Taught course

Canon Law

Heythrop College · Pastoral and Social Studies

Entry requirements

An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in theology, religious studies or law

Months of entry


Course content

The MA Canon Law study of Roman Catholic Canon Law grew from an interest in canon law outside of ecclesiastical circles and within the church since the Second Vatican Council and subsequent revision of canon law.
The programme attracts civil lawyers, theologians, priests, people engaged in parish work and religious education and people working on marriage tribunals.

The programme consists of four taught modules and a dissertation:

General Introduction to Canon Law

Look at the origin and growth of canon law and the ecclesiology that is embodied in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, as contrasted with the 1917 Code. You will cover the functions canon law performs in the Church, as well as guidelines for interpretation. Selected canons on general norms will be analysed.

Marriage in Canon Law

Explore the meaning of marriage as a partnership of the whole life, and investigate consent, nullity and the effects of prenuptial agreements on these concepts. You will look at the difference between dissolution of marriage in the Roman Catholic Church and a civil divorce.

The People of God

Concentrate on: the development of rights in Western thought; a historical overview of rights in canon law; collections of law and Gratian; human rights and the Church; the1983 Code and the obligations and rights of all Christ's faithful, lay faithful, and clergy; the formation, incardination and excardination of clergy; the canon law of parishes and their reorganization; child protection, safeguarding and dismissal of clergy; the removal and transfer of parish priests; hierarchical and administrative recourse; and rights of defence.

Sacramental Law

Discuss the canons relating to the sacraments and their celebration - baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, reconciliation, anointing and orders.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language, you are required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. Please visit our website to find out about our language requirements. Our International Students section has additional information for students from outside the UK.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Heythrop is proud to offer our students generous scholarships and bursaries. We have four scholarships available for postgraduates:

  • Student Support Scholarship
  • Alumni Scholarship
  • Qualified Teacher Scholarship
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship

Please visit our website for full details.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0) 20 7795 4202
+44 (0) 20 7795 4200