Examinations & Grading

Our Academic programme is the one for which affiliation to the Salesian Pontifical University Rome has been granted

Normally examinations are conducted at the end of each semester. The examination may be oral or written as decided upon by the lecturer in understanding with the Dean of Studies.

The duration of written examinations will depend on the credits of the course, but it will not exceed three-hours duration in any case. The oral examinations, instead, when conducted, may vary from a minimum of 8 minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes each student at the discretion of the lecturer.

In every subject the marks allotted are out of 100 (see below the Grade Rate). A minimum of 50 marks is required for a pass mark in any subject.

Term Papers and Other Written Assignments

In the course of the semester, students may be expected to write term papers or written assignments. Term papers are scientific papers 8-12 pages long, with bibliography, footnotes, and in which the specific methodology of the Institute is supposed to be respected. In this case, since they require a specific ability and reveal a fundamental competence to acquire for a student in philosophy in view of the writing of the long essay, the course will be considered completed only at the condition that each part (term paper and exam) is passed. Therefore, in case of failure of any of the two parts, or of both, the failed part or parts must be repeated. Only two subjects per semester according to the decision of the Dean of studies can request for scientific papers, with the exception of the second semester of the third year, when no term paper is requested.

Other kinds of papers that don’t require a special research and therefore work, are instead left to the decision of the lecturers, though in agreement with the Dean of studies, in order to avoid the overburdening of the students, which would remove time for the study of the subjects.

Each course may also present written tests or continuous assessments. Written tests can be no more than two per course and can cover up meaningful parts of the programmes. They may serve to lessen the burden of the student at the final exam. But in this case, each of the written tests must have been passed in order to meet the requirement for passing the whole course. Instead, the continuous assessments are meant to encourage the student to study and understand step by step. Their evaluation can simply integrate the main one.

In case of term papers, every subject allocates the 30% of its mark for them. In case of internal and continuous assessment tests, their total mark cannot pass the 30% of the final mark. Finally, in case of written tests that serve to cover up part of the programme, the percentage of their score will depend on the percentage of the programme covered up.

Examinations Sessions and Failures

There are two regular sessions for examinations (end of January-beginning of February and June), while other two sessions are available for resit examinations (end of October-beginning of November and March). If a student fails in an examination, he must resit the same in any of the other sessions.

The student will have only two possibilities to rewrite a failed term paper or resit a failed examination. He must pay a fee of N 2,000 and N 1,000 respectively, or of the amount necessary to cover up all the expenses to be given to the lecturer, if the number of students does not cover up the expenses. After two failed attempts, the course will be considered a carry over, and it will be repeated in a following academic year.

In case a student at the end of any academic year fails more than four courses, he is to attend again all the failed courses before going ahead to the next academic year if he wants to continue schooling at Don Bosco Institute of Philosophy. Otherwise, he can decide to leave forever. The payments due will be those of the basic yearly academic fees (140,000 N), paid according to the fixed instalments.

Grade Rate

Failure                  49 or below                                                                 (F)       Failure

Pass                            50 – 54            Probatus                                         (E)      Pass

III Class                    55 –59             Probatus                                         (D)      Pass

II Class, Lower      60 – 69            Bene Probatus                               (C)      Good

II Class, Upper       70 – 79            Cum Laude Probatus                   (B)      Very Good

I Class                       80 – 94            Magna Cum Laude Probatus     (A)      Excellent

I Class                     95 – 100           Summa Cum Laude Probatus   (A)      Excellent

2.7. Final Examination and Graduation

Long Essay/Project Writing

Within the second semester of second year, the student should submit a proposed topic to the Dean of Studies for approval. The Dean of Studies together with the academic staff goes through the proposals and gives suggestions and approval. If there are no serious problems that could hinder the progress of the Long essay, the student may commence immediately. The student must have passed all the previous courses in philosophy and other related disciplines. The Dean of Studies shall then allot a supervisor or supervisors to the student. The Long essay is to be written under the supervision of a staff member. It should be geared towards the study of a major philosopher, school or movement of philosophy, or problem in philosophy. Changes in the approved project must be accepted by the Dean of Studies. Towards the end of the second semester, the student, after the approval of the supervisor, defends the project before a board of two examiners appointed by the Dean of Studies.

The defence of the Long essay will last for thirty minutes, of which eight minutes only are given to the student to present the abstract of the Long essay previously written. For the defence, the supervisor of the student will be present together with the examiner appointed by the Dean of Studies to examine the student. The supervisor and the examiner are requested not to take more than about ten minutes each.

The Long essay shall not be less than 35 pages and no more than 50 pages (according to the approved format by the Institute). They must be in three paper copies and 1 software copy (1 single file in PDF). Of the three paper copies, 1 must be in hard cover (for the archives of the Institute), 2 in soft cover (for the supervisors). They must be submitted to the Dean of Studies before four weeks to the beginning of the second semester examination (4th of May 2020). The purpose for this deadline is to allow the students not to still spend time and energy when the comprehensive examination is approaching. It will also help the supervisors and examiners to have time to read and evaluate the long essay. The student will be evaluated on the merit of the paper, methodology, the regularity of the work, discussions with the guide, etc.

Comprehensive Examination

Because of the special significance and importance, we generally attach to it, the Comprehensive examination needs to be given particular attention. The Comprehensive examination is not a mere repetition of the usual exams held at the end of each semester. It has a different scope, as the name ‘comprehensive’ implies. It is an examination of the whole programme of philosophy in its principal parts for the purpose of assessing the student’s intellectual maturity at the end of the curriculum, and of helping him/her to formulate a simple but solid personal synthesis of philosophical knowledge. The themes and the regulations for the Comprehensive examination, which have been approved by UPS, are presented at the end of this handbook. A student can sit for the comprehensive examination only after he has fulfilled the following conditions: (1) he has passed in all subjects and (2) he has submitted the Long Essay.

What if a student does not graduate?

A student may not graduate for two reasons:

(1) for academic reasons, whereby the student has not passed all his examinations (no more than four in any case, for which the student needs to attend again the failed courses) or his long essay has not been approved by his supervisor;

(2) for disciplinary reasons, whereby the student has been charged with one of the following: examination malpractice, plagiarism, or other serious disciplinary faults (see below 3. Code of Conduct).

For the second kind of reasons the student is definitively expelled and there is no possibility of completing the curriculum at Don Bosco Institute. The student can get the transcript of the passed examinations provided he has completed the payment of all the fees.

Nevertheless, in case he has not graduated for academic reasons and intends to complete his curriculum, his official enrolment is extended by another academic year and a new yearly ID card is issued.

He will be allowed to sit for those examinations (or even to attend anew the courses he is still in need to complete). In case a student makes use of the special sessions for resit examinations, he will have to pay according to the rules for resit examinations.

Nevertheless, the student that does not complete the academic requirements at the end of the three years, will be allowed to graduate only within two academic years from the end of the regular curriculum. In each academic year he adds, he will have to pay the basic yearly academic fees (140,000 N).