Society, Law and Religion, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • English (schedule IELTS)
The Master of Society, Law and Religion at KU Leuven provides a unique introduction to the strategic area of society, law and religion and brings you in contact with outstanding international experts in the field.


The Society, Law and Religion  programme at KU Leuven aims at enabling students to gain a solid and critical knowledge on key issues such as the place of religion in the public sphere, the debate on secularism, the role of the State vis-à-vis religion, church and relationships, human rights and religion, European and international law and religion, and domestic and international politics of religious freedom. Taught at the Faculty of Canon Law, the programme is particularly sensitive to the autonomy of religions, religious self-government, and religious laws.

While all students receive a basic training in the law of the Roman Catholic Church, the programme embraces all religions and faith communities, and includes classes in Jewish, Islamic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant law. African and Asian religions and customs are also investigated, as far as their relation to law and society is concerned.

The programme can be taken as a self-standing programme or as a gateway to the Master of Canon Law. This initial master's program can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. In order to facilitate students wishing combine education with employment or social engagement, the programme allows for distance learning and spreading of examinations. The large choice of subjects from different faculties enables students to tailor their educational experience, to their interests, needs and projects.


Main goal of the programme is to develop the acquired basic skills in the Bachelor of Law, the Bachelor of Theology or another programme in view of a specialized exploration of the area 'Society, Law and Religion'. The student obtains a basic knowledge on the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church and the other christian churches. He gets acquainted with legal sources and obtains the required skills to interpret the rules incorporated in the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC). The student is initiated in the complex interaction between social structures and secular law on one side, and the legal structures of the Church at the other side. Research, consultancy and communication skills as well as other social elements are stimulated. The student is able to develop a sound research strategy, and to present an accurate synthesis of existing knowledge and a well-argued personal and critical reflection. He is able to present a well-considered research question, to develop a research plan, and to select relevant sources. Those who selected optional courses in canon law are allowed to start in the programme 'Master of Canon Law'.

Career perspectives

Religion is increasingly acknowledged as a crucial factor in areas such as politics and the economy, social and corporate management, culture, employment, education, health care, international cooperation, and conflict resolution.

Candidates for positions in these areas, in the private or public sector, as well as those already employed, will benefit from gaining a topical knowledge in the field.

Graduates can further develop their education at the Faculty of Canon Law through by moving on to the Master in Canon Law or the doctoral programme in Society, Law and Religion.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Basic Concepts of Canon Law
  • General Norms of Canon Law
  • Law and Religion
  • Marriage Law of the Church
  • Onclin Chair Lectures - Master of Society, Law and Religion


        The Master of Society, Law and Religion suits students who are genuinely interested in the interaction of society, law and religion and who are willing to engage critically with the issues at stake. Any background in the area of law, social sciences and religious studies is fit for the purpose, provided that the student is ready to cope with the various methodologies and languages.

        Detailed Programme Facts

        • Programme intensity Full-time
          • Full-time duration 12 months
        • Credits
          60 ECTS
        • Languages
          • English
        • Delivery mode
          On Campus

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        English Language Requirements

        You only need to take one of these language tests:

        • Minimum required score:


          The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

          Schedule IELTS
        • Minimum required score:


          The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

        • Minimum required score:


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        Academic Requirements

        • Academic bachelor or master
        • Certificate for completion of training for the priesthood (major seminary)
        • To be admitted applicants have to prove a satisfactory level of proficiency in English.

        Tuition Fee

        • International Applies to you

          906 EUR/year
          Tuition Fee
          Based on the original amount of 906 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
        • EU/EEA Applies to you

          906 EUR/year
          Tuition Fee
          Based on the original amount of 906 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
        We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

        Living costs for Leuven

        • 810 - 1280 EUR/month
          Living Costs

        The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


        Scholarship and funding opportunities



        • Central bilateral agreements - Grants for Phd students and staff
        • FWO Research Funding
        • DBOF - PhD Scholarships
        • F+ - Fellowships for incoming postdocs
        • AXA Research Fund

        NON - EU


        • Coimbra group Scholarships programme for young researchers and professors from Latin America
        • Coimbra Group Hospitality Scheme (Ukraine and Balkans)
        • Coimbra Group scholarships Programme for Young Researchers from European Neighbouring Countries
        • Coimbra Group scholarships Programme for Young African researchers
        • Erasmus Mundus Partnerships
        • FWO Research Funding
        • Doctoral Scholarships in the framework of the Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation

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