The course of studies is divided into six semesters (A-B-C-D-E-F). Semester A is a prerequisite for the other semesters. These courses include required courses, and various elective courses offered in the school of Canon Law or in other schools of the university.


In the last year of the Second Cycle, the student is to write a thesis which investigates a minor, but significant, problem. It must demonstrate the student's familiarity with basic methods and techniques of research, technical mastery of a limited subject matter, and ability to exercise sound canonical judgment and formulate accurate conclusions.

Comprehensive Examination

Besides the regular course examinations or equivalent tests in the various disciplines, at the end of the Second Cycle there is a comprehensive oral examination whereby the student is expected to demonstrate mastery of the whole corpus of Church law. A student who twice fails the comprehensive examination is no longer eligible to receive the licentiate.

Dual Degree Program

In conjunction with the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, the School of Canon Law offers a dual-degree program for students who qualify for admission to the canon law program and to the law school program. The Dual-Degree Program makes it possible to earn a J.D. degree in American law and a J.C.L. degree in canon law; requirements of the respective degree programs must be met, but some courses in the law program are accepted as electives for canon law, and some canon law courses are accepted as law electives. Please note that both the School of Canon Law and Columbus School of Law require six semesters of study. For more information, contact the Dean of the School of Canon Law.

Find more information concerning the Dual Degree Program (JCL-JD).