Welcome to the Catholic Institute of Sydney (CIS)
I am pleased to introduce you to CIS and the different possibilities it may provide for those of you who are interested in theological and related studies, be it in a manner of formal studies, like those undertaken by candidates for ordination to the priesthood or permanent diaconate in the Catholic Church or for various kinds of ministry in the Church or for personal enrichment.
The Institute is one of the oldest tertiary educational places in the country. Theology and Philosophy have been taught continuously since the 1880s, when St Patrick’s College Manly was established for the education of students for the priesthood.
In 1954 we were granted the status of an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Theology by the Holy See: the Facultas Theologica Syndneyensis for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. As such, we are governed by the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium (which in 2019 updated the previous Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana) and our own Statutes. We are the only such faculty in Australia.
In 1996 the Institute relocated from Manly to the present campus in Strathfield. CIS is a founding member of the Sydney College of Divinity, whose first degrees were awarded in 1983. We continue to teach their awards.
CIS offers courses leading to accredited awards in theology and philosophy. As an ecclesiastical faculty and a member of the Sydney College of Divinity, it has a unique place in theological education in Australia. The ecclesiastical awards offered by the Institute include the five-year STB (a Baccalaureate of Theology), the STL (a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, equivalent to a Master’s degree at a secular university) and the STD (a Doctorate in Sacred Theology).
In terms of the secular degrees offered at CIS, the three-year Bachelor of Theology (BTh) is the most popular as it gives both breadth and depth in the study of theology and related disciplines. It is possible to take one year of the BTh and graduate with a Diploma of Christian Studies (DipChSt), or after two years to graduate with the Associate Degree in Christian Thought and Practice (AssocDegChThPr). The Graduate Certificate in Arts and Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies are both short, graduate, foundational courses in theology. The Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Theological Studies (MThSt) are best suited to those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-theological discipline but wish to undertake theological studies.
Students come from a diversity of cultures and of backgrounds and include seminarians, teachers, pastoral workers, and many others keen to deepen their understanding of the faith and to explore the way it is lived in contemporary Australia.
A large number of full-time students are studying for ordination to priesthood in the Catholic Church. They come from a variety of dioceses and religious communities both locally and internationally. Other students are currently, or will eventually, be engaged in some form of ministry in the Church. For students the experience of studying theology has contributed to a deepening of their faith.
Our academic staff are highly qualified and have scholarly interests that range across the various philosophical, theological and biblical disciplines. Both the riches of the Catholic philosophical and theological tradition as well as the best of contemporary scholarship inform their teaching and academic supervision of research students.
As faculty, we specialise in the face-to-face mode of teaching, and place a high value on the quality of the learning experience in the classroom. Our students appreciate the possibility of engaging directly with lecturers and with their fellow students. We endeavour to provide a vibrant learning community, which stimulates enquiry and facilitates deep learning.
The Institute’s library, the Veech Library, is regarded as one of the finest collections of materials relating to theology and Catholic life in Australia.
Once again, welcome to the Catholic Institute of Sydney and may you enjoy your studies and your time at the Institute!
Prof Isabell Naumann ISSM
Catholic Institute of Sydney