Master of Canon Law (Iuris Canonici Licentiatus) (Leuven)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This program deepens and broadens the knowledge acquired in the Master of Arts in Society, Law and Religion program.

What is the program all about?

The two-year program focuses on the study of canon law and provides an introduction into the law of other religions (comparative law) and the study of capita selecta. The skills obtained will be applied during the internship and improved through personal research. This general experience will be reflected in a research paper.

Assets: universally applied law, international environment, subsidized education, distant learning

The law of the Roman Catholic Church is universally applied. As a consequence, the Faculty of Canon Law calls on professors with an international reputation and annually invites a wide range of international guest professors. The concentrated teaching weeks, organized once every semester, are an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with visiting professors and exchange information on issues that transcend national borders.

In addition, the faculty has a large number of international students, including students from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, and several African countries. This international orientation provides a broad perspective on the canonical issues discussed in class.

For nearly 600 years, the Faculty of Canon Law at KU Leuven has been recognized for its excellence in scholarship and teaching. This tradition continues today with a teaching staff made up of internationally recognized scholars.

The Faculty of Canon Law provides many opportunities for students wishing to combine study and work. Distance learning - combined with mandatory participation in the concentrated teaching weeks - is offered for students unable to live and study full-time in Leuven. 

The faculty's small scale creates a strong sense of community among students and creates the opportunity for students to meet personally with visiting professors from all over the world.

Is this the right program for me?

Students in the Master of Canon Law programme:

  • Are fascinated by the law of the Roman Catholic Church and are familiar with its faith, organization, and mission.
  • Seek to study in an international environment drawing students from all over the world.
  • Their mission is to serve the People of God as a judge, a promotor of justice or an advocate in an ecclesiastical tribunal, or as chancellor, judicial vicar or expert in canon law in the diocesan Curia.
  • Success in this master's program leads to the canonical degree 'Iuris Canonici Licentiatus' (JCL), having preliminarily completed a course of study in theology.


A key objective of the program is to study the seven books in the Code of Canon Law (CIC/83) in-depth. Students also receive training in the various disciplines indicated in the apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium decree issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education. Knowledge of secular law will be improved. Research skills will be further developed and stimulated: students get acquainted with the process of conducting academic research on an advanced level, are able to develop an extensive research proposal, find all relevant sources and describe the state-of-the-art on a specific topic. The obtained knowledge and skills will be integrated while studying concrete cases, writing a thesis and participating in the internship. Students with promising results will be stimulated and prepared for the doctoral program.

Career opportunities

Graduates have been appointed as judges, promotors of justice and advocates in ecclesiastical tribunals. They have also been called to serve as chancellors, judicial vicars or experts in canon law in the diocesan Curia or in Catholic organizations. Others find employment as teachers in secondary schools, the seminary or the university. Successful graduates may also move on to the doctoral program, where successful completion of specialized study leads to the degree of Doctor of Canon Law and the canonical degree of Iuris Canonici Doctor (JCD). These degrees bring with them the opportunity to serve the People of God as a canon lawyer.

Start your career, during your studies

During your bachelor's and master's program you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, or starting your own business.

The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business, KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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