Canon Law (LLM)
- Duration: 2 years
- Mode: Part time distance learning
Why study this course
Develop your knowledge of Ecclesiastical Law on the first postgraduate programme of its kind in the UK.
Our LLM in Canon Law is the first degree of its type at a British University since the Reformation. Set up in 1991, it has attracted the highest quality applicants.
The programme provides an opportunity to study the canon law of the churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly the Church of England, and the Roman Catholic Church as well as the regulatory systems of other Christian traditions worldwide.
This programme provides an opportunity for critical appraisal of ecclesiastical and canon law, in the context of relevant national and international secular law, in fields such as church government and ministry, doctrine, liturgy and rites, and property.
The course works from an inter-disciplinary perspective. Although its principal focus is the substantive law, it seeks to explain, understand and evaluate church law from the perspectives of theology, history, sociology, and civil law. One key element in study, is to uncover the ecumenical potential of the comparative study of church laws to promote Christian unity among different churches worldwide.
The LLM Canon Law programme is suitable for those who practise or are involved in the administration of church law and for those wishing to pursue an interest in this developing field of legal scholarship. The teachers on this course are drawn both from the field of academic law and religion and the practice of church law.
The LLM Canon Law is research-led and has strong links with the prestigious Centre for Law and Religion. The programme attracts a diverse student body including secular and ecclesiastical judges, university academics, barristers, solicitors and clergy from both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
The programme is taught through lectures and seminars on residential weekends over a period of two academic years, held at St Michael’s College in Cardiff.
Where you'll study
Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.
The course is suitable for those who practise or are involved in the administration of church law and for those wishing to pursue an interest in this developing field of legal scholarship.
You should ideally have obtained at least a 2:1 class degree or equivalent. Applicants with a 2.2 class degree or equivalent will be considered taking into account the application in its entirety.
In addition, applicants whose first language is not English must obtain an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other components, or an equivalent English language qualification.
Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.
Early application is strongly advised, normally well before the end of July. Later applications will be considered, but international students must bear in mind the time needed to obtain a visa.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
The programme is delivered in two stages. Stage one (the taught component) comprises four, compulsory 30 credit modules; stage two comprises the dissertation. Stage one will run over two years and you will take two modules in each year; you will be taught and assessed in one module per semester. You will progress to the dissertation upon successful completion of stage one.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
Year one comprises two compulsory 30 credit modules.
Year two comprises two, compulsory 30 credit modules. Upon successful completion of the taught stage at the end of year two, you will progress to the 60 credit dissertation.
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.
Learning and assessment
How will I be taught?
Studying at postgraduate level is intensive and challenging and it is important that you take full advantage of the teaching that is provided in order to succeed. Attendance at all classes is compulsory and we will expect you to be well prepared.
Your modules will be delivered through seminars and lectures during residential weekends, individual and joint written oral presentations and distance learning.
How will I be assessed?
We make use of both formative and summative assessment.
Formative assessments do not count towards your degree but are designed to give you the opportunity to practice for your summative assessments and enable you and your tutors to assess your progress in your modules. Formative assessments will normally involve written coursework or a class test or may comprise individual student presentations.
Your marks in summative assessments count towards your final award. Each LLM Canon Law module is summatively assessed by one 5000 word essay. The dissertation (up to 15,000 words) comprises the stage two summative assessment.
How will I be supported?
Your learning will be supported through e-learning. All modules are supported by Learning Central, a virtual learning environment that is available on and off campus through which you will access a wide range of materials for your modules.
You will receive dedicated pastoral support through our personal tutor scheme. We offer an extensive programme of careers lectures and workshops within the School with an in-house Law Careers Consultant and a Pro-bono Scheme Co-ordinator. A designated Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities. The University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service and excellent libraries with specialist law librarians and resource centres.
Feedback is available through oral feedback during seminars and you will receive written feedback on both your formative and summative assessments. Individual feedback on formative work will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your learning, as well how you might improve your performance in summative assessments. Written feedback will be made available no later than four weeks from the submission of your assessment.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You are expected to assume a greater responsibility for your education as you undertake your postgraduate studies. Through the Diploma Canon Law, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic employability skills. During the programme you will be able to extend your communication and presentation skills, both oral and written. You will also be able to develop collaborative skills, take leadership roles and enhance skills of disciplined and independent study.
You will be encouraged to work independently to seek out legal materials for yourself, to read and analyse these materials critically and to present structured and reasoned argument under the guidance of your tutors and supervisors.
We run a Law in Action pro-bono scheme with partner organisations, in which student volunteers assist real people in their dealings with the law. The schemes currently include:
- Law in Justice: the Innocence Project, (dealing with alleged miscarriages of justice);
- Law in Healthcare: the NHS Continuing Healthcare Scheme, (challenges to NHS healthcare funding assessments);
- Law in Sport: the Rugby Union Project – (providing legal advice and legal newsletters to rugby clubs).
Students from the UK
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Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
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More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
Students successfully completing the LLM Canon Law have the opportunity to continue their legal study through the School’s PhD programme or through the Centre for Professional Legal Studies professional programmes (the Legal Practice Course or Bar Professional Training Course).