Welcome from the National Head of School

Image of Prof. Renee Kohler-RyanProfessor Renée Köhler-Ryan

Welcome to the School of Philosophy and Theology.

The School stands at the heart of a tradition that goes back to the origin of Universities. These institutions began, after all, when philosophers and theologians decided to form communities dedicated to the quest for truth. As one generation of scholars grew, it conveyed its findings to the next – at the same time responding to new knowledge and needs of the age. Those centres of learning sought nothing less than to discover the rich and complex dimensions of what it means to be human. From their discussions it emerged that human persons are motivated by reasons, that they are inspired by what they love, they want to know the meaning of freedom, and are capable of becoming virtuous and of contemplating what is true, beautiful, and good. As universities have changed, this vision has sometimes been challenged and even disjointed, but it remains the foundation of any Catholic University expressed by St. John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University.

The School of Philosophy and Theology strives to contribute to the tradition of those beginnings. We have the privilege of meeting and working with all students as they study the Core Curriculum. Together with them, in our Philosophy classes we investigate reality; in our Ethics classes what it means to know and do what is good; and in our Theology classes we think through the implications of divine Revelation. Working within the Catholic Intellectual Tradition entails investigating arguments critically and generously, from every angle. At the same time it acknowledges that faith opens up avenues of thought that would otherwise remain closed.

We look forward to meeting all our students in the Core Curriculum. We also welcome those who undertake full degrees in Philosophy and Theology – whether as undergraduates or postgraduates. We encourage applicants to consider a double degree including one or more of our disciplines, to choose a major housed within the School, or to take our electives.

We are immensely proud of our Higher Degree by Research students, who contribute to knowledge that both broadens and deepens our investigation of vital questions that philosophers and theologians continue to ask.

Likewise, our postgraduate coursework students earn Graduate Certificates, Diplomas, and Masters degrees by engaging with timeless ideas, applying them to our age and to their workplaces. Many undertake a postgraduate course as a form of professional development, particularly within the education sector.

High school students interested in testing the waters of university life and study of philosophy might be interested in our annual programs for high school students. Altogether, graduates who have studied philosophy and theology are armed with critical thinking skills and the ability to think imaginatively and creatively. They are uniquely placed to make a difference in the world. We especially welcome those who come to studies later in their lives and careers, for the sheer joy of it. Finally, we welcome all who join us at the School of Philosophy and Theology at the various stages of their studies.

- Professor Renée Köhler-Ryan