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New Semester in Rome

It is hard to believe my first semester is already finished! That is ¼ of the way through for the two years of my Fellowship and the S.T.L. – and a good time for a general progress report!

I had hoped to return to grad school and maintain a perfect GPA, since my undergraduate and first round of grad school grades were moderately good, but not great.

(That’s the problem with being so involved in extracurricular activities, you tend to forget important details like deadlines! I calculated, near the end of my time at ND, that my cumulative GPA would have been .5 higher if I had just turned everything in on time!)

The Roman academic system grades on a 10-point scale, rather than a 4-point scale. According to our Order of Studies, they look like this:

  • 10-9.75 Summa Cum Laude (Highest Honors) = 3.9-4.0
  • 9.74-8.51 Magna Cum Laude (High Honors) = 3.4-3.89
  • 8.50-7.51 Cum Laude (Honors) = 3.0-3.39
  • 7.50-6.51 Bene (Good/Acceptable) = 2.6- 2.99
  • 6.50-6.00 Probatus (Probation) = 2.4-2.6
  • 6.00-0.00 Fail

Another difference between the Roman system and the American version that I am more used to, is that while the Roman system (at least at the Angelicum) tends to have less required reading and papers, your entire grade for a semester can depend on one 15-minute oral exam, or a single written in-class final.

There is a two-week break between classes when all the exams are supposed to take place, but with our Jerusalem seminar in the middle of that period, most of mine were done when the exam period started.

The second semester is already shaping up to include a bit more reading and more balanced variety of assignments. Here is the list of my courses for the rest of the year:

  • Acting Acts: Survey on the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement
  • Catholic Understanding of Interreligious Dialogue
  • Christ Beyond the Church
  • History of Aramaic Christianity
  • Methodology of Biblical Interpretation and its Significance for Jewish-Catholic Understanding
  • Ministry of the Ecumenical Officer
  • Philosophical Elements in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue
  • Reformation Theology in Context
  • Sacramental Character

So the perfect 10 I was aiming for? Missed it, with just one class – and I do not know what I got wrong on the final! Ah well, at least it leaves room for improvement! Other good news, is that when i met with the dean to register for the second semester, he pointed out that with the credit i have been given from my previous academic work and experience, i could finish the License early – i only have a couple seminars left, the thesis and comprehensive oral exam.

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