The courses of study are covered in three cycles:
- The first cycle is propaedeutic in nature and consists of preparatory studies needed for admission to the Licentiate program in Canon Law. It is especially designed for those applicants who have no previous training in philosophy or theology. In this cycle, lasting for four semesters or two years, students should study the fundamental concepts of canon law and the philosophical and theological disciplines required for an advanced formation in canon law (Sapientia Christiana, art. 76, a).
- The second cycle, lasting for six semesters or three years, provides an in-depth study of the entire Code of Canon Law and of its sources, both magisterial and disciplinary, along with other disciplines having an affinity with it. In order to obtain the Licentiate degree, the student must present and successfully defend at the end of the cycle a written thesis and must pass a written and oral examination (Sapientia Christiana, art. 76, b).
- The third cycle, lasting for at least two (2) semesters or one (1) year, in which students perfect the canon law training necessary for scholarly research in view of preparing a doctoral dissertation. Obligatory disciplines in this cycle are canonical Latin and some optional courses or exercises as required by the Faculty of Canon Law (Sapientia Christiana, art. 76, Norms of Application, art. 56, no. 3). This leads to the conferment of Doctorate in Canon Law.
The courses offered in the above-mentioned cycles are divided into:
- Main subjects which are mandatory for both ordinary and extraordinary students;
- Auxiliary subjects which must be taken by all ordinary students in addition to the main subjects;
- Elective subjects may be offered in the second and third cycles.