Graduate Attributes

ACU Graduates

Australian Catholic University (ACU) is committed, within the Catholic intellectual tradition, to the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person and the common good. ACU brings a distinctive spiritual perspective to the common tasks of higher education, while being an open and inclusive community.

ACU explicitly engages the social, ethical and religious dimensions of the questions it faces in teaching and research, and service. In its endeavours, it is guided by a fundamental concern for justice and equity, and the dignity of all human beings.

These dimensions are embedded in the ACU graduate attributes: insight, empathy, imagination, and impact.

The four graduate attributes reflect ACU's focus on learning as an interconnected journey between staff and students.


This symbol represents knowledge of Country across land, sea, sky through navigation by the stars. Pathways lead people throughout Country.

Each graduate has become aware of their own characteristics as a professional, a citizen and a scholar; they are ready to change and grow and prepared for lifelong learning; their experience at ACU has supported them to seek truth and meaning.


This symbol represents the connectedness of Meeting Places (Yarning Circles) and significant ceremonial sites. Empathy becomes inherent when sense of belonging is strengthened through connection to Country, culture and people.

Each graduate has had experience of Indigenous knowledges and can respect and work alongside Australia's First Peoples; they are able to connect with people and cultures, locally and globally; they can integrate knowledge across disciplines.


This symbol reflects the Torres Strait Islander headdress known as the Dhari, it evokes strength in Culture, leadership and inspires the imagination.

Each graduate is encouraged to think creatively and critically to solve problems and see opportunities for innovation; they can discern and build a better future for each person and community.


The symbol for impact is inspired by the Rainforest Shields of Far North Queensland. Used to protect against injury or harm, to stand ground and lead changes.

Each graduate recognises their responsibility to work for social justice and a sustainable world, guided by ethical principles and a commitment to human dignity and the common good; they are ready to respond to and lead changes in their sphere of influence and contribute to their professions and to the community.

We acknowledge that the artwork for the First Nations Icons was created exclusively for ACU by artist Riki Salam @ WeAre27Creative.

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the First Peoples, the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waterways where Australian Catholic University campuses are located, and we thank them for their continued custodianship.

ACU Graduate Statement

The ACU graduate statement describes a university level, holistic understanding of the ACU student on completion of their course. It reflects the aspirational goals ACU has for each student through a consideration of each graduate attribute.


As an ACU graduate you have personal insight founded on an understanding of who you are as a professional, a citizen and a scholar.

You embrace change and growth through critical self-awareness and learning autonomy. You are empowered to seek truth and meaning, drawing on the principles of justice, equity, and the dignity of all human beings.


As an ACU graduate you value human dignity and diversity. This appreciation is founded on deep reflection, and empathy.

You have experience of Indigenous Knowings and perspectives and can engage respectfully when working alongside Australia's First Peoples. You can connect with people and cultures and work with community in ways that recognise the dignity of the human person and all cultures.


As an ACU graduate you utilise imagination and innovation to solve problems.

You critically analyse information from a range of sources to creatively solve practical problems and use critical thinking to make decisions and advance the common good. You appreciate the role of innovation and creative thinking in developing a better future for each person and community.


As an ACU graduate you recognise your responsibility to work for social justice and a sustainable world founded on a commitment to human dignity and the common good.

You lead change through respectful collaboration and effective communication of ideas to diverse peoples, groups and communities in local and global contexts. You are empowered to positively impact your profession and the community.

two students sitting and talking

ACU Graduate Capabilities

ACU's graduate capabilities, which underpin the graduate attributes, enable job ready graduates through a focus on the skills and capabilities students develop on their learning journey. ACU is committed to the pursuit of truth and academic freedom and striving to enable graduates to have an impact on their profession and community.

In line with this commitment and drawing on the Identity and Mission of the university, the ACU graduate attributes and capabilities are unique in the sector in highlighting the values that inform all aspects of the university.

Student achievement of the graduate capabilities evidences their capacity to demonstrate the aspirations of the ACU graduate attributes.

The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and approaches appropriate to their field of study.
The ability to apply discipline-based knowledge and skills to their field of study or profession.
The ability to be a reflective, self-directed, and accountable learner. 
The ability to collaborate respectfully and effectively with diverse peoples and groups in local and global contexts.
The ability to understand Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges, histories and experiences, and their impacts, and apply critical reflective practice to influence social change.
The ability to engage critically with social issues and work with community in ways that recognise the dignity of the human person and advance the common good.
The ability to critically analyse and evaluate one's own ideas and those of others and to synthesise information to formulate clear and well-reasoned positions.
The ability to use critical thinking to address practical problems and support decision making. 
The ability to locate and assess the authority and relevance of information from a range of sources, including scholarly, research-based evidence and the media, and reference them appropriately.
The ability to use a range of information communication technologies effectively in personal, academic, and professional contexts.
The ability to present information and ideas effectively in a variety of written genres to diverse audiences.
The ability to present information and ideas effectively in a variety of spoken genres to diverse audiences.

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