The Core at ACU is made up of three units in your Undergraduate (Bachelor) degree: two University Core Curriculum units (see below) and one Community Engagement unit, which is indicated in your Course Map. While studying Core Curriculum units, 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 in intensive mode.

The Core Curriculum 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.

Find out more on the Core Curriculum website.


Core Curriculum Units

Unit 1 (choose one)

Refer to your Course Map for the recommended time to study Core Curriculum Unit 1.

Click on the unit to see the description and available offerings.

UNCC100 information

  • 10 cp
  • Prerequisites: Nil
  • Incompatible: PHCC102 Being Human, PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life
  • Teaching organisation: this unit involves 90 hours of focused learning. A range of learning and teaching strategies appropriate to the campus and mode of delivery and its interdisciplinary and team teaching methodology will be utilised. The unit will be offered in face to face, intensive and fully online modes.

Is polluting our environment done for the common good?

Does perpetuating discrimination respect the dignity of the individual?

These are just two examples of the many real challenges we face as individuals functioning as members of our community. They highlight the fact that as humans, we are all individuals, and yet none of us lives in isolation. The African concept of ‘ubuntu’ is helpful here: “I am what I am, because of who we are” – this concept is consistent with the principles of Catholic social thought. Understanding these principles helps us to determine how issues relating to the dignity of the human person and the realization of the common good may be addressed in our personal and professional lives now and in the future.

This knowledge and understanding is a foundation for the development of the skills needed to be able to propose ways to address challenges where shared responsibility for the common good is not being realized. Given the pervasiveness of such problems in our community, addressing this need is important to our success as a community in realizing a more just world – and your role as an individual who can, and must, be part of that.

In this unit students will first learn what the principles of Catholic Social thought are, then they will build on this knowledge by developing their understanding of how these principles relate to their own life and their own community. Lastly, they will apply this understanding in a reflection on how these principles are relevant to their professional context at a local level.

This unit aims to equip students with knowledge and understanding of the ideas of "self" and "community" as interrelated concepts in the context of nine principles of Catholic Social Thought and develop basic skills to enable them to contribute to a more just society.

UNCC100 offerings

View the 2021 Offerings

PHCC102 - information

  • 10 cp
  • Prerequisites: Nil
  • Incompatible: UNCC100 Self and Community: Exploring the anatomy of modern society, PHIL102 Theories of Human Nature, PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life
  • Teaching organisation: This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, and will be offered in both semester attendance mode, and intensive mode. Different modes are required in order to provide all students with the opportunity to satisfy their Core Curriculum requirements in the context of a diverse range of course structures across the University. Semester attendance mode allows students to develop their understanding and engagements across an extended period, while intensive mode offers a more concentrated experience with students completing readings and activities in LEO during and shortly after extended class meetings.

This unit, which is part of ACU’s Core Curriculum, introduces students to philosophical reflection concerning what it is to be a human being. Students examine key concepts, theories and debates relating to a range of important themes in this area, such as the nature of mind and its relation to the body; the basis of personal identity and the ’self’; the relationship between rationality and emotion; the meaning and extent of personal freedom; the inter–personal nature of being human; the significance of gender & sexuality; considerations about the meaning of life; and the implications of human finitude and mortality. The unit aims to assist students to develop an understanding of key philosophical concepts and theories that allow them to reflect on their beliefs and assumptions, and to engage with the views of others. It also looks to enhance students’ skills in critical reflection on experience, the analysis of arguments, and the formulation and communication of coherent positions of their own.

PHCC102 offerings

View the 2021 offerings

PHCC104 Information

  • 10 cp
  • Prerequisites Nil
  • Incompatible: UNCC100 Self and Community: Exploring the anatomy of modern society, PHIL104 Introduction to Ethics, PHCC102 Being Human
  • Teaching organisation: This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, and will be offered in both semesters in attendance mode, and intensive mode. Different modes are required in order to provide all students with the opportunity to satisfy their Core Curriculum requirements in the context of a diverse range of course structures across the University. Semester attendance mode allows students to develop their understanding and engagements across an extended period, while intensive mode offers a more concentrated experience with students completing readings and activities in LEO during and shortly after extended class meetings.

