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Second Cycle

Students may choose to complete the program in two years, i.e., six consecutive semesters (fall, spring, and summer), in three years, excluding summer semesters, or in four summers.

If the requirements of the First Cycle have been satisfied, an applicant may be admitted directly to the Second Cycle. In individual cases, minor deficiencies may be supplied during the regular course of studies in the Second Cycle.

Students in class


The purpose of the licentiate program is to help the student become acquainted with the whole corpus of church law, understand it in terms of its theological, philosophical, and historical background, and learn the method and practice of scientific research. The level of research for the licentiate is that expected of professional canonists, specifically the exacting investigation of canonical questions encountered in curial, tribunal, and similar practice, and the articulation of one's findings in written opinions and briefs.


This Second Cycle lasts for a maximum of three years or six semesters, which fulfill the residence requirements for the licentiate. The actual time necessary to complete the requirements of the degree program will, of course, vary from student to student. Continuous enrollment is required unless an authorized academic leave of absence has been granted.

Students may choose to complete the program in two years, i.e., six consecutive semesters (fall, spring, and summer), or in three years, excluding summer semesters. Both the two and three year tracks require full-time residence in Washington, DC. The J.C.L. may also be earned through our Summer Program.

The Summer Program requires students to be in residence during the summer for the months of June and July for four summers. In addition, students must complete one course online during each of the intervening fall and spring semesters. Necessary accommodations in students’ schedule must be made at home during the fall and spring semesters to view online classes weekly and complete class requirements on time.

For housing and accommodations please click here.

  • Language Requirements

    Students are to demonstrate an ability to use canonical literature in Latin and in one of the following modern languages: French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

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  • Curriculum

    The course of studies is divided into six semesters. These courses include required courses, and various elective courses offered in the school of Canon Law or in other schools of the university.

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  • Transfer of Credits

    Students entering into the Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.) degree program in the School of Canon Law may transfer up to six credit hours from courses taken at other institutions toward completion of their degree requirements. 

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  • Course Work 2-3 Years

    The course of studies is divided into six semesters (A-B-C-D-E-F). Semester A is a prerequisite for the other semesters. Learn about the course of studies.

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  • Course Work Summer Program

    The four summer program is designed to acquaint participants with the whole body of church law, leading to an understanding of its theological, philosophical and historical background, and introducing them to the practice of canon law.

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  • Summer Calendar

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