Licentia Docendi (LD)

Licentia Docendi is a title that had its roots back in the medieval times. The term is Latin, and means “Permission to teach”. The level of this degree can be compared with a Doctor of Philosophy. LD is somewhat a little different from the standard academic degrees. Since traditionally Bachelor-, Master – and Doctor Degrees have been used to indicate academic rank within faculties. Licentia docendi in its essence is a license to give classes in a given topic. Historically the licentia were given by the Church on recommendation by a university to qualified people before the doctor degree were issued as a permission to teach the topic. Without it you did not have the permission to teach your profession.

Pope Alexander III

In 1170 Pope Alexander III made two polices of importance. One of them was about Licentia docendi. He stated that it was not permitted to charge people for the issuing of the Licenta docendi. Everybody that was qualified was supposed to get it for free. As a result the amount of schools and universities started to grow; following a huge discussion about study fee and people with Licentia docendi.


Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton (1150-1228) said that Idoneus (honest living) a word normally used in defining the qualifications necessary to obtain the license to teach in schools. Making the issuing an evaluation of the person as well as his academic level. At that time nobody could teach without this specific license. It is common to regard this license as the beginning of active control of the teaching organization by the papacy. Because with the Licentia docendi you become formally authorized to teach by yourself, but without it you could not teach. The people that were granted this permission had to make an Oath to fidelity not tell professional secrets and obedience before being granted the Licentia docendi.


Pope Gregory IX in 1227 issued a bull giving the rights to Abbots and Cannons of the abbey permission to license masters to teach within their jurisdiction. In modern times the difference between the two degree systems has faded. Some places the Licentia have been transformed to become a lower university degree as licenciatura – or Bachelor degree. The possible reason why the honorable Licentia docendi faded away might be seen in the light of Oxford – and Cambridge University in England. They did not have any bishop connected to their location, and thereby nobody to grant it. To be able to grant a Licentia docendi their theology professors had to go to other places to ask for it.


Making them stick to the normal university degrees and slowly fade away from time consuming issuing external granting of Licentia docendi. Universities in the world have modeled their traditions on the classical English university system, and thereby also possible forgotten this important degree. A doctorate is a degree qualifying the holder to teach the topic studied. The word doctorate comes from the Latin word “Docere” and means to teach. A doctor degree will mean a type of teaching degree. Licentia docendi is a combination of teach and the permission to teach.

At Chinpsy – we grant a Licentia Docendi degree. For us this is a terminal degree. Meaning, the person has reached the highest possible level within his field of study, and is both qualified to teach the topic and is authorized by Chinpsy to do so. The Degree title used are Licentia Docendi or the suffix LD after the name. For communication purposes you might explain this degree to be from the old education system on a post-graduate level.


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