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Vatican City (Holy See)


Santo Sede (The Holy See), Stato della Citta del Vaticano, informally known as Vatican City, is a landlocked enclave in Rome, Italy and is the world's smallest state. The population is 824. Italian, Latin, and French are widely-spoken.

For almost 1,000 years, the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church controlled areas of Italy called Papal States until they were seized by the new Kingdom of Italy in the mid-19th century. As a result of the 3 Lateran Treaties signed on February 11, 1929, the independent state of Vatican City was established. The Treaties also granted the Holy See authority over 23 sites in Rome and 5 sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo.


Post-Secondary Education

Education in the Holy See is limited to post-secondary studies focusing on theology (especially Catholicism), psychology, religion, philosophy, Canon law, and social science. Programs are divided into 3 cycles. Italian and Latin are the languages of instruction. Currently, the Holy See's Congregazione per l’Educazione Cattolica della Santa Sede oversees the state's education system.

First Cycle

Admission to the 1st cycle requires completion of secondary school. Some programs have additional requirements, such as sufficient studies in philosophy and language. The 1st cycle is 3 years and leads to the Baccalaureato or Baccellierato. Some institutions award a Diploma after successful submission of a 30-page paper following a Baccalaureato or Baccellierato (Baccalaureate).

Second Cycle

The 2nd cycle is 2 years and requires a Baccalaureato or a Baccellierato for admission. Upon completion, students are awarded a Licenza or Laurea Specialistica.

Third Cycle

Third cycle studies are 2-3 years of coursework or research. Upon successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Dottorato.



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