Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation)

The brightest minds exploring the biggest questions.

Study a Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) with ACU – an exciting course opening up the intellectual tradition and culture of the West. Scholarships available.

It is a liberal arts degree that will give ambitious students a deep understanding of western literature, philosophy, art, politics, religion, science and history, and how these help us to understand our world and the dialogue between cultures.

As an exceptional and high-achieving student, you will study with an intellectually motivated group of peers dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and academic enquiry. The Ramsay Centre is funding 30 scholarships valued at $30,000 per year ($90,000 total) across the duration of your degree.

Applications open 7 April for Semester 2 2021. Applications close 31 May.

Learn more and apply 

What you will study

Throughout this degree you will explore the past, present and future of western intellectual life and culture through immersion in some of the key literary, philosophical, artistic, religious, political and scientific works that have shaped the western intellectual tradition from antiquity to the present.

This unique liberal arts degree is centred on a ‘great books’ approach to the study of western civilisation. You’ll delve into works by Plato and Aristotle; Augustine and Aquinas; Da Vinci and Michelangelo; Homer and Shakespeare; Locke and Hume; Dickens and Tolstoy – and you will also critically discuss, carefully critique, and debate their enduring influence.

As you progress through the course, you will develop a deep understanding of the key ideas and principles that have defined – and continue to define – western culture and which have significantly shaped the wider world.

At a time when the ideas of democracy, the rule of law, the scientific method, freedom of speech and religion, and the rights and dignity of the individual, are being called into question, a liberal arts education will immerse you in the serious study of how these hard-won ideas emerged over millennia.

Course structure

The Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) features 14 core units focused on the western intellectual and cultural legacy, with emphasis on the disciplines of literature, philosophy, history and politics. You will also undertake an eight-unit major drawn from a selection of existing Bachelor of Arts sequences, including drama, English, history, philosophy, politics and international relations, psychology, sociology, theological studies, or visual arts. Finally, you will undertake a community engagement placement experience, and one general elective.

Why study this course

Students learning about and discussing western literature, philosophy, art, politics, religion, science and history.

You will study a rich liberal arts degree with some of the brightest students and scholars in Australia. We are committed to a personal learning approach, and the 14 core units will be delivered in small seminars of around 10 students, allowing in-depth, guided discussion.

You will develop skills greatly valued by contemporary employers across a range of professions: clear communication, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving – skills that will allow you to navigate the complexities of the modern world, and to make your own contributions to our common future.


The Ramsay Centre is funding 30 generous scholarships valued at up to $90,000 ($30,000 per year of the degree). This scholarship supports students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) at the North Sydney Campus. It includes funding for an optional international study experience, and an early payment to help offset start-up costs such as relocation and accommodation.

Scholarships are granted based on academic merit and alignment with Ramsay attributes – such as leadership qualities, commitment to enrichment of society, and critical habit of mind – and ACU’s mission and focus – such as commitment to the dignity of the human person and the common good.

Scholarship applications are now closed.

Scholarship FAQs

ACU living and learning communities

While this course is offered at our North Sydney Campus, we encourage applications from all across Australia. With the support of one of the Ramsay Centre’s generous scholarships, you may wish to consider staying at our student accommodation in Sydney, the Miguel Cordero Residence (MCR).

ACU living and learning community students enjoying student accommodation in Sydney.

Miguel Cordero Residence (MCR)

MCR is located in Camperdown in Sydney’s inner west – the vibrant cultural hub of the city.

Frequently asked questions

We’ve rounded up some common FAQs for the Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation). 

Course FAQs

Scholarship FAQs

Learning outcomes

On completion of the Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) you will be able to:

  • Articulate a broad and coherent knowledge of the great works of the western canon and a selected humanities, arts or social science discipline.
  • Explain the literary, social, historical, philosophical, political, aesthetic, scientific, religious and ethical ideas and movements in texts drawn from, and related to, the western intellectual tradition.
  • Evaluate knowledge from diverse sources and communicate complex ideas and findings with sophistication and confidence to a range of audiences.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge and skills to understand complex, real-world issues, informed by western and other traditions, including the rich perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge and skills to formulate intellectually grounded, evidence-based judgments about history and the modern world.

Career outcomes

The Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) provides you with rigorous training in a range of skills that are immediately transferable to the contemporary workforce. Career outcomes are diverse and include research and policy work for government and NGOs, publishing and editing, work with arts and cultural organisations, and careers as university scholars. 

How to apply

Applications are now closed.

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