«…today we are not only living in a time of changes but are experiencing a true epochal shift, marked by a wide-ranging “anthropological” and “environmental crisis”. Indeed, we daily see “signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation (…). In a word, this calls for “changing the models of global development” and “redefining our notion of progress”. Yet “the problem is that we still lack the culture necessary to confront this crisis…”»
Veritatis Gaudium, Proemio, 3
Culture of Unity
Licentiate Degree Course (Master’s Degree)
The Sophia University Institute renews its programme by focussing on an even more organic integration of knowledge and wisdom. The Degree in “Culture of Unity” intends to promote an inter- and trans-disciplinary education to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world, where it is essential to learn how to interrogate reality within research and work communities, to grasp the trajectories of change taking place and to act on them.
A first part of the course, common to all students, is reserved for a significant transdisciplinary itinerary with a historical structure, marked by the great questions of those who have inhabited and inhabit the planet today.
Within this framework, the overview of the “common home” encounters four specialisations in the following study programmes, of your choice:
The third part of the course involves interdisciplinary profile work in which students will co-construct workshops on topical issues, identified from year to year. This part is particularly aimed at developing the ’21st century skills’ that are increasingly in demand on the labour market.
Finally, the student will produce a thesis in which he/she will explore a specific topic in depth, demonstrate a qualified and original outlook and the ability to effectively communicate the results of the research.
The cosmos and history. A transdisciplinary pathway to the ‘common home’
This is the fundamental course that opens the experience of the degree in “Culture of Unity “. The basic framework, which has a historical-chronological structure and a transdisciplinary approach, proposes the treatment of some pivotal junctures in the history of the cosmos and humanity from the Big Bang to the present day, punctuated by thematic sessions in which several lecturers from different disciplines will collaborate in the classroom.
The course, which is common to all students, privileges the attitude of questioning rather than just seeking answers, using a methodology that emphasises the active contribution of the students. Some in-depth studies on the main cultures of humanity form an integral part of the course. Learning is supported by daily interaction between students and professors and between professors themselves.
- From the Big Bang to the formation of early human civilisations
- Israel and the Jesus event
- Church and Empire
- The Medieval Era
- World civilisations
- The Modern World
- The contemporary world
- Challenges of the 21st century
- Transdisciplinary conclusions
The transdisciplinary approach is inspired by what Veritatis Gaudium proposes to the Pontifical University system.
(Veritatis Gaudium, Proemio, 4c)
This entails offering, through the various programmes proposed by ecclesiastical studies, a variety of disciplines corresponding to the multifaceted richness of reality disclosed by the event of Revelation, yet harmoniously and dynamically converging in the unity of their transcendent source and their historical and metahistorical intentionality, which is eschatologically disclosed in Christ Jesus. In him, writes Saint Paul, “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). This theological, anthropological, existential and epistemic principle takes on particular significance and is called to manifest all its effectiveness within the system of ecclesiastical studies by ensuring cohesion together with flexibility, and organicity together with dynamism. It must also show its effectiveness in relation to the fragmented and often disintegrated panorama of contemporary university studies and to the pluralism – uncertain, conflicting and relativistic – of current beliefs and cultural options.
Today, as Benedict XVI noted in Caritas in Veritate, taking up the cultural insights expressed by Paul VI in Populorum Progressio, “there is a lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis”. This is where the specific mission entrusted to the programme of ecclesiastical studies comes into play. The need for such a guiding synthesis not only makes clear the intrinsic purpose of the programme of ecclesiastical studies, but also demonstrates, especially today, its real cultural and humanizing importance. Today’s recovery of an interdisciplinary approach is certainly positive and promising, even in its “weak” form as a simple multidisciplinary approach that favours a better understanding from several points of view of an object of study. It is all the more so in its “strong” form, as cross-disciplinary [transdisciplinarità in the original Italian], situating and stimulating all disciplines against the backdrop of the Light and Life offered by the Wisdom streaming from God’s Revelation.
The “Cosmos and History” course is intensive in nature and runs from October to December, for a total of 24 ECTS. Its syllabus characterises the entire Degree programme at Sophia, because it lays the foundations for a style of research and in-depth study that continues into specialised studies.
In the current horizon of knowledge, which is often fragmented and conflicting, the aim of the new offer is to integrate the possibilities of each individual discipline within an inter- and trans-disciplinary space, so that such a view enhances the capabilities of each student as he or she learns to analyse, process and argue specialised topics.
The course is also open to those with a limited time frame: in three months, they will be able to have a meaningful experience in the typically intercultural context of Sophia without necessarily continuing on to the Degree , with the recognition of the relevant course credits.
The articulation of the Licentiate Degree in four different specialisations draws its sense and its strength from the urgent questions posed by our time and proposes some areas in which students can explore their own future project, with creativity and responsibility.
The evolution of the labour market itself, in fact, demands not only strongly characterised professional knowledge and skills, but even more radically the ability to graft specialisation onto a broad reading of reality guided by a unified inspiration, so as to be able to interpret and direct the complexity of phenomena.
Workshops on contemporary issues for the development of 21st century skills
The Degree in “Culture of Unity” also offers three interdisciplinary workshops to address complex questions of the contemporary world. Along the way, they constitute the privileged place where teachers and students allow themselves to be challenged by certain questions of our time, studying and reflecting together.
The dynamic of the workshops (for a total of 24 ECTS) involves the presence in the classroom of three lecturers from different disciplines who interact with each other and with the group, offering insights, documents and research material, and specialised bibliographies. The students, for their part, are protagonists in the course that is developed through reading and dialogue, presenting personal insights or group work.
Particular attention is paid to research methodology and comparison with other study and life communities engaged in the same topics.
