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.
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'.
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.
The programme focuses on each institution's strengths: International and European Law in Leuven and Arbitration Law, Financial Law and Human Rights in Zurich. Switzerland is a centre of arbitration and banking, and many international institutions are based here.
Upon completion of the programme, students receive a double degree - one from KU Leuven and another from the University of Zurich. A double degree from two leading law faculties in Europe will be of enormous added value for your future professional career in an international context.
Each partner university will select fifteen students to participate in this programme.
The ideal prospective student:
Knowledge and insight: The student has a basic knowledge of law and also a thorough, consolidated knowledge of their national, European and International law and develops a clear vision on the interaction among the three of them whereby he/she integrates the expertise in positive law with insight into the principles of law.
The student does as well have specialized knowledge and insight in the two main legal areas offered, European and International law, just as a profound knowledge in a wide-range of transversal legal areas that express the relation and interaction between the different, basic, legal areas and the dynamism and renovation of the Law.
The student can frame legal arguments and legal reasoning in a social, historical or value based context as a result of a critical and reflective basic attitude towards the law, human beings and society in general terms.
General legal skills: The students adopt a systematic method when approaching complex legal or social-related questions. He/she is able to make an independent legal analysis and synthesis of problems. The students have the capacity to offer adequate solutions and adopt clarifying, problem solving points of view.
Scientific - legal related skills: The student handles one or more legal areas with an independent and scientific approach. He/she can apply his legal knowledge, insight and skills when accomplishing independent legal research.
Communication skills: The student can draft texts and explain orally, in a structured and clear way legal issues to both laymen and legal practitioners.
IT skills: The student can make use of modern technologies applied to legal information sources (ex. digital libraries and databases)
Learning skills: The student is able to deal with new legal areas and acquire further knowledge in the ones he/she is more familiar with.
The Master of Law programme is a stepping stone to an interesting legal career. As experts in European and international law, our students work in international law firms, a wide variety of public service fields at all levels of the government and in European and international institutions or interest groups. Our graduates are also recruited by non-governmental organisations and companies in the private sector.