The University of Notre Dame

A university with values

The University of Notre Dame embraces both the modern Australian university tradition and the ancient and esteemed traditions of Catholic universities both in Europe and North America.

The University was founded through an Act of the Parliament of Western Australia in December 1989. Since its inception, Notre Dame has become a leader in higher education and now boasts more than 11,000 students enrolled across its three campuses in Fremantle, Sydney and Broome.

It has sought to be a university which specialises in excellence of undergraduate education. Its focus is the education and training of young people for entry to the major professions: medicine, law, teaching, nursing, accounting and finance, physiotherapy, counselling, health sciences and the priesthood.

The University is especially noteworthy for its role as a leader in the great traditional professional disciplines of Health and Education, so long associated with the mission of the Church in Australia. It has also assumed a special role in the education of, and service to, the indigenous people of northern Australia.

Core Curriculum

Notre Dame’s Core Curriculum brings all of its students together under one banner. The Core places the life of the mind (often called the ‘intellectual life’) proudly to the fore in every one of the degree courses. The Core asks: ‘how does developing our grasp of knowledge and truth change us, our workplaces, our families and our choices?’.

The Core exists in distinctive versions on the three Campuses. All versions draw on the riches of philosophical and theological thought.

Philosophy seeks to clarify the truth about the human person, God, our world, and our conduct.

Theology approaches similar questions through different texts and in the light of the faith position of one particular religious tradition.

Ethics is concerned with three interrelated themes: what we value as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; what we regard as ‘virtuous’ or ‘vicious’ behaviour, or character; and what we define by rule as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to protect ourselves and society from harm and promote the health and well-being of the community.

Undertaking the Core Curriculum requires no previous study, experience or religious commitment. Philosophy and theology are academic subjects and taught in the Core at introductory level.

The Core aims to achieve a real change in students’ understanding and choices. It aims to do so by:

  • Developing the capacity for critical reflection and reasoned argument.
  • Introducing intriguing theories and concepts concerning human persons, our search for meaning and truth and our attempts to base social life on reason and morality.
  • Introducing themes from the Greco-Roman philosophical tradition and the best of Christian and secular reflection on that tradition.
  • Discussing the relationship between faith and reason.

As a Catholic University, it pursues its objectives through its formation of an authentic human community animated by the spirit of Christ. The source of its unity springs from a common dedication to the truth, a common vision of the dignity of the human person and, ultimately, the person and message of Christ which gives the Institution its distinctive character

As a Catholic university committed to the provision of excellent pastoral care, Notre Dame seeks to promote and enhance the well-being of each individual student; to help them achieve wholeness as a human person. Notre Dame does this through the provision of an integrative education, a personalised educational experience for every student, and providing opportunities and an environment in which students are encouraged to grow and develop in all aspects of their life: personal, social, physical, mental and spiritual.

In a nutshell, the University seeks to be an outstanding Australian university and one of the best Catholic universities in the world.

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