The Portuguese Catholic University (Universidade Católica Portuguesa - UCP) was established in 1967 by decree of the Holy See, at the request of the Portuguese Bishops' conference and under Concordat Law. The Portuguese government's official recognition of UCP occurred in 1971, through decree-law 307/71, which acknowledged the Portuguese Catholic University as on a par with the other Portuguese universities and conferred on the degrees it grants - presently ?licentiate?, master and doctor, - the same value and the same effects as those awarded by State universities. The creation of the University, the fulfilment of a 40-year dream of the Portuguese Church, constitutes a milestone in modern higher education in Portugal: for the first time the State was not directly involved in and responsible for a university. Nowadays, and following the general trend in Portugal and abroad, Portuguese Catholic University enjoys a large degree of autonomy in the creation and running of new campuses, schools and courses. Taking advantage of this fact, it has been a pioneer in some respects of university development in Portugal, either with regard to areas of knowledge not previously taught (e.g. business administration and management, food engineering, etc.) or to the regional dispersion of campuses.