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Faculty Introduction

Many of the most prestigious and oldest universities in the world were founded for the purposes of teaching theology and philosophy. Universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale continue to teach theology and philosophy today. The Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University stands proudly in that fine tradition.

Alongside Catholic universities around the world, Australian Catholic University places a particular emphasis on teaching theology and philosophy because of the strong commitment in the Catholic tradition to the unity of faith and reason.

The Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex corde ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church) informs our vision for our Faculty and our University:

Aided by the specific contributions of philosophy and theology, university scholars will be engaged in a constant effort to determine the relative place and meaning of each of the various disciplines within the context of a vision of the human person and the world that is enlightened by the Gospel, and therefore by a faith in Christ, the Logos, as the centre of creation and of human history.

Both theology and philosophy have a vital role in providing an integration of knowledge within a context of faith and reason. Theology in particular is inherently interdisciplinary and in constant dialogue with a range of other disciplines.

Both theology and philosophy address the big questions of life: Where have we come from? What is the purpose of existence? What can we expect when we die? Philosophy draws on the resources of human reason to answer these questions, while Catholic theology reflects on the Christian faith tradition, shaped by the Scriptures and Church teachings. Both philosophy and theology are key elements of the Catholic intellectual tradition, and together these two disciplines provide a rich set of resources for the search for meaning and purpose in life.

Much of the teaching of the Faculty is in service to courses in other Faculties, particularly Education and Arts and Sciences. We also offer a range of courses under the administration of the Faculty, including a Bachelor of Theology, Master of Arts (Theology) and specialist Graduate courses in Catholic education, health, welfare and ministry. At the graduate level, many of our courses are offered online.

Research is a real strength of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. The Faculty contains four Centres with a research focus – Centre for Early Christian Studies, Plunkett Centre for Ethics, Golding Centre for Women’s History, Theology and Spirituality and Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue. Many of our theologians and philosophers have strong international reputations in research and publishing and the Faculty has a large number of Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy research students.

Our students come to the study of theology and/or philosophy for a wide range of reasons, some for professional development and career advancement, many for the sheer joy and interest in exploring the meaning of life and faith’s meaning in our culture and times. Admittedly, the study of theology and philosophy will rarely lead to a highly lucrative career, but the skills learnt and developed in these disciplines, particularly the use of critical reasoning and the close reading of text and tradition, are very valuable and very widely applicable in many settings. Theology students can find careers in teaching, ministry, chaplaincy work or proceed to roles in Catholic health and welfare agencies. Students of philosophy can find careers in the public service, in ethics committees, and wherever critical and disciplined thinking is prized.

We welcome you to your study at ACU and hope that you have the opportunity to take some of our offerings. It is not uncommon for students to discover a real passion for the questions raised by their theology and philosophy units, and then to find themselves completing majors or even whole degrees from our Faculty. As the Psalmist says, “taste and see the good things of the Lord” (Ps 34:8).

Professor Anne Hunt
Executive Dean, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy