Academic Norms of the Doctorate


1) Admission to the Doctorate

Students who in the overall evaluation of the Licentiate in Theology of Marriage and the Family or in Sciences on Marriage and the Family and in the thesis have not reached the qualification of magna cum laude, are normally not admitted to the Doctorate.

In addition to their own language, Latin and obviously Italian, students must know at least two modern languages, one among the neolatines, the other German or English, so that they understand well the subject read.


2) Order of Studies

In accordance with the Institute’s two areas of specialisation, the Doctorate in Theology of Marriage and the Family and in Science of Marriage and the Family stands out. The Doctorate is mainly devoted to the elaboration of the dissertation and lasts three years. In the first year of the course of study (cursus ad doctoratum), the Latin language course and two optional courses are compulsory, and special courses or exercises may also be arranged that are deemed necessary or appropriate to perfect the training required for scientific research with regard to the preparation of the doctoral dissertation. If, in the opinion of the President of the Pontifical Institute, the training of students who have obtained a degree in another Faculty or Institute is insufficient, it must be completed with courses chosen by the President.


3) Structure of the Doctorate

1st semester

  • Methodology of scientific research – (6 ECTS)
  • Course characterizing the doctorate – (6 ECTS)
  • Optional course 1 – (3 ECTS)
  • Seminar 1 – (1.5 ECTS)
  • Optional Course 2 – (3 ECTS)
  • Seminar 2 – (1.5 ECTS)

2nd semester

  • Optional course 3 – (3 ECTS)
  • Seminar 3 – (1.5 ECTS)
  • Optional course 4 – (3 ECTS)
  • Seminar 4 – (1.5 ECTS)
  • Foreign Language 3 – (1 ECTS)
  • Latin – (3 ECTS)


4) Achievement of the academic degree

In the course of the Doctorate the calculation for the final qualification is as follows: 10% compulsory and optional courses of the Cursus ad doctoratum; 15% defense of the dissertation; 75% written dissertation.

The student will be awarded the title of Doctor of Sciences on Marriage and Family, after the thesis has been published in print in at least twenty five copies, to be deposited at the Secretariat of the Institute, with the permission of the two teachers who submitted the thesis to the Section Council, to be granted only if it has been corrected according to the indications given.

The title “Pontificium Institutum Theologicum Joannes Paulus II pro Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia apud Pontificiam Universitatem Lateranensem” must appear on the Diploma of the Academic Degree.


5) Doctorate Procedures (Approved ad experimentum by the Consiglio della Sede Centrale)

  1. The student who intends to obtain a Doctorate must apply for approval of his or her thesis theme – accompanied by a presentation of the relevant bibliography – with an application to the President, through the Secretariat of the Institute, combining a presentation by a Professor of the Institute certifying the student’s suitability and a detailed presentation of the research project.
  2. A Doctoral Thesis Evaluation Committee, composed of the President, the Vice President and the Director of Studies, examines the proposal, consulting the professors whose teaching is related to the topic of the the thesis.
  3. In case of a positive outcome of the evaluation, the President proposes to the Consiglio della Sede Centrale the approval of the the thesis project and, at the same time, the Council appoints two Supervisors in addition to the Mentor who presented the student.
  4. Once the the thesis has been written, the President establishes a pre-discussion session in which the student must present his/her work to the three Supervisors.
  5. During the pre-discussion session, the Supervisors must assess – with a written report sent to the President- whether the thesis is admissible for public discussion or whether corrections and additions are necessary.
  6. If corrections and additions are necessary, the student must re-submit the thesis to the three Supervisors for subsequent verification.
  7. When the Supervisors announce that the thesis can be defended publicly, the President appoint the Commission formed by the President or his delegate, the three Supervisors and another Professor.
  8. One of the three Supervisors and a member of the Public Defence Commission may also be lecturers from other academic centres, if the topic of the thesis makes it useful.


Tel: (+39) 06 698 95 536