Doctorate in Canon Law (J.C.D.)
Admission to the J.C.D. program is contingent on the following:
1.A. Students who have completed the Second Cycle in the School of Canon Law, The Catholic University of America:
For admission to the third cycle, the doctor of canon law program, in addition to the University admissions process, a formal letter of application must be submitted to the Dean of the School, stating the reasons why the student wishes to pursue doctoral studies here. The student must have successfully completed the Seminar in Sources (CL 702), received the licentiate degree and demonstrated superior academic ability as demonstrated by achievement of an overall A- average in the various components of the licentiate program; the grade for the thesis must be at least A-.
1.B. Students who have not earned their Licentiate in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America:
For admission to the third cycle, the doctor of canon law program, in addition to the University admissions process, a formal letter of application must be submitted to the Dean of the School, stating the reasons why the student wishes to pursue doctoral studies here. In addition, the student must submit a thesis or major writing project for faculty review and two letters of recommendation, from professors on the faculty where they earned their licentiate degree. A decision is made by the faculty conjointly.
2. After admission to the doctoral program, a candidate must demonstrate a fluency in canonical Latin and pass proficiency examinations in two modern languages (Italian, Spanish, German, French) administered by the School of Canon Law. The student must formulate a dissertation proposal, approved by the School and the University and in accord with time limits established by both.
3. After fulfilling the language requirements and formulating the dissertation proposal, the student applies for admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree which requires a separate faculty judgment.
4. The student has four  years to complete the writing, defense, and publication of the dissertation. This period of time is calculated from the beginning of the semester following admission to candidacy.
The residency requirement for the Third Cycle is one year, or two semesters. The actual time necessary to complete the requirements of the degree program usually extends to three or four semesters, chiefly dependent on the time needed to complete the dissertation (below). Continuous enrollment is required unless an authorized leave of absence is granted for very serious reasons; such a leave cannot be longer than a maximum of four semesters.
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During this cycle, the candidate is to be registered for dissertation guidance every semester and is to complete four courses or seminars.
The candidate must submit a written dissertation to the faculty, reflecting a level of research expected of Ph.D. candidates. The candidate must defend the dissertation in a public examination on the dissertation and on 10 theses closely related to it or subjects of special study. If the dissertation is approved, the specified number of printed copies must be deposited in the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies or, if the candidate elects another method of publication approved by the Academic Senate, the requirements prescribed by the Academic Senate for publication must be fulfilled.