Master's Capstone Unit: Theological Synthesis
(72 points)


Rev. Dr Phillip Gleeson SDB (coordinator)
Semesters 1 or 2, 2020
Days and times to be negotiated
The aim of this capstone unit is to assist students to demonstrate a sensitivity for and a familiarity with the overall structure of Catholic teaching, by producing a written synthesis of Catholic theology. In undertaking this task, students will draw on prior learning about theological topics such as Revelation, Ecclesiology, Theology of God, Christology, Trinity, Grace and Original Sin, Eucharist and the other Sacraments, Eschatology, Mariology and Christian Moral Response, to construct an integrated and mission-oriented account of the Church’s faith. This includes designing a thematic structure within which the various topics relate to each other, and indicating points within that structure for dialogue with the wider world, both in terms of the insights and challenges offered by secular learning, and in terms of the Gospel’s relevance to “the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and the anguish” of today’s world.

Census Dates

  • Semester 1: Tuesday 17 March
  • Semester 2: Tuesday 18 August 


may only be undertaken within the final two semesters of the Master of Theology (Coursework) or the Master of Theological Studies.


mixed: regular contact with Supervisor, independent research and writing 


  • one 1,000-word report (synthesis plan and sample chapter) 5%
  • one 20,000-word essay (synthesis including footnotes) 70%
  • one 1-hour oral examination by two examiners (4,000 words) 25% 


  • Beattie, Tina. The New Atheists: The Twilight of Reason and the War on Religion. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007.
  • Fiorenza, Francis S., and John P. Galvin, eds. Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011.
  • German Bishops’ Conference. The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults. Edited by Mark Jordan. Translated by Stephen W. Arndt. Communio Books. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1987.
  • Hession, Anne, and Patricia Kieran, eds. Exploring Theology: Making Sense of the Catholic Tradition. Dublin: Veritas, 2007.
  • Lyons, Adrian. Imagine Believing: Explorations in Contemporary Faith. Melbourne: David Lovell, 2003.
  • McBrien, Richard P. Catholicism. Rev. ed. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994.
  • O’Collins, Gerald. Jesus our Redeemer: A Christian Approach to Salvation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Rahner, Karl. Foundations of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity. Translated by William V. Dych. New York: Crossroad, 1978.
  • Ratzinger, Joseph. Introduction to Christianity. Rev. ed. Translated by J. R. Foster. Communio Books. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2004. 
  • Thornhill, John. Making Australia: Exploring our National Conversation. Newtown, NSW: Millennium Books, 1992.