Master Degree in Bioethics

Master Degree in Bioethics


  1. The second session, or License, lasts 2 years (4 semesters), and is geared toward allowing an in-depth analysis and specialization in several themes and spheres of Bioethics.
  2. Admission to the second session is reserved for students with a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in Bioethics or in a field related to one of the following: health and life sciences, philosophy, theology, law. The Deacon, who will analyze past studies and goals reached, both through appropriate documentation and an exam, will carefully evaluate any other case.
  3. Courses for the License will be held either (a) weekly, over a semester, or (b) intensively, during intensive weeks in each semester. During intensive weeks, weekly courses will stop.
  4. Students attending weekly courses must have a sufficient knowledge of Italian. If unable to prove their knowledge, students must undergo an exam at the start of the academic calendar. Students who lack knowledge of Italian will be enrolled in an Italian language course offered by the Department during the first semester. In the case of foreign students exclusively attending the intensive courses, knowledge of Italian is advantageous, but not strictly mandatory.
  5. The curriculum of the second session is composed of a minimum of 120 ECTS. Every student of the second session must attend all common courses, and include electives in order to satisfy the credit requirement. Students must pass the exam for every course attended.
  6. To take the exam of a course, students need to have attended at least two thirds of the lessons for that course.
  7. Every student must write a License thesis under the supervision of a faculty member (or, upon receiving authorization from the Deacon, of a member from a different faculty). The thesis must follow rules established by the University, and be 50-100 pages long. After having received the thesis registration form from the Department Administration Office, freshmen students must receive approval from their supervising professor and hand in their thesis by the predetermined deadline. Department Administration Office will hand students a receipt. Sophomore students must hand in three bound copies of their thesis and the digital file of the text to the Department Administration Office at least two months before the session in which they plan on completing their last exams. Vacation days are not included in these periods.
  8. Final exams

In order to obtain the title at the end of the session, students must pass two summary exams (one written, one oral), an oral exam on the texts, and defend their thesis.

Only students who have passed every exam in the License and who have handed in their thesis at least two months before the session during which they plan on taking the final exams, will be admitted to the final, summary exams.

Exam on texts. When students believe they are ready, they will be able to take the exam on two significant works of Bioethics, chosen from a Department list. During the dates shown in the general calendar, students must hand in a form that lists the title of their chosen texts to the Department Administration Office. 

Written summary exam. Students must study and analyze a series of “Summary Themes” suggested by the Department. The final written exam consists of one or more essays, the topics of which the Department will release only strictly before the exam. Students must prove their ability to summarize and their critical thinking through this exam.

Oral summary exam. The content of the oral written exam covers all the themes listed in the “Tesario di Licenza”. Students will sustain the oral exam in front of a panel of two professors, who will each question students for fifteen minutes on the topics listed.

Public Thesis Defense. The defense will last twenty minutes. It will take place in front of a panel of three professors: a president, the thesis supervisor and an auditor.

Educational objectives

The License can be obtained by students who:

  • have acquired Bioethics-specific knowledge;
  • have proven their ability to understand the contents of the curriculum in an interdisciplinary, organic way;
  • have proven their ability to identify bioethical issues in their chosen field of focus;
  • have shown their ability to identify the different aspects (as stated in the first session, 1) of these issues;
  • have demonstrated skills of offering opinions on and proposing solutions to these issues in ways that are in agreement with the teachings of the Church;
  • have proven capabilities of scientifically communicating themes (information, ideas, problems and solutions) pertinent to their field of focus in Bioethics;
  • have good English comprehension;
  • have acquired the necessary skills to teach, conduct research, and consult on bioethics, as well as membership to several institutions;
  • are able to continue onto the third session.
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