Required Courses/ Credit Hours

To be eligible for the J.D. degree a student must earn at least 84 semester hours of credit. Students in the Law School are required to take the entire first year curriculum (29 semester hours). Following the first year, the three credit course in Professional Responsibility and one “skills” course are required. There are also upper level writing requirements, which, as noted below may be partially satisfied by the licentiate thesis required for the JCL degree. Most students, however, elect to take a number of core or “staple” courses during their second and third years in Law school. To earn the JCL degree, students must take 21 required courses, Latin, and 2 electives.
[Note that the School of Canon Law requirements are identified by courses and the Law School’s by credit hours.]
JCL candidates must also prepare a licentiate thesis and pass a comprehensive examination. During the first two years of the program, students must spend one year as a full-time law student and one as a full-time student in the JCL program.

Combined Credits

For the dual degree program, the School of Canon Law would recognize two courses taken in the Law School as fulfilling the requirement of two electives. The total number of required JCL courses could be further reduced by taking specific courses in the Law School rather than the School of Canon Law [provided that the Law School chooses to offer one of or more of these in a given semester]:

[1] Comparative European Legal History: Roman Law and the Ius commune could fulfill CL 701 History of Canon Law,
[2a] First Amendment Seminar: Religious Liberty or [2b] The Law of Church / State Relations could fulfill CL 716 Religious Liberty,
[3a] Sources of Christian Jurisprudence or [3b] Jurisprudence: A History of the Idea of Law could fulfill CL 727 Philosophy and Theology of Law;

With approval both of the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs of the Law School and the Dean of the School of Canon Law, and provided its subject matter concerns Church – State relationships, the licentiate dissertation required for the J.C.L. degree could also partially fulfill the upper-class writing required by the Law School for graduation. Students seeking the JCL degree must also pass an oral examination on the ius vigens and fulfill language requirements, including Latin and one modern language other than English.

The Law School will accept 12 credits for work completed in the School of Canon Law. Thus Dual Degree students can complete their JD degree with one semester’s worth of credit earned in the School of Canon Law. Under the requirements of the Law School’s accrediting body, the American Bar Association, such acceptance requires that the student have matriculated into the Law School before the courses were taken. Given the complexity of completing courses required by both Schools, priority in registration may be given as appropriate to dual degree students.

During semesters when students are taking courses in both the Law School and the School of Canon Law, tuition will be determined in the usual University manner for joint or dual degree candidates. It is possible for full-time students to complete the necessary course work for both degrees in five years. A typical schedule for a student enrolled in the dual-degree program is attached.

Other Requirements

Dual degree students must satisfy all general requirements of both schools to remain in good standing. Degree requirements are subject to change. In addition, law students must meet the relevant residency requirements. Since this is not a joint degree program, the degrees may be earned sequentially; students need not complete the work for each degree before either is awarded.