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THSP624 Capstone Integrative Project (Spirituality) A

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 300 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Spirituality should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. This unit enables postgraduate students to fulfil the capstone requirements related to their award and is intended to be taken in the student’s final year. It directs, supports and encourages the integration of student learning across the theological disciplines by means of participation in an integrative seminar and completion of a project in an area of interest that draws on the student’s prior learning and directs it towards an integrative treatment of a chosen topic. Students present their ideas to their peers and members of faculty and receive feedback within the seminar process. In contrast to the 10 credit point Capstone unit, the 20 credit point version enables students to engage in an extended piece of research writing. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to consolidate and integrate their learning throughout their course, and to develop their skills in planning, implementing and disseminating research.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the methodologies, concepts and issues from at least two fields of study (MSD CLO 1, 2) (GA8);

LO2 Articulate points of synthesis and integration between at least two fields of theological study (biblical, historical, systematic, philosophical, practical) (MSD CLO 1, 3) (GA9);

LO3 Generate questions and insights in relation to a chosen project that relate to at least two fields of theological study (MSD CLO 4) (GA8);

LO4 Plan, execute and complete a major integrative project (MSD CLO 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) (GA8, GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


The area of investigation is to be devised by the student. The project must:

·       Be on a topic relating to some aspect/s of spirituality;

·       Include explicit engagement with methodologies, concepts, and content from more than one theological discipline;

·       Demonstrate awareness of the issues related to creative and effective communication of theological ideas;

·       Demonstrate management and evaluation of academic research;

·       Include a 40-minute presentation during the semester, highlighting the integration of learning throughout the course;

·       Include an extended piece of research and writing (equivalent to 8000 words) using appropriate academic conventions.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP625 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which will include:

1.      Independent research and self-directed activities which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic;

2.      Participation in weekly, student-led seminars (virtual or face-to-face).

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and spirituality, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Presentation on the chosen project: 40 minutes, including 10 minutes of class discussion (equiv. 4000 words). This task is designed to provide students with the opportunity to share and discuss their research with their peers and to receive feedback in a supportive environment. Material from the presentation will be integrated into Assessment Task 2.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA8, GA9, GA10

Research project (8000-words). This task is designed to provide students with the opportunity to synthesise their learning, to evaluate their research in terms of its strengths and limitations, and to engage in a critical discussion of its implications. The weighting of this task is necessary to enable students to engage in an extended piece of writing.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA8, GA9, GA10

The 70% weighting to the research project (which is necessary given the centrality of this task given the nature of this research-orientated capstone unit) has been approved by Academic Board as per the ACU Assessment Policy (section 5.2). 

Representative texts and references

To be determined according to the area of focus, but the following represent the core texts used in the study of spiritual direction:

Au, Wilkie and Noreen Cannon Au. Urgings of the Heart: A Spirituality of Integration. New York: Paulist Press, 1995.

Conn, Joann Wolski. Spirituality and Personal Maturity. Integration Books. New York: Paulist Press, 1989.

Dyckman, Katherine, Mary Garvin, and Elizabeth Liebert. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2001.

Gallagher, Timothy M. The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living. New York: Crossroad, 2005.

Haight, Roger. Christian Spirituality for Seekers: Reflections on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012.

Haight, Roger. Spirituality Seeking Theology. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2014.

Jones, Cheslyn, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Edward Yarnold. The Study of Spirituality. London: SPCK, 1986.

Sheldrake, Philip. Spirituality and History: Questions of Interpretation and Method. 2nd ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995.

Sheldrake, Philip. Spirituality and Theology: Christian Living and the Doctrine of God. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998.

Tyler, Peter and Richard Woods. The Bloomsbury Guide to Christian Spirituality. London: Bloomsbury, 2012.

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