Bologna Process (ECTS), and your credits were made compliant therewith and transcribed into the certificate, a statement of equivalence (dichiarazione di equipollenza) will be issued; this statement will specify that, during the five-year curriculum, you accrued 180 credits for the Baccalaureate and 120 credits for the Licentiate in the following two-year course.

  • Subsequently, you will have to submit an application on plain paper to Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca (Ministry of Education, Universities, and Research) – Piazza John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 20, Rome (EUR district) – tel. no. +39-06-59911. The application must be accompanied by the relevant supporting documents with all the above-mentioned certifications (for recognition in Italy). After seeking the approval of Consiglio Universitario Nazionale (national university council), the Ministry will recognise the degree/s.

For recognition abroad

  • After obtaining certification (vidimazione) of your degree from the Vatican Secretariat of State, go to the Embassy of your country to the Holy See or to the Apostolic Nunciature of your country.
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