It has always seemed impractical and unrealistic to me that apprentices aren't bound by the Code, and more importantly that they're not protected by the Code. The work-around that apprentices are considered "magical property" is not credible; magi would not want to assume full liability for their apprentice's misdeeds and certainly would not want to risk being Marched if their apprentice makes a serious mistake. Neither would they want an enemy who slays their apprentice to get away with a slap on the wrist. A sensible Order would treat apprentices as people, second-class citizens to be sure, but they should have rights and should be able to bear witness at Tribunal if necessary.
There is also a strong in-game motivation for apprentices to learn Parma Magica right away. It allows the apprentice to study without a penalty imposed by the master's Gift. A skilled master could always extend his own Parma over his apprentice but there are two problems with this approach. First, doing so considerably weakens the master's Magic Resistance. Second, it fails to provide the apprentice with meaningful protection.
The Apprentice's Oath is similar to the Hermetic Oath in most cases. Here is the gist of it:
- I will not deprive nor attempt to deprive another member of the Order of his power (same as Hermetic Oath)
- I will not slay or attempt to slay another member of the Order, except my master's opponent in Wizard's War, or his opponent's apprentice (apprentices may not declare war themselves)
- I will obey my master in all things (replaces obedience to the Tribunal)
- I will not endanger the Order through my actions (same as Hermetic Oath)
- I will not use magic to scry on members of the Order (same as Hermetic Oath)
- I will not teach magic until I am declared a full member of the Order