NEW: Flyer of the new edition of the Master (2020-2022)


General Presentation

This initiative is a response to the invitation of the Holy Father John Paul II in the Encyclical Evangelium vitae, where he spoke of the urgency of a great strategy in favor of human life, of a great cultural change, that would promote a “culture of life.” In front of the enormous positive possibilities of science in favor of life, but also the threats to life from science, this is an attempt to “permeate all cultures and give them life from within”. This includes the medical, juridical, philosophical, and pedagogical cultures in order that they express the whole truth concerning human being and his or her life. The Pontifical Theological Institute for the Sciences on Marriage and the Family and the Institute of Bioethics and Medical Humanties of the Catholic University could not ignore this pressing invitation of the Pope. This is an invitation to a rigorous academic and interdisciplinary formation, inserting the most hotly debated questions in a context of the most fundamental anthropological, ethical, and dogmatic concepts. Brief isolated responses and partial solutions for particular cases are not enough. It is necessary to maintain a gaze open to the complete truth concerning man, which has been revealed to us in Christ. This is where one can find the novelty of the program, the Master’s in Bioethics and Education, and the fecundity of the collaboration between our two Institutes.

The decades long experience of the Institute of Bioethics and Medical Humanties at the Catholic University , both extremely rich and pioneering in , in contact with the most burning questions regarding medicine and international dialogue, has been combined with the contribution of our Institute for the Family. This contribution consists of a dedication of almost thirty years, to a rigorous foundation, at the anthropological level, of the truth about man and about woman, about love, about marriage and the family. In the light of Christian Revelation and with the help of the various human sciences, this foundation seeks to respond to the questions regarding human life, from conception until natural death, from sickness to healing, which have their frame of reference inside the family. “The family, a community of life and of love founded upon matrimony, is the sanctuary of life: the place in which life-the gift of God, can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth” (Evangelium vitae, n. 92). For this reason, the role of the family can not be substituted in the construction of a culture of life.

More information at:

FLYER of the Master’s in Bioethics


Program location

Because of the present COVID emergency, all courses of the first year of the Master will be distance-learning.

During the second year, the courses will be held at the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute and at the Institute of Bioethics of the Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, according to a specific schedule.


General Norms

1. The program lasts two years and takes place in an intensive form. The first year, because of the presentpandemic emergency situation, will be structured in thirteen sessions of lessons each lasting two days (Thursday-Friday), through the distance learning mode (DAD), using the Blackboard platform of the Catholic University; the second year will hopefully be structured in eleven sessions (always Thursday-Friday) of lessons and exercises, through a “mixed” teaching mode (lessons simultaneously in presence and distance). The Master also includes an on-line part of
individual study and work, which will be prepared on the Blackboard platform and on which appropriate training will be provided at the beginning of the course. At the end of the Master’s course there will be a final which consists of the drafting and public discussion of a written essay.

2. Attendance is mandatory (attested to by the student’s signature) and can not be less than 80% of the classroom hours.

3. Those who possess a University academic degree in Medicine and Surgery, Pharmaceutics, Theology, Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Pedagogy, and similar fields may request admission to the Master’s. In order to earn a civilly recognized, secondary level Master’s in Bioethics and Formation (“Master di secondo livello”, according to the Italian denomination), the candidate must possess a specialized university degree.

4. Admission to the program is conditional upon passing an aptitude exam and, for international students, an Italian language exam. A letter of presentation from one’s ecclesiastical superior is requested from the priests, religious, and the seminarians. The laity must present a letter from their parish priest.

5. The typed request to participate at the Master’s must be addressed to: Pontificio Istituto Teologico Giovanni Paolo II – P.zza S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4 – 00184 Roma, Vatican State City. This request must arrive by 15 December and must indicate: general personal information, academic title, address, telephone number, and an e-mail address to which all communication will be sent. A picture and a curriculum vitae, indicating the interest of the candidate in Bioethics, must be also be attached. It is possible that the candidates will be called for an interview, whose finality is to know the motivation of the candidate and his or her aptitude for this type of program.

6. The registration process includes consigning the necessary documentation to the secretariat (3 passport-style photos, original high school diploma, registration form, degree). International students will be asked for a permit to stay and information concerning their lodgings in Rome. Payment of tuition must also be verified (a single payment of 2,800 euro for both academic years).

7. The secretariat will automatically renew student registration for the second year.

8. To register as a “guest” student:

• Request using the form furnished by the secretariat
• Document of identification, both the original and a photocopy (identity card for EU members; passport for all other countries)
• Letter of presentation from one’s ecclesiastical superior for the priests, religious, and seminarians. The laity must present a letter from their parish priest
• Receipt showing tuition has been paid (150 euro for each course)
• 2 passport-style photos
• For international students: a permit of stay, both the original and a photocopy

9. The deadline for completing studies of the biennium 2020/2021 – 2021/2022 is the extraordinary session for the theses in February 2023. When this deadline has been passed, it will be impossible to defend one’s thesis and earn the degree.

Norms for Earning the Master’s in Bioethics and Education

In order to earn the title of Master’s in Bioethics and Education, the student must attend no less than 80% of the classes, pass all exams, complete the online courses, and demonstrate an elementary knowledge of at least one of the following languages (excluding one’s native language and of a different family): English, French, German, Spanish. This knowledge is demonstrated by documentation or by passing a test at the John Paul II Theological Institute (given at the request of the interested student): this test consists in the reading and immediate translation of a text.

The student must compose a thesis of no less than 30 and no more than 50 pages, accompanied by a bibliography, on an argument proposed by the candidate by the end of classes the second year. The argument must be presented (outline of thesis) using the module furnished by the secretariat and must be approved by the Directors of the Program. This thesis must be consigned, in 3 regularly formatted copies, under the terms provided by the form of the “nulla osta”. This form, signed by the Reader, will be submitted for the approval of the Directors of the Program and discussed before a Commission of Professors during the sessions indicated by the calendar. The two-year program will conclude with a public discussion of the thesis before the Commission.

The final grade (expressed in thirtieths) will be calculated using the following formula:
– The average of the courses: 50%
– The dissertation: 50%
When there are decimals, grades inferior to 0.5 are rounded down; grades equal to or superior to 0.5 are rounded up.


Further Information
Pontificio Istituto “Giovanni Paolo II”
Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4
000120 Città del Vaticano

Tel. (+39) 06 698 95 535
Fax (+39) 06 698 86 103