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Licentiate of Canon Law (Latin: Juris Canonici Licentiata[1]; J.C.L.) is the title of an advanced graduate degree with canonical effects in the Roman Catholic Church offered by pontifical universities and ecclesiastical faculties of canon law. Licentiate is the title of a person who holds an academic degree called a license. The licentiate of canon law is the ordinary way for forming future canonists, according to Veritatis gaudium.[2]


Academic programEdit

Licentiate programs in canon law involve a study of the whole corpus of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church, understood in terms of its theological, philosophical, and historical background, and the method and practice of scholarly scientific research. Consequently, experts in canon law have a comprehensive understanding of the nature of law specifically in the life of the church.

First CycleEdit

The usual prerequisites for a license in canon law are that a candidate must have the bachelor of sacred theology degree (S.T.B.), master of divinity degree (M.Div.), master of arts (M.A.) degree in Roman Catholic theology, or juris doctor (J.D.) degree and a bachelor's degree in canon law (J.C.B.) or its relative equivalent. Candidates with a heavy concentration of theological and philosophical coursework during undergraduate studies may be exempted from further academic prerequisites.

Second CycleEdit

In order for a candidate to obtain the licentiate of canon law, he or she must complete a six-semester (2 years year-round, 3 years with summer break), program of canonical studies, pass a comprehensive oral examination before a jury of faculty members, and write a thesis on a particular theme that demonstrates the student's ability to function professionally in the field.

Uses of the degree in the Catholic ChurchEdit

The license in canon law is required for a person to teach canon law in a pontifical university or Catholic seminary. The license is also the prerequisite to the doctorate (J.C.D.) in the same field. Furthermore, the degree is a prerequisite for several officers of Catholic ecclesiastical courts: judges (including the judicial vicar), the Promoter of Justice, and the Defender of the Bond all must at least possess this degree.

Pontifical facultiesEdit


External linksEdit