Licentiate degrees vary widely in their meaning, and in a few countries are doctoral level qualifications. Sweden awards the licentiate degree as a two-year qualification at doctoral level and the doctoral degree (PhD) as a four-year qualification.  Sweden originally abolished the Licentiate in 1969 but reintroduced it in response to demands from business.  Finland also has a two-year doctoral level licentiate degree, similar to Sweden's.  Outside of Scandinavia, the licentiate is normally a lower level qualification. In Belgium, the licentiate was the basic university degree prior to the Bologna Process and was approximately equivalent to a bachelor's degree,   while in France and other countries it is the bachelor's-level qualification in the Bologna process.  In the Pontifical system, the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) is equivalent to an advanced master's degree, or the post-master's coursework required in preparation for a doctorate (. similar in level to the Swedish/Finnish licentiate degree), while other licences (such as the Licence in Canon Law) are at the level of master's degrees. 
There were similar developments in many other continental European universities, and at least until reforms in the early 21st century many European countries (. Belgium, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries) had in all faculties triple degree structures of bachelor (or candidate) − licentiate − doctor as opposed to bachelor − master − doctor; the meaning of the different degrees varied a lot from country to country however. To this day this is also still the case for the pontifical degrees in theology and canon law: for instance, in Sacred theology the degrees are Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB), Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL), and Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD), and in Canon law : Bachelor of Canon Law (JCB), Licentiate of Canon Law (JCL), and Doctor of Canon Law (JCD).