Licentia Docendi, a Latin term that means “Permission to Teach,” has its roots in medieval times. This title is comparable to a Doctor of Philosophy degree and is slightly different from traditional academic degrees. While Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees indicate academic rank within faculties, Licentia Docendi is a license to teach a specific topic. Historically, the Church granted Licentia Docendi to qualified individuals before issuing Doctorate degrees as permission to teach the topic.
In 1170, Pope Alexander III made two important policies, one of which was related to Licentia Docendi. He declared that it was not permissible to charge people for issuing the license. As a result, the number of schools and universities increased, leading to discussions about study fees and people with Licentia Docendi.
Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton (1150-1228) defined the qualifications necessary to obtain the license to teach in schools as “Idoneus,” meaning an honest living. This made the issuing process an evaluation of the person’s academic level and qualifications. At that time, nobody could teach without this specific license. It is commonly regarded as the beginning of active control of the teaching organization by the papacy. People who were granted this permission had to take an oath of fidelity, not reveal professional secrets, and show obedience before being granted the Licentia Docendi.
In 1227, Pope Gregory IX issued a bull granting Abbots and Cannons of the abbey permission to license masters to teach within their jurisdiction. Today, the difference between the two degree systems has faded. In some places, Licentia Docendi has been transformed into a lower university degree, such as Licenciatura or Bachelor’s degree.
At Chinpsy, we grant a Licentia Docendi degree, which is a terminal degree. This means that the person has reached the highest possible level within their field of study, is qualified to teach the topic, and is authorized by Chinpsy to do so. The degree title used is Licentia Docendi or the suffix LD after the name. For communication purposes, it can be explained that this degree is from the old education system at a post-graduate level.
It is worth noting that the Licentia Docendi has gradually faded away, particularly in modern universities modeled after the classical English university system. Doctorate degrees are now the standard for qualifying someone to teach the topic they have studied, with the word “doctorate” coming from the Latin word “Docere,” meaning “to teach.” Licentia Docendi combines “teach” and “permission to teach.”