Catholic Life for students

Congratulations on considering joining a great Australian Catholic university as one of our newest students.

Catholic universities have existed for hundreds of years throughout the world, though only since 1990 in Australia. You will notice some differences in a Catholic university. For example, our buildings proudly display symbols of the Catholic faith; our ceremonies and public events take place inside the prayer and ritual of the Catholic Church; many of our staff and students are enthusiastic about their Catholic faith and life; we have excellent Chaplaincies, Campus Ministry and Schools of Philosophy and Theology. Many of our staff and students are not Catholic, but thoroughly enjoy living and working within our Catholic environment.

From a student point of view, two things in particular stand out about Notre Dame as a Catholic university.

First, we are proudly committed to following the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock. This means we offer extremely high levels of pastoral care, support and advice—particularly when you need it most. We do not interfere with your freedom or impose care upon you; but we offer it to you as a fellow-adult whenever you feel that some extra help or advice would be useful for you. We have tried to create a warm, family atmosphere in which many hundreds of young people will grow and flourish together. We think that you will appreciate this environment and come to value our shared life here at Notre Dame.

Secondly, our educational programmes reflect the Catholic intellectual tradition and it is important for you to understand what this means. We teach everything you would expect to find in any Australian university and everything you require for professional accreditation and excellent employment prospects at the end of your studies. Most of our degree programmes also incorporate relevant material derived from centuries of Catholic academic thinking (in healthcare, education, business, law, the arts and other disciplines). We teach you this material where academics (including non-Catholics at work in non-Catholic universities) regard it as relevant and of high quality. The superb Notre Dame learning experience brings you the best study programmes available reflecting the richness of Catholic thought and practice.

In addition, all students study a “core curriculum” drawn from the disciplines of philosophy and theology. These core curriculum studies aim to prepare students for thinking through their own core beliefs and choices, now and in the future.

Extremely high levels of pastoral care and programmes which build on the riches of past and present while preparing you for life and work are our specialty. If you have any questions about this information, you should contact the Prospective Students Office and ask to speak to someone about Catholic intellectual life at Notre Dame.