Pontifical universities

Pontifical universities are "academic institutes 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 the Christian revelation and related disciplines, and the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel, as proclaimed in the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana."[1]

Pontifical universities follow a European system of degrees in the sacred faculties, granting the baccalaureate, the licentiate, and the 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 attorneys must be at least licentiates of canon law (J.C.L.).

Quality and Ranking

Compared to secular or Catholic 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." [2][3]

Current international quality ranking services do not have a quality ranking category that reflects the unique nature and mission of Pontifical universities, nor do their methodologies take into account this unique nature and mission in a way that reflects their educational quality. Since 19 September 2003 the Holy See has taken 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". The Holy See’s Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO) was established on 19 September 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI "to promote and develop a culture of quality within the academic institutions that depend directly on the Holy See and ensure they possess internationally valid quality criteria." [3]

List of pontifical universities

Annuario Pontificio>









Dominican Republic


  • Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito






  • St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Maynooth ; Pontifical University charter 1896
  • Clonliffe College, Dublin ; A number of other institutions in the past would have awarded degrees Angelicum University such as Clonliffe College and other seminaries in Ireland.


Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)




  • Pontifical University of Mexico, Mexico City




  • Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Asuncion




  • Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon

Puerto Rico


United States


Former pontifical universities


See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.