general information

The Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) is a recognized Higher Education Institution of the Holy See and it has the right to award academic degrees under the authority of the same Holy See which is a full member of the Bologna Process/European Higher Education Area since 19 September 2003.
The programs of study of the PISAI follow the qualifications framework of the Holy See ( and are regularly evaluated by AVEPRO*, which gained full membership in ENQA* 2014.

* AVEPRO Holy See’s Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (
* ENQA European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (

academic degrees

1. Licentiate in Arabic and Islamic Studies (Bologna Second cycle - EQF* level 7): awarded at the end of the 2nd Year of Licentiate studies.

2. Doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies (Bologna Third cycle - EQF* level 8): requires a minimum of three years to complete.

* EQF: European Qualifications Framework

Certificates and diplomas

In addition to the academic degrees awarded by authority of the Holy See, the PISAI confers the following titles and diplomas by its own authority, after obtaining the nulla osta from the Dicastery for Culture and Education:

1. Certificate in Christian-Islamic Relations: awarded after completion of the courses  in Christian-Islamic-Relations (12 ECTS) of the Introductory Year and the 1st Year of the Licentiate.

2. Certificate in Islamic Studies (Level I): awarded after completion of 18 ECTS of the courses in Islamic Studies (18 ECTS) of the Introductory Year*.

3. Certificate in Islamic Studies (Level II): awarded after completion of the courses in Islamic Studies (18 ECTS) of the 1st Year of the Licentiate*.

4. Introductory Certificate in Classical Arabic: awarded after completion of the programme (33 ECTS).

5. Intermediate Certificate in Classical Arabic: awarded after completion of the programme (29 ECTS).

6. Diploma of Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies: awarded at the end of the Introductory Year (60 ECTS).

7. Diploma of Arabic and Islamic Studies: awarded at the end of the 1st year of the Licentiate (60 ECTS).

*With the agreement of the Director of Studies, students may include courses taken at other academic institutions in their programme of studies.



Registration must be completed before the beginning of the academic year by all students and for each year of study. Exceptions to this rule may be considered occasionally for individuals on receipt of a written request from the candidate. The Licentiate programme must be completed within a maximum period of seven years after first registering for courses.

Requirements for registration
• registration form (available from the Secretary)
• 2 recent passport photos
• photocopy of a valid identity document and of Italian tax code (codice fiscale)
• certification of academic qualifications already obtained*
• certification of Italian language (for non-native speakers)
• letter of introduction from an ecclesiastical authority (clerics and religious, from their ecclesiastical superior; lay persons, from their Parish priestor another ecclesiastical authority indicated by the Dean of Studies)

* Photocopies will be accepted only if they are certified or accompanied by the original document

We recommend pre-registration by downloading the appropriate form.

Categories of students

• regular: those seeking to receive the academic qualifications of Licentiate, Doctorate or Diploma of Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies
• special: those following one or a number of courses and presenting themselves for the corresponding exams, with the possibility of requesting the credits/ETCS for those courses and receiving the Certificates in Islamic Studies
• auditing students: those who enrol for individual courses or seminars and, without taking exams, are entitled to a certificate of attendance.

Registration in other faculties
Regular students may enrol as regular students in another faculty, providing there is no clash with courses at PISAI, attendance at which is obligatory.


A. Full time tuition
Introductory Year                                      € 3000
1st Year Licentiate                                    € 3000
2nd Year Licentiate                                   € 3000

B. Part time tuition (Islamic Studies)
Islamic Studies – Level 1                          € 1000
Islamic Studies – Level 2                          € 1000
Islamic Studies – Level 3                          € 2000

C. Part time tuition (Arabic Language)
Basic Level € 2000,00
Intermediate Level € 1450,00

D. Part time tuition (Christian-Islamic Relations)
Certificate € 840,00

E. Single courses (Islamic Studies / Christian-Islamic Relations)
Obtaining credits € 70,00 each ECTS
Auditing students € 35,00 each ECTS

F. Pending thesis defence*                        € 1000
* This annual fee must be paid by students of the Licentiate cycle who, having completed all the required courses and exams, must defend their Licentiate thesis at a date after the completion of the final examinations.

G. Doctorate
Presentation of topic                                  € 500
Annual registration                                     € 1000
Presentation of thesis                                € 500
Defence                                                        € 500

Licentiate                                                      € 100 (22% VAT inclusive)
Doctorate                                                      € 250 (22% VAT inclusive)

Candidates intending to register as regular students in the Licentiate programme must have completed the Baccalaureate in Theology or an equivalent qualification (Bologna First cycle, EQF level 6)
For the normal running of the programme of studies, whether in the Arabic language or in Islamic Studies, students should have prior knowledge in the following areas:

• A good or very good knowledge (Level C1/C2) of one of these two languages: English and Italian.
• A basic/fair knowledge (Level A2/B1) of the other language, at a level which enables students to follow lessons without too much effort.

This basic requirement, especially regarding Italian, is in line with the requirements of the Pontifical Roman Universities. Although knowledge of French is not a mandatory requirement, it will be highly considered in view of admission.

The PISAI can recognize courses taken in other Institutions of Higher Education as long as they are comparable in content and length to courses offered by PISAI. Students applying for credit must present adequate evidence to support their application. Prior knowledge of Arabic language is to be verified by an examination taken at PISAI.



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