Degree in canon law


Program Description

Degree in Canon Law

For inside the Church as an institution, to know the internal syntax commands justice as the activity of all members of the Church: laity, religious, priests, bishops, the Roman Pontiff.

To make a synthesis between philosophy, theology and law and to work with a pastoral approach, in favor of those who need specialized advice, technical advice, effective defense of their rights, a secure company in their marital conflicts or otherwise.

To learn to be, within the Church and the world, the defender of those who can not or do not know to defend themselves and to contribute to the triumph of justice.


Entry requirements:

  • Baccalaureate, COU or title of university entrance.
  • Men and women religious and seminarians must also submit permission of the Ordinary or Major Superior.

Process and criteria for admission:

  • Personal interview


Cognitive competencies (knowledge)

In light of the provisions of the Christian Sapientia, the / the graduate / a has a broad and deep knowledge of the disciplines of the full Canon Law and related and complementary disciplines, as well as sufficient knowledge of the philosophical and theological disciplines that they are required for a legal-canonical superior training. Specifically, under Decree Novo Codice, such extensive knowledge should cover:

  • The Code of Canon Law in all its parts and other legislation.
  • related disciplines: theology of canon law; philosophy of law; institutions of Roman law; elements of civil law; canonísticas history of institutions; history of the sources of canon law; relations between the Church and civil society; canonical administrative and judicial praxis.
  • Introduction to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
  • Latin language.
  • optional courses, exercises and seminars prescribed by the Faculty.

With regard to these disciplines, graduates should acquire the following cognitive skills:

  • Acquire a basic knowledge of philosophical and theological disciplines and the general institutions of Canon Law (first cycle) [2] that allow access to thorough and systematic scientific study of canon law.
  • Acquire a thorough understanding of the legal and canonical disciplines mentioned above and the main canonical institutions, to enable it:
    • identify and locate the existing standard.
    • know how to interpret, in the light of the general principles of law and canonical tradition.
    • know how to apply the rule to the specific case with equity and justice.
    • have an overview, which allows you to link a particular standard with the legal provisions of other branches of Canon Law.
    • know how to give canonical response to the new social and ecclesial situations and current pastoral needs.
  • Understand the meaning of canon law in the Church, its historical evolution and its relationship with other legal systems, their profound attachment to theology, the foundation and scope of fundamental rights and duties of the faithful, and the meaning of the provisions munus docendi munus and sanctificandi. It also knows the essential keys that make up the relations between Church and State, as well as basic legal institutions operating in this area, in addition to laying the groundwork for deepening the scope of the right of the Eastern churches.
  • Knowing the diversity that the formal sources of canon law and the particularity of each and the hierarchy between them, being able to properly stand before the specificities of the nature and extent of substantive and procedural rules of universal and of individuals. It also acquires adequate knowledge of legal institutions with special emphasis on canon law in the face of its primary purpose (the salus animarum) such as dispensation, epikeia and canonical equity.
  • Manage key criteria and principles of canonical interpretation to understand and properly raise the content of legal norms and discern where appropriate their gaps and potential problems facing the whole ecclesial order.
  • Be able to understand the official Latin version of the CIC, as well as progress in the understanding of canonical texts in Latin, both current and past.
  • Básicaslos lines Conoceren its various scientific methods of doctrinal, historical and jurisprudential research in the field of canon law.

procedural skills (practical application)

Graduate training ensures the acquisition of skills related to know-how, that is, with the acquisition of procedures and strategies for the development of the functions of the canonist in the various areas in which to exercise its "profession."

