• Application Deadline
  • 12 months
The Master of Society, Law and Religion was started in response to the growing salience of the interaction of society, law and religion in our multi-religious and yet highly secularised global world. The programme 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 programme 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 the law of other christian communities, and includes classes in Islamic law. 

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.


  • enrichting environment
  • condensed teaching
  • internationally renowned staff

Students who chose to follow the programme on-site in Leuven benefit from the university's enriching environment as well the resources of the faculties of Canon Law, Law and Theology and Religious Studies. 

"Concentrated teaching weeks" are organised once every semester and are an excellent opportunity to build a community of international experts while getting acquainted with international visiting professors.

The programme provides an interdisciplinary education and its teaching staff are drawn from law, social sciences and religious studies.


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.

With the apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium, new opportunities were created for people who are open for a more condensed training in canon law. In the future they will be able to take on certain tasks for the ecclesiastical courts.

Questions about student life in Belgium, life at KU Leuven or more information about a specific course? Chat with our students: www.kuleuven/be/chatwithourstudents.

Programme Structure

Compulsory Courses

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

Specialisation Courses

Option Preparation to Master of Canon Law

  • Compulsory Course Latin
  • Specialisation Courses in Canon Law

Option Society, Law and Religion

  • Church, Law and Society
  • Religion and Society
  • Religion, Ethics and Society
  • Religion, Law and Society
  • Meta-reflection on Religion and Society

Capita Selecta: Current Issues

Master's Thesis

  • Seminar: Methodology and Resources for Research
  • Master's Thesis: 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

English Language Requirements

  • 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 iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®

Academic Requirements

  • This programme does not recognise GRE® scores.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General 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.
For more information on the admission requirements, please visit the homepage of the programme.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    938 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 938 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    938 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 938 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



  • 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

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Society, Law and Religion
Visit programme website

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


Did you know you can compare your wishlisted programmes with our new Comparison tool?