Master in Canon Law (MCL) Degree Programme
The three year or six semesters MCL degree programme aims at specialized juridical formation during which the entire Codex Iuris Canonici is studied in depth, along with other disciplines having affinity with it, and also in comparison with the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium. The exposition of the courses consists not only in explaining the laws and institutions of the Church, but also in learning the theological-canonical principles in the light of conciliar teaching and their historical connections. The courses are expounded in an exegetical manner facilitating a complete study of sources of canons, both magisterial and disciplinary, so that the students are enabled to appreciate the spirit, origin, evolution, theological sense, and pastoral aims of the ecclesiastical laws. The programme, which initiates students into scientific research, consists of lectures, seminars, colloquia, and a scientifically prepared thesis.
a) Prerequisites for Admission
Applicants to MCL programme may be admitted according to the following provisions: (a) The applicant may be admitted provided he or she has obtained a Baccalaureate in Theology or completed a philosophico-theological curriculum in a seminary or in a theological faculty or the applicant has completed the First Cycle programme in Canon Law and has a bachelor degree in any discipline valid for admission to a civil university. This is done unless the Director deems it necessary or opportune, prior to his/her admission to require that he/she take a preliminary course in Latin or in the fundamental concepts of canon law. Students who prove they have studied some of the subjects of the first cycle ata theological faculty or university institute may be dispensed from them. (b) The applicant should have a good command of English language. (c) In addition to the above criteria of eligibility, the candidate should have adequate knowledge of Latin and a modern language. For those who do not have adequate knowledge of these languages, they would be required to obtain the requisite knowledge to the satisfaction of the Centre.
Registration for MCL programme should be done at the beginning of the academic year along with all the necessary documents as per the rules and regulations of St Peter’s Pontifical Institute and the Statutes of the Centre. The students are expected to complete the course requirements of the programme within three academic years. Those failing to do so will have to maintain their registration until completion of all degree requirements and pay the required fees as specified by the Institute.
The teaching method involves lectures, seminars, group-discussions, written reports, colloquia, assigned readings, case studies and practical assignments. In order to facilitate the study programme, the students may be given a set of reading material during the course or even before its commencement, containing course outline, teaching plan, reading lists consisting of articles, books, cases, and legal decisions. The students are expected to come prepared for the classes by reading the material suggested to them in order to participate attentively and actively during the class sessions.
Practical assignments lead to a more profound understanding of canonical theory and application as presented in lectures, particularly as regards the text of the code. These exercises include: exegesis of canons which the students themselves undertake and present before the class under the guidance of professors; questions posed by the professors and written assignments; colloquia on a given topic; tutorial courses; case studies and legal drafting. The multi-disciplinary approach employed in teaching and learning with various pedagogical tools serves to widen the horizon of students in the scientific and pastoral domain.
d) Evaluation of the Courses
The evaluation of the course takes place by taking into account the participation of the student in the class, seminars, assignments, and the comprehension of the subject by means of oral and written tests. It is advisable the professor gives class-tests or assignments during the course of lectures and considers the performance of the students in these for grades in the examination at the end of the course. A three-credit course or more will have an oral examination of at least fifteen minutes duration or a written examination of two hours or a combination of both written and oral tests. The pass mark is 60% for courses and seminars. A student may not, without the professor’s authorization, be absent from an oral or written examination for a course or hand in a term paper later than the prescribed date. Non-observance of this regulation will mean failure in the course.
A student who fails an examination may be allowed to undergo a supplementary examination only once. If the student fails even in the supplementary examination, he/she will have to repeat the course. Notwithstanding the possibility to appear for a supplementary examination, any student who fails in more than three subjects during one academic year shall have to withdraw from the programme if the Faculty Council decides so.
e) Dissertation and Defence
Students of MCL programme should write a thesis of about 100-125 pages in the area of their specialization. The topic chosen for the thesis should have the approval of the Director. Students should chose a professor from the Centre, particularly one who is specialized or teaching the course related to the topic. The student shall have a co-moderator for the thesis appointed by the Director in consultation with the moderator. As for the last date for registration and format to be used in writing and binding, the students are required to follow the regulations prescribed for the Institute. There shall be a public defence of the thesis for 60 minutes before a Board of Examiners, consisting of the moderator and co-moderator. After the defence, the student should submit four copies of the thesis to the Institute office.
f) Comprehensive Examination
As an integral part of the programme, students of MCL degree are required to pass a comprehensive oral examination based on the principal courses of the entire degree programme. Each student is required to choose fifteen themes for the examination from the list provided by the Centre and present the list of chosen themes to the Director at least three month prior to the comprehensive examination, which will be of one hour duration before a panel of at least three professors.
g) Marks, Grades and Degree
To receive a degree, a student must have passed the examinations in each of the subjects on the programme and fulfilled all the other requirements of the programme. The final computation of the marks earned during the MCL programme will be as follows: 50% for the course examinations inclusive of seminars; 25% for the dissertation and defence; and 25% for the final comprehensive oral examination. The cumulative average of the marks obtained by each student indicates the academic grade.
Marks Grading System
Probatus (Pass Mark) 60-69.99
Bene Probatus 70-79.99
Cum Laude 80-89.99
Magna cum Laude 90-96.99
Summa cum Laude 97-100
Master of Canon Law degree granted by the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome for students successfully completing the programme in the Centre of Canon Law Studies at St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore, qualifies them for admission to the doctoral programme in canon law in all ecclesiastical universities worldwide. It also renders them eligible to teach in seminaries and obtain ecclesiastical offices, which requires such a degree as per canon law.