  • Capacity for analysis and synthesis.
    Understand and properly structure the knowledge acquired. The acquisition of this competence involves the development of analytical thinking, of particular importance in the legal field, whereby the student understands and structure adequate knowledge establishes relationships between them and is able, in turn, connect the learning theoretical concepts with practical problems that are presented. This competition is particularly evident in one of the most frequent and complex exercises to which the canonist faces: the legal characterization of the facts after an analysis of potentially applicable regulatory framework.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Understanding and assimilation of concepts and reasoning, extracting the relevant information and adequately linking the different parts that can comprise.
    • Uptake of exegetical complexity of some rules, discovering the interpretative issues relating thereto and sufficiently understanding the main arguments put forward in the doctrinal debate.
    • Apprehension of interconnection and relationships between various parts of the Code of Canon Law and between this body and other extracodiciales legal standards, being able to identify gaps, contradictions and interpretative rules plurality problems this presents.
    • Connecting learned in the theoretical to the practical problems posed by the exercise of canonical legal profession and resolution of problem cases.
  • written and oral communication.
    Although it is a competition which corresponds, at least in part, to pre-graduate studies training, transcendence for the formation of a lawyer makes in many subjects is evaluated explicitly and is the subject of attention specific. The accuracy in written language is essential in the legal work and the clarity, conciseness and persuasion in oral language.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Thorough knowledge of language resources, applying them correctly and creativity (developing a personal style)
    • writing, being able to structure and compose a clear and orderly manner canonical texts and documents.
    • verbal expression, being able to communicate fluently and accurately, adapting speech to the context and needs (specialized or not public ...) time.
  • Ability to manage fonts.
    The acquisition of this competence involves a knowledge of the various means of obtaining (legal, standards development, jurisprudence, authentic responses PTCL, etc.) legal sources, including skill in handling them, which requires to screen relevant information, be able to interrelate and connect different information, etc.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Knowledge and proper handling of various means to obtain legal sources specialized texts and manuals, legal and canonical magazines, Internet, databases, law reports, ...
    • Information processing: locating and sifting relevant information, information retrieval, connections and relationships between different data ...
    • nimbly identify all standards, both extracodiciales codiciales as applicable to a particular subject.
  • Troubleshooting.
    The acquisition of this competence involves the ability to properly apply the knowledge learned in practice, identifying the key elements of the issues raised by proposing effective alternatives for their solution, to overcoming the difficulties that may arise. Law usually problems do not have a unique solution, and it is important to train students to solve from different budgets with a reasoned solution that is not only legally correct but also pastorally correct, bearing in mind the pastoral sense that the Church has the application of law.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • proper understanding of the problems, identifying its parts demarcate the central front to the accessory or marginally and the sequence to be followed for resolution
    • Using the knowledge acquired to solve the problem.
    • Critical sense and initiative to bring the different alternatives presented by the solution of a problem and determine the scope of each
    • Finding a satisfying and pastoral result, overcoming the obstacles that may arise.
  • Adaptability to new situations.
    The acquisition of this competence involves being aware of the changes that occur in the Church and in society as well as in doctrine and canonical jurisprudence, and develop the skills necessary to respond successfully to them, applying the law in force new situations and being able to propose new legal solutions to new problems or poorly resolved (condendo proposals iure).
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Ability to apply knowledge to other fields or plots.
    • critical capacity to assess the adequacy of existing law to new problems and legal creativity to discern what to keep and what to change, and propose the appropriate standard display inappropriate changes.
    • Assess changes as a positive and learn to manage them.
  • Research skills.
    The acquisition of this competence involves developing an "intellectual curiosity", essential for a good lawyer and canonist, leading to delve into the issues and problems in the field of law using appropriate instrumental means to do so.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Management and use of precise search for information and in-depth knowledge of a particular issue legal sources.
    • Ability to undertake lines of reasoning and complex legal arguments to deepen the question and provide results

Attitudinal competencies (Attitude)

The graduate in Canon Law from Comillas know, and from a certain know how to be, ie from the base of values ​​and attitudes that pervade their knowledge and "professional" task in the canonical field.

  • Critical capacity.
    The acquisition of this competition leads the development of skills for reasoning and critical judgment. This involves assessing the different approaches that can present a situation or a problem in the ecclesial reality, detecting possible shortcomings and proposals and solutions offered by the application of Canon Law. This competition puts particular emphasis on the analysis of jurisprudence that detects the shortcomings of the existing legal system, the analysis of the various positions and doctrinal approaches.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Knowledge of the different possibilities that the application of legal rules and provides critical awareness of them.
    • Assessment of possible deficiencies in the different approaches arise and can offer suggestions for improvement and enhancement.
    • Critical appraisal of scientific doctrine.
  • Ecclesial vocation of service and awareness of the pastoral nature of Canon Law.
    The acquisition of this competence involves an internalization of the Church's commitment to acquire the canonists in their performance, both in the application of law and doctrinal development thereof, as in the exercise of trades and respective church ministries, from the conviction that Canon law has no purpose other than to serve the salus animarum and pastoral achieving the purposes of the Church.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Ability to identify and prioritize the ecclesial problems in a given context.
    • Capacity commitment in the activities and tasks that involves the canonical solution to pastoral problems.
  • Concern for the development of a personal and ecclesial Canon Law, which pursues as a primary purpose the salus animarum of the faithful.
    The acquisition of this competition requires the internalization of a truly personalist understanding of Canon Law, which emphasizes the instrumental nature of the law, the service of the mission of the Church (salus animarum) and place the person as the ultimate goal of Canon Law and all legal and pastoral action, thus achieving an understanding of truly human and truly Christian canon law, which has its impact on the interpretation and application of the standard.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Ability to perceive the centrality of the person in the application and interpretation of the canonical norm
    • Commitment and capacity option canonical solutions that result more favorable to the good of the person and the safeguarding of fundamental rights of the faithful.
  • Ability to learn and be constantly updated.
    In canon law, given the possibilities of evolution and modification of positive norms, is essential, by the graduate, the development of genuine autonomy in learning, "learning to learn" as part of an ongoing process in which the graduate can stay always updated. The acquisition of this competence involves developing the resources to take initiative and autonomy in the learning process so that students can perform by himself and improve-their learning during degree and become a permanent process of retraining subsequently.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • The ability to find and properly use the tools (bibliographical sources, electronic resources ...) that allow them to improve their learning and have autonomy when deepen or broaden knowledge areas.
    • Assimilating learning as an ongoing process of updating and improvement required to keep abreast of regulatory and jurisprudential changes influencing the "professional" exercise.
  • Development of interpersonal skills and teamwork ability.
    The acquisition of this competence involves the development of basic skills for social and ecclesial life, the establishment of fraternal relations and common work: empathy, ability to anticipate the needs of others, tolerance, respect for the ideas and arguments of others, readiness for constructive dialogue bringing together competing interests, ability to generate a climate of trust, etc. It also includes the development of basic skills that allow work with others to take forward work or common project, exchanging views and engaging with others in pastoral, canonical, scientific tasks, etc.
    Learning outcomes. With the achievement of this competition the student accredits:
    • Ability to function and work with others in an atmosphere of tolerance and trust: respect for the contributions of others, honest behavior, dialogue ...
    • Ability to "depersonalize" the arguments and positions in discussions or work processes.
    • Ability to assess the contributions of others and search for ways to negotiate and achieve a satisfactory solution

