An ACU education is about your integral human development. You are more than your degree.

It’s learning to look at the world with empathy and confidence. It’s learning to listen and lead. It’s challenging stereotypes, and having the courage to make an impact.

Understanding ourselves and seeing the world through the eyes of others

The university’s Core Curriculum lies at the heart of this transformation. It’s a key part of every ACU student’s education, giving you time to reflect on what it is to be human, our common social life and ways we can change the world in important ways.

About the Core Curriculum

In undertaking Core units at ACU, you’ll be in classes with students from other disciplines, ensuring different viewpoints and lively debate.

Core units can be taken face-to-face, online, or intensively. There’s even the chance to complete a unit (UNCC300) overseas.

The Core is unique to ACU. It will challenge you to see the world from different perspectives and engage with the world in a meaningful and transformative way.

Core Curriculum structure

The Core Curriculum is comprised of three units:

  1. two coursework units, drawn from either the Catholic social thought (UNCC) or philosophy (PHCC) streams.
  2. one community engagement unit that is specific to each program, serving to draw the Core Curriculum experience together and offering students an opportunity to live the Core Curriculum in action.

These units are fully integrated within your course of study

Community engagement unit: Each faculty at ACU has its own arrangements in place for community engagement. For details, see your Course Enrolment Guide, and check with your course coordinator if you have any questions.

Coursework units: You have a choice about which coursework units you select from which stream. See the course map in your Course Enrolment Guide for details on when you enrol in your Core Curriculum units. 

Choose ONE unit from:

and ONE unit from:

Catholic social thought stream

The two UNCC units (UNCC100 and UNCC300) focus specifically on applying the principles of Catholic social thought.

These principles include:

  • the dignity of the human person: every person has value, is worthy of great respect and must be free from slavery, manipulation and exploitation
  • solidarity: we are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences
  • the common good: everyone should have access to what they need to live a fulfilling life
  • rights and responsibilities: every person has a fundamental right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are responsibilities, to one another, to our families, and to the larger society
  • stewardship of the earth: it is our collective responsibility to care for the world we inhabit.

Catholic Social Thought has informed the development of universal approaches to human rights and justice in the 20th and 21st centuries. It is closely aligned with the most fundamental principles of many of the world’s religions and has influenced the codes of practice for many of our professions.

Philosophy stream

The three philosophy units (PHCC102, PHCC104, PHCC320) also draw students into thinking about major issues of relevance to the Catholic tradition of social thought, but they do so by dealing more basically with questions about what it means to be human, what it means to act well, and what a just society looks like. This includes things like:

  • being human: mind and body; reason and emotion; gender and sexuality; personal identity; individual and community; freedom and limitation; meaning and fulfilment; race and ethnicity; natality and mortality
  • the good life: ethics and reason; ethics and feeling; moral absolutes and moral relativity; rules, consequences and virtues; applying ethical thinking to difficult practical situations
  • the just society: politics and the good society; wealth distribution and equal opportunity; public ethics and the law; work and the good life; personal freedom and harming others; taking a global view.

The philosophy units give you the opportunity to engage in reflection and discussion about major contemporary issues, and training in broad critical thinking skills applicable to a range of professions. 

Further detail

Read more about the university Core Curriculum units:

Course enrolment guides

International Core Curriculum study options 

The Core Curriculum offers a range of exclusive study abroad opportunities – in cities such as Rome, London, Beijing or New York.

Study the Core Curriculum overseas

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