This unit, which is part of ACU’s Core Curriculum, introduces students to philosophical reflection concerning some fundamental questions in ethics. Students explore a selection of key issues in metaethics concerning the nature of the good, the concept of moral responsibility, and problems in moral psychology concerning freedom, emotion, conscience, and intentions. Theories of normative ethics are also introduced, such as those based on duty, consequences, virtue, and natural law. Finally, students engage in philosophical exploration of practical moral problems drawn from fields such as business and professional ethics, environmental ethics, bioethics, the ethics of war, and/or issues in interpersonal relationships. Through reading some key historical and contemporary texts in moral philosophy, students are encouraged to identify, articulate and think through their own positions concerning the nature and complexities of the moral life, and to engage with the views of others. It also aims to enhance students’ skills in critical reflection on experience, the analysis of arguments, and the formulation and communication of coherent positions of their own.

PHCC104 offerings

View the 2021 offerings

Unit 2 (choose one)

Refer to your Course Map for the recommended time to study Core Curriculum Unit 2

Click on the unit to see the description and available offerings

UNCC300 information

  • 10 cp
  • Prerequisites UNCC100: Self and Community: Exploring the anatomy of modern society or, PHCC102 Being Human or, PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life
  • Incompatible units : UNCC301 Humanity in Catholic History and Culture, UNCC302 Human Dignity in International Context, PHCC320 The Just Society
  • Teaching organisation: This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. A range of learning and teaching strategies appropriate to the campus and mode of delivery and its interdisciplinary and team teaching methodology will be utilised. The unit will be offered in face to face, intensive and fully online modes, as well as offshore intensives.

‘Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan‘. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home, p.122)

Pope Francis challenges us to extend our thinking across new ways in which the relationship between self and community can be realised. In achieving a global consensus on the nature of our relationship to each other and the world in which we live, Pope Francis calls for a renewed emphasis on the dignity of the human person as the basis of all action, advocacy and solidarity. Universal fraternity and aspirations for the common good begin with a basic recognition that we need one another. In this unit you should develop your understanding of the dignity of the human person within the context of a global community. You should develop skills that may assist the cooperative efforts of government, business, faith groups, and not-for-profit agencies to achieve a more just and equitable world. On completion of this unit you should have acquired the skills and knowledge to become an active agent for change in an interconnected and interdependent world. This unit is the second of two units which are part of the University Core Curriculum.

UNCC300 Offerings

View the 2021 Offerings

PHCC320 information

  • 10 cp
  • Prerequisites: Nil
  • Incompatible units: UNCC300 Justice and Change in a Global World, PHIL320 Ethics, Justice and the Good Society
  • Teaching organisation: this unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, and will be offered in both semesters in attendance mode, and intensive mode. Different modes are required in order to provide all students with the opportunity to satisfy their Core Curriculum requirements in the context of a diverse range of course structures across the University. Semester attendance mode allows students to develop their understanding and engagements across an extended period, while intensive mode offers a more concentrated experience with completing readings and activities in LEO during and shortly after extended class meetings.

We live in a time of great social, ethical, and political uncertainty. This unit, which may be taken as part of ACU’s Core Curriculum, responds to this context by leading students into an engagement with a range of contemporary philosophical debates and perspectives on the nature of the good society. It provides them with the knowledge and analytical skills to participate constructively in dialogue regarding matters of fundamental social importance. Students engage in careful examination of some key concepts, theories, and debates concerning issues such as the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits of society, the rights and duties of individuals and communities in local and global contexts, and the understanding and implementation of basic freedoms in areas such as speech, religion, and opportunity. In so doing, the meaning and contours of key ideas such as human dignity, social justice, human solidarity and human value are explored. The unit provides students with an opportunity to develop a scholarly and integrated personal account of the good society that draws directly on contemporary moral, social, and political philosophy, including some key themes in Catholic social thought.

PHCC320 offerings

View the 2021 Offerings

Study the Core Curriculum overseas

Some Core Curriculum units may be offered overseas. The Study Overseas site has general information about the Overseas experience including accommodation, financial support, and example itineraries.

The Student Portal site contains specific information about the overseas options in 2021 with specific dates, costs and application deadlines.

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