[2] The first cycle, which should take those who lack proper philosophical and theological formation, focuses on the study of the general institutions of Canon Law and those philosophical and theological disciplines required for higher legal training (art. 76th of Sap. Chr, as amended by the Decree of the Congregation of 2.9.2002), and they include.:

  • elements of philosophy: philosophical anthropology, metaphysics, ethics;
  • elements of Sacred Theology: An Introduction to Sacred Scripture; fundamental theology; divine revelation; Trinitarian theology; Christology; Treaty of grace; especially ecclesiology; general and special sacramental theology; fundamental and special moral theology;
  • general institutions of canon law;
  • Latin language.


The curriculum for obtaining a degree in Canon Law comprises two cycles.

The first cycle consists of 4 semesters, taught in two courses (academic years). The subjects of the first cycle will be held at the TUP, University Postgraduate Theology, in this very hall where is located the Faculty of Canon Law, c / Alberto Aguilera, 23, Madrid.

Are exempt from this cycle students who have completed the plan of philosophical and theological studies in a Seminary, a theological faculty or in a suitable Institute, and who justify irrefutably have studied the subjects of the first cycle in one of these centers.

The second cycle consists of 6 semesters, they taught three courses (academic years). It is aimed at all students who have completed the first cycle or be exempted from it. Those with a degree in Civil Law shall be exempt from some subjects directly related to these studies (Roman Law, Civil Law, Philosophy of Law, Ecclesiastical Law) his request. For students who must take the first cycle, the duration of the license is 5 years. For those who should not take the course duration is 3 years.

The two courses of the first cycle and the first two of the second, cyclically impart (one each year). The third year of the second cycle is given every year.


The University as an institution of the Catholic Church provides its service to society, provides scholarships and aid in various forms to students, to contribute to the costs of education and promoting equal opportunities according to the individualized needs of each student . These grants are financed with own funds and with contributions from the University Comillas-ICAI Foundation Helps Fund Ecclesiastical and non-autonomous foundation for studies of aspirants to the priesthood and other entities and individuals.

University students enjoy the same benefits as other university Spaniards in matters of student insurance, government grants and other scholarships.

Outputs Professional and Academic

Exit profile

  • The graduate knows the Code of Canon Law of 1983 and another fundamental rules of the Church, and is able to access itself to the knowledge of other canonical norms and handled properly the main keys that operate in the field of relations between the Church and the State.
  • The graduate has acquired an organic and systematic view of the science of law within the mystery of the Church and its relations with other rights, along with a comprehensive scientific training in the field of legal and pastoral practice and judicial canonical praxis and administrative [1].
  • It is able to start applying the acquired knowledge and progress in improving the practical application in the exercise of a service or task entrusted to the Church.
  • The degree integrates their knowledge and application, the theological meaning of canon law and pastoral dimension, as a means to serve the action of the Spirit in the ecclesial community in favor of faith and Christian life of the faithful and Communion in the Church, understood as conciliar conception.
  • The graduate develops a healthy and constructive critical sense to canon law, essential to cooperate to the necessary evolution and improvement thereof.
  • In that sense, it is able to identify and elaborate on the knowledge and the weighting of both legal and otherwise, that affect especially in understanding a problematic historical landmarks, as well as those from other legal systems have equal impact.

[1] "The Faculty of Canon Law, Latin or Oriental, is to study and promote the juridical disciplines in the light of the Gospel law and instruct thoroughly in the same students that are trained for research and teaching and are also prepared to hold some ecclesiastical office ". (Sapientia Christiana 75)

Professional outings

We formed on excellence for over a hundred years ago to serve:

  • Courts and judicial vicars.
  • diocesan curia.
  • nunciatures Episcopalians and conferences.
  • Universities, seminaries and schools.
  • Curiae Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
  • Associations of the faithful.
  • canonical counsel.
Last updated February 2017

About the School

Tras cien años de experiencias universitarias, Universidad Pontificia Comillas ICAI-ICADE siente la aguda conciencia del cambio experimentado en todos los ámbitos desde su fundación. La Universidad es... Read More