Pontifical university

Last updated

A pontifical university is an ecclesiastical university established or approved directly by the Holy See, composed of three main ecclesiastical faculties (Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law) and at least one other faculty. These academic institutes deal specifically with Christian revelation and related disciplines, and the Church's mission of spreading the Gospel, as proclaimed in the apostolic constitution Sapientiachristiana. [1] As of 2018, they are governed by the apostolic constitution Veritatis gaudium issued by Pope Francis on 8 December 2017.


Quality and ranking

Pontifical universities follow a European system of study hour calculation, granting the baccalaureate, the licentiate, and the ecclesiastical doctorate. These ecclesiastical degrees are prerequisites to certain offices in the Roman Catholic Church, especially considering that bishop candidates are selected mainly from priests who are doctors of sacred theology (S.T.D.) or canon law (J.C.D.) and that ecclesiastical judges and canon lawyers must have at least the Licentiate of Canon Law (J.C.L.).[ citation needed ]

Pontifical colleges and universities are generally nondenominational, in that they accept anyone regardless of academic merit, religion or denominational affiliation, race or ethnicity, nationality, or civil status, provided the admission or enrollment requirements and legal documents are submitted, and the campus regulations are obeyed. However, some faculties or degrees and disciplines may be for Catholics only, and non-Catholics, whether Christian or not, may be exempted from participating in otherwise required campus activities, particularly those of a religious nature.[ citation needed ]

In 2003 the Holy See took part in the Bologna Process, a series of meetings and agreements between European states designed to foster comparable quality standards in higher education, and in the "Bologna Follow-up Group". Pope Benedict XVI established the Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO), an attempt to promote and develop a culture of quality within the ecclesiastical institutions and enable them to aim in developing internationally valid quality criteria. [2]

Compared to secular universities, which are academic institutions for the study and teaching of a broad range of disciplines, ecclesiastical or pontifical universities are "usually composed of three principal ecclesiastical faculties, theology, philosophy, and canon law, and at least one other faculty. A pontifical university specifically addresses Christian revelation and disciplines correlative to the evangelical mission of the Church as set out in the apostolic constitution Sapientia christiana". [3] [2]

List of pontifical universities









Dominican Republic







Can grant pontifical degrees.


(Pontifical Institutes and Faculties are listed in the Ecclesiastical Universities article, while here are the Pontifical Universities and Atheneum.)

Ivory Coast












Puerto Rico

Spain [6]


United Kingdom

United States


Former pontifical universities

Pontifical faculties

Ecclesiastical faculties

Pontifical colleges

A number of national Roman Colleges designated as Pontifical Colleges serve primarily as residence halls for seminarians sent by the bishops of a particular country to study there, such as the Belgian Pontifical College. It may also provide housing for priests pursuing advanced degrees. Students may take classes at the Gregorian, the Angelicum or other universities in Rome. In addition, other members of the clergy may reside there when in Rome.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pontifical Gregorian University</span> Pontifical university located in Rome, Italy

The Pontifical Gregorian University is a higher education ecclesiastical school located in Rome, Italy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catholic higher education</span> Type of university affiliated with the Catholic Church

Catholic higher education includes universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher education privately run by the Catholic Church, typically by religious institutes. Those tied to the Holy See are specifically called pontifical universities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Patrick's College, Maynooth</span> Catholic college and pontifical university in County Kildare, Ireland

St Patrick's Pontifical University, Maynooth, is the "National Seminary for Ireland", and a pontifical university, located in the town of Maynooth, 24 km (15 mi) from Dublin, Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Congregation for Catholic Education</span> Former dicastery of the Roman Curia

The Congregation for Catholic Education was the pontifical congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for: universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or non-ecclesiastical dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas</span> Pontifical university located in the center of Rome, Italy

The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (PUST), also known as the Angelicum in honor of its patron the Doctor Angelicus Thomas Aquinas, is a pontifical university located in the historic center of Rome, Italy. The Angelicum is administered by the Dominican Order and is the order's central locus of Thomist theology and philosophy.

The Doctor of Sacred Theology, also sometimes known as Professor of Sacred Theology, is the final theological degree in the pontifical university system of the Roman Catholic Church, being the ecclesiastical equivalent of the academic Doctor of Theology (ThD) degree.

Doctor of Canon Law is the doctoral-level terminal degree in the studies of canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. It can also be an honorary degree awarded by Anglican colleges. It may also be abbreviated ICD or dr.iur.can., ICDr, DCL, DCnl, DDC, or DCanL. A doctor of both laws is a JUD or UJD.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina</span> Private university in Argentina

The Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, also known as Catholic University of Argentina (Spanish: Universidad Católica Argentina, is a private university in Argentina with campuses in the cities of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Rosario, Paraná, Mendoza and Pergamino. The main campus is located in Puerto Madero, a modern neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange</span> French theologian

Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange nicknamed as The Sacred Monster of Thomism was a French philosopher, theologian and Dominican friar. He has been noted as a leading neo-Thomist of the 20th century, along with Édouard Hugon and Martin Grabmann. He taught at the Dominican Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome from 1909 to 1959. There he wrote his magnum opus, The Three Ages of the Interior Life in 1938.

