The purpose of the six-semester licentiate program is to help the student become acquainted with the whole corpus of church law, understand it in terms of its theological, philosophical, and historical background, and learn the method and practice of scientific research. The level of research for the licentiate is that expected of professional canonists, specifically the exacting investigation of canonical questions encountered in curial, tribunal, and similar practice, and the articulation of one's findings in written opinions and briefs.
The subject program delivery is tailored for the convenience of a mixed cohort of full-time and part-time students. Many subjects are offered intensively, over a period of one week between February and December, making it practicable for students from outside Melbourne to study part-time. Intensive subjects in the program are designed to enable all students to immerse themselves in the subject matter for a stimulating five days. Other subjects are offered at intervals across a 12-week semester and individual course advice is available from senior academics to assist with subject selection.