• Application Deadline
  • 24 months


The two-year programme 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.


  • 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, organised 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 recognised for its excellence in scholarship and teaching. This tradition continues today with a teaching staff made up of internationally recognised scholars.
  • The Faculty of Canon Law provides many opportunities to 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.


A key objective of the programme 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 programme.

Career perspectives

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 organisations. Others find employment as teachers in secondary schools, the seminary or the university.Successful graduates may also move on to the doctoral programme, where successful completion of specialised 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.

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

Specialisation Courses in Canon Law

  • Islamic Law
  • History of Canon Law - I & II
  • Organisation of the Church
  • The Law of Eastern Catholic Churches (CCEO)
  • Penal Law of the Church
  • Temporal Goods
  • Law of Religious Communities
  • Parish Law
  • Theology of Canon Law
  • Process Law of the Church
  • Sanctifying Office of the Church
  • Rights and Obligations of Christian Faithful
  • Marriage Law of the Church: Special Questions
  • Teaching Office of the Church
  • Reading of Latin Canonical Texts

Mgr. Onclin Chair Lectures

Capita Selecta: Current Issues

Electives in Law or Religion

  • For students who have obtained a Bachelor of Theology
  • For other students: electives in theology or religious studies


  • Seminar Praxis Iudicialis et Administrativa
  • Praxis Iudicialis et Administrativa

Research Paper

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

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


Students meet both requirements:

  • Bachelor (Master) of Theology and Religious Studies (or dutch equivalent diploma) OR certificate for completion of training for the priesthood (major seminary)
  • Master of Society, Law and Religion (or dutch equivalent diploma)

After admission procedure

Students meet both requirements:

  • Requirements for the first cycle in canon law as mentioned in the Apostolic Constitution 'Sapientia Christiana' (1979) modified by the decree 'Novo Codice' (2002).
  • Master of Society, Law and Religion (or dutch equivalent degree) at the KU Leuven.

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 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    938 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 938 EUR per year and a duration of 24 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.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

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.

Canon Law (Iuris Canonici Licentiatus)
Visit programme website

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