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Course content

This master's programme was started in response to the growing salience of the interaction of society, law and religion in our multi-religious and yet highly secularised global world.

The Master of Society, Law and Religion provides a unique introduction to the strategic area of society, law and religion and brings you in contact with outstanding international experts in the field.

What is the 'Master of Society, Law and Religion' all about?

The programme aims at enabling students to gain a solid and critical knowledge on key issues such as the place of religion in the public sphere, the debate on secularism, the role of the State vis-à-vis religion, church and relationships, human rights and religion, European and international law and religion, and domestic and international politics of religious freedom. Taught at the Faculty of Canon Law, the programme is particularly sensitive to the autonomy of religions, religious self-government, and religious laws.

While all students receive a basic training in the law of the Roman Catholic Church, the programme embraces all religions and faith communities, and includes classes in Jewish, Islamic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant law. African and Asian religions and customs are also investigated, as far as their relation to law and society is concerned.

The programme can be taken as a self-standing programme or as a gateway to the Master of Canon Law. This initial master's program can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. In order to facilitate students wishing combine education with employment or social engagement, the programme allows for distance learning and spreading of examinations. The large choice of subjects from different faculties enables students to tailor their educational experience, to their interests, needs and projects.

Is this the right programme for me?

The Master of Society, Law and Religion suits students who are genuinely interested in the interaction of society, law and religion and who are willing to engage critically with the issues at stake. Any background in the area of law, social sciences and religious studies is fit for the purpose, provided that the student is ready to cope with the various methodologies and languages.

Thanks to extensive course offerings in the area of Roman Catholic canon law, the programme also suits those students preparing to enter the Master of Canon Law programme with the aim of achieving the canonical degree 'Iuris Canonici Licentiatus' (JCL).


Main goal of the programme is to develop the acquired basic skills in the Bachelor of Law, the Bachelor of Theology or another programme in view of a specialized exploration of the area 'Society, Law and Religion'. The student obtains a basic knowledge on the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church and the other christian churches. He gets acquainted with legal sources and obtains the required skills to interpret the rules incorporated in the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC). The student is initiated in the complex interaction between social structures and secular law on one side, and the legal structures of the Church at the other side. Research, consultancy and communication skills as well as other social elements are stimulated. The student is able to develop a sound research strategy, and to present an accurate synthesis of existing knowledge and a well-argued personal and critical reflection. He is able to present a well-considered research question, to develop a research plan, and to select relevant sources. Those who selected optional courses in canon law are allowed to start in the programme 'Master of Canon Law'.

Career perspectives

Religion is increasingly acknowledged as a crucial factor in areas such as politics and the economy, social and corporate management, culture, employment, education, health care, international cooperation, and conflict resolution.

Candidates for positions in these areas, in the private or public sector, as well as those already employed, will benefit from gaining a topical knowledge in the field.

Graduates can further develop their education at the Faculty of Canon Law through by moving on to the Master in Canon Law or the doctoral programme in Society, Law and Religion.

Visit the Society, Law and Religion MA page on the KU Leuven website for more details!





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