The Dominican House of Studies is a Catholic institution in Washington, DC, housing both the Priory of the Immaculate Conception, a community of the Province of St. Joseph of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), and the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, an ecclesiastical faculty of theology.

Licentiate of Canon Law is the title of an advanced graduate degree with canonical effects in the Roman Catholic Church offered by pontifical universities and ecclesiastical faculties of canon law. Licentiate is the title of a person who holds an academic degree called a licence. The licentiate of canon law is the ordinary way for forming future canonists, according to Veritatis gaudium.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antonieto Cabajog</span>

Antonieto Dumagan Cabajog, often known as Bishop Yiet or Monsignor Yiet, is a Filipino Roman Catholic bishop from Bohol, Philippines, as of 2012 bishop of the Diocese of Surigao.

John C. Vidmar, O.P. is an associate professor of history at Providence College, Rhode Island where he also serves as provincial archivist and teaches history. Prior to his work at Providence, he served as associate professor, academic dean, acting president and prior teaching history for 15 years at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington D.C.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Colleges</span>

The Roman Colleges, also referred to as the Pontifical Colleges in Rome, are institutions established and maintained in Rome for the education of future ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic Church. Traditionally many were for students of a particular nationality. The colleges are halls of residence in which the students follow the usual seminary exercises of piety, study in private, and review the subjects treated in class. In some colleges there are special courses of instruction but the regular courses in philosophy and theology are given in a few large central institutions, such as Pontifical Urbaniana University, the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Lateran University, and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum.

Wilfrid John Harrington is an Irish Dominican priest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the University of Santo Tomas</span> Aspect of history surrounding the University of Santo Tomas

The University of Santo Tomas is one of the oldest existing universities and holds the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and in Asia. It was founded on April 28, 1611, by the third Archbishop of Manila, Miguel de Benavides, together with Frs. Domingo de Nieva and Bernardo de Santa Catalina. It was originally conceived as a school to prepare young men for the priesthood. Located Intramuros, it was first called Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario and later renamed Colegio de Santo Tomás in memory of Dominican theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas. In 1624, the Colegio was authorized to confer academic degrees in theology, philosophy and arts. On November 20, 1645 Pope Innocent X elevated the college to the rank of a university and in 1680 it was placed under royal patronage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Servais-Théodore Pinckaers</span>

Servais-Théodore Pinckaers O.P. was a noted moral theologian, Roman Catholic priest, and member of the Dominican Order. He has been especially influential in the renewal of a theological and Christological approach to Christian virtue ethics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pontifical universities in Rome</span>

A pontifical university is a Catholic university established by and directly under the authority of the Holy See. It is licensed to grant academic degrees in sacred faculties, the most important of which are theology, canon law, and philosophy. Pontifical universities follow a European system of degrees in the sacred faculties, granting the baccalaureate, the licentiate, and the doctorate.

An ecclesiastical university is a special type of higher education school recognised by the Canon law of the Catholic Church. It is one of two types of universities recognised, the other type being the Catholic university. Every single ecclesiastical university is a pontifical university, while only a few Catholic universities are pontifical.

The John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue is an academic center that serves to build bridges between religious traditions, particularly between Catholic Christian and Jewish pastoral and academic leaders. The Center is a partnership between the Russell Berrie Foundation and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). It operates as part of the Section for Ecumenism and Dialogue in the Theology Faculty of the Angelicum in Rome.


  1. "AVEPRO". avepro.va. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  2. 1 2 Agenzia della Santa Sede per la Valutazione e la Promozione della Qualità delle Università e Facoltà Ecclesiastiche (AVEPRO), http://www.avepro.va/ Archived 8 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 1 November. 2012
  3. "Sapientia Christiana (April 15, 1979) | John Paul II". www.vatican.va. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  4. PUC-Rio
  5. Pontifical University St. Patrick's College Maynooth
  6. Voice:Europe/Spain
  7. "Mater Ecclesiae College – Ecclesiastical Faculties at St Mary's University".
  8. Denmark ruled Lund till the Great Northern War; Andrina Stiles (1992), Sweden and the Baltic, 1523–1721, London: Hodder & Stoughton.
  9. Pontifical Status, CUA
  10. Offers the S.T.B., according to "Gradi accademici" (in Italian). Lugano, Switzerland: Faculty of Theology. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  11. [Loyola School of Theology http://lst.edu/about-us/vision-a-mission]
  12. School of Canon law, CUA