The themes of the three workshops will be selected from year to year. By way of example:
- Integral ecology and common goods,
- global citizenship and migration,
- democracy and technology,
- poverty and inequality,
- educating for non-violence,
- cultural and gender identity,
- the languages of art.
The Degree also provides a free choice of courses, acquired through participation in academic activities offered by the Institute – free lectures, seminars, specific courses offered from year to year or other qualifying external activities, internships.
Among the proposals, of particular interest is the course on some of the cornerstones of the experience and thought of Chiara Lubich, founder of Sophia.
At the end of the course, with the individual elaboration of an original work, students will have to demonstrate the acquisition of the competences indicated in the Sophia ‘European Qualifications Framework‘. The final assessment will make it possible to check whether each student who obtains the Degree is able:
- to articulate the fundamentals of a culture of unity in the specific subject area in which he/she chooses to engage, composing the knowledge and conceptual and communicative skills acquired in the search for a synthesising key;
- to configure one or more innovative solutions to interpret the anthropological, ethical, social or cultural questions emerging in society, for the improvement of the lives of individuals, groups and peoples in a critical and constructive dialogue with those who cooperate in the same objective.
How to act in the globalised economy of the 21st century in a way that makes it fairer and more sustainable? This specialisation intends to take this pressing challenge seriously, first and foremost in terms of ideas. And it raises the challenge for motivated students who want to commit themselves to understanding the complexity of phenomena – economic, social, political, cultural – in order to be agents of change, which is now more necessary than ever.
This requires acquiring sound economic and management skills and at the same time training to work as a team – students and teachers together. The goal is an idea of the common good that looks at the whole world while respecting its communities, that puts those who are socially weaker first, and that understands the centrality and urgency of the environmental issue.
The course is designed to prepare those who attend it to work with this perspective not only in the productive and commercial world, but also in public administrations and social enterprises.
Fundamentals of civil and sustainable economy
The economic and the human
Economics of social, civic and communion enterprises
Sustainability and strategy reports
Economy of decision and information
Comparative legal systems
In the contemporary scenario, politics plays a key role. Studying at Sophia means questioning the mainstream reference points of political thought and action in order to look at reality from a different perspective, that of unity. For this reason, studies in the specialised field integrate knowledge of history and law, international relations and economics, philosophy and political science, in the light of shared universal values.
We are convinced that today governance of society means governance with society. This calls for widespread, collaborative and polycentric organisational and decision-making models, both locally and internationally. Participation, subsidiarity, sustainable development, common goods and co-governance are the cornerstones of this vision guided by the principle of political fraternity, a reference point and measure of public action as well, which finds in Sophia a study centre of excellence.
The course trains qualified professionals and opens up wide-ranging job opportunities to strengthen cooperation, sustainability and justice in different regions and institutions.
Fraternity and politics: theoretical foundations and operational lines
Democratic transition, participation and deliberation
Political theories of the global society
Sociology of international relations
Comparative legal systems
Law of sustainable development
Multiculturalism and integration processes
History and geopolitics: the Atlantic world
Psychology and psychopathology of power
This specialisation offers a philosophical and theological specialisation, looking at Christian Revelation in dialogue with varied areas of thought. The encounter between philosophy and theology is further enriched in the perspective of Trinitarian ontology which, on the basis of a specific re-interpretation of the history of thought, in its various cultural expressions and disciplinary declinations, proposes a performative paradigm of relational interpretation of the person, of history, of the cosmos.
At work, among teachers and students, is also the attempt to recover an original sense of philosophy, a symphilosophein, a ‘doing philosophy together’, an essential condition for philosophy, which is in letter and spirit ‘love of knowledge’, to lead to ‘knowing how to love’. For us, the great cultures and other traditions of thought offer a further element of richness, which contributes to the flowering of the human in an international and intercultural environment full of stimuli and opportunities.
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of technology
Insight: The structure of human knowledge in B. Lonergan
Lineaments of Trinitarian ontology
God, Christ and Creation: unity and distinction in the theology of the first centuries
Biblical hermeneutics of Revelation
Lineaments of Biblical pneumatology
Lineaments of systematic pneumatology
How to deal with the pluralism that runs through our societies? How to contain tensions between differences and avoid a destructive polarisation between religious, ethnic and political identities? After the time of radical confrontation, what is the contribution of the great religious inspirations today? Along with walls and new dividing lines between people and peoples, we also see the growth of mutual interdependence and the awareness that we inhabit the same planet. We need each other.
Sophia introduces a specific subject area aimed at training specialists in intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, professionals in generative communication, mediators of peace processes, capable of declining the potential of encounter in contemporary scenarios.
The courses will explore the operational dimensions of speech and dialogue to constructively shape the everyday fabric of living together as well as complex social and cultural arrangements. With the aim of exploring the resources of peace, communication and mediation for peace-building and moving away from secular outcomes where difference has turned into inequality, diversity into discrimination.
Theor-ethics for a culture of dialogue
International relations, peace and religions
Sociology of religions
Pedagogy of meeting
Psychology of relationships
Fundamentals of communication
Licentiate (Master’s Degree) in Culture of Unity
Full time curriculum (120 ECTS, 4 semesters); with the possibility of following a shorter programme and obtaining a certificate.
Italian, level B1 (courses are held in Italian). Online courses to learn Italian begin in July.
On campus: Figline e Incisa Valdarno (Florence). For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PREPARATORY COURSES START DATE
18 September 2023
START OF FIRST SEMESTER
2 October 2023
Bachelor’s degree or qualification of an equivalent standard earned after a minimum of three years of study (180 ECTS or more) from a university or recognised higher education institution in a subject relevant to the Degree programme
Applicant selection based on interviews and evaluation of academic records (see vedi info section for how to apply).