John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family


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Institution at a glance:
Institution type:
Private Institute
Year of foundation:
Field of study:
Institution description:

The John Paul II Institute for Marriage & Family is located in Melbourne, Australia. It offers unique opportunities for postgraduate study in:

  • The theology of marriage and family
  • Bioethics
  • Religious education and catechetics
  • The theology of psychology and counselling.

The mission of the Institute is to promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community, within the context of higher education in Australia and education in theology.

The Institute offers students—lay people, religious and priests—a scholarly formation within the Catholic tradition. It specialises in the study of marriage and family, integrating an understanding of contemporary culture and the human sciences with the theological and philosophical teachings of the Catholic Church.

The John Paul II Institute in Melbourne was established in 2001. It is one of eleven full sessions and affiliated institutions worldwide of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, which has its central session in Rome.

The Pontifical Institute and its campuses around the world were personally created by Pope (now Saint) John Paul II in order to deepen the theological, pastoral, cultural and ethical responses by the Church to the challenges which confront the dignity of the human person, marriage and family.

Students at the Institute in Melbourne benefit from expert tuition, offered by permanent staff as well as international lecturers who visit on a regular basis. One of our strengths is our world-renowned faculty—the learning, teaching and research at the Institute are informed by rigorous scholarship and diverse intellectual perspectives.

The Institute in Melbourne also includes a special focus on Bioethics, especially as it relates to respect for the dignity of the human person, for marriage and the natural family in the medical sciences and the delivery of health care.

The Institute has attracted students not only from all over Australia, but from South East Asia, North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Africa.

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority has registered the Institute in Melbourne as a private higher education provider and accredited its courses. The Institute is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.

Mission Statement

To promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community, within the context of higher education in Australia and education in theology.

“The salvation of the individual, as well as of the human and Christian society itself, is intimately connected with the health and wellbeing of marriage and the family.”

(Gaudium et Spes §47, statement by the Second Vatican Council, quoted by Pope John Paul II in the Apostolic Constitution of the JPII Institute, Magnum Matrimonii Sacramentum)

Our Philosophy

The Institute studies the spiritual, moral, ethical and cultural concepts and issues foundational to an integrated and Christian view of the human person, and gives particular attention to the advanced study of marriage and family within a context of a 'Culture of Life'.

Central to the Institute's philosophy is an understanding of the human person as belonging to a community of persons, founded upon the idea of the 'Trinitarian mystery'—that is, upon the human being and human community imaging and revealing the fruitful and equal relationship of love between the persons of the Holy Trinity.

The Institute engages in the study of contemporary culture and the human sciences in light of an understanding of marriage (the 'nuptial mystery') as the basis of Christian anthropology and the communion of God’s people, of a morality of love and excellence, and of a vocation of love and happiness.

Our Goals

  • To advance the theological, philosophical, pastoral and bioethical study of marriage and family and the development of culture and technology that affects marriage and family life.
  • To enable individuals to achieve personal growth and fulfilment by deepening their understanding of marriage and family, so that they can provide effective leadership and pastoral support within their professional and personal lives and in that way contribute to strengthening the family as the basic unit of society.
  • To address issues from a sound and reasoned theological viewpoint and to offer society opportunities for dialogue with a tradition and values that have been refined over centuries.
  • To meet the demands of the Church and its agencies, including the health, welfare and education sectors, for personnel who have acquired knowledge and skills that equip them for leadership with respect to promoting marriage and family life.
  • To increase in the wider community social, cultural and international knowledge, skills and attitudes that assist in strengthening the family unit and hence society.
  • To contribute to the democratic and civil order for the purpose of protecting a just society in which every person is held to have inherent human dignity and equal and inalienable rights.
  • To contribute to the wider community by seeking collaboration with other organisations, institutions, business and government for the purpose of promoting marriage and family.
  • To engage with the community to enhance spiritual and material human wellbeing through promoting marriage and family.

Our Graduates

The Institute produces graduates of the highest calibre, who are able to provide effective leadership and pastoral care within their professional and personal lives to promote and strengthen the family as the basic unit of society. We prepare our graduates to teach or conduct research in academic, seminary and diocesan settings, and to work in various professional occupations on support of marriage and the family.

The philosophy, resources and teaching at the Institute are directed at nurturing graduates with the following attributes and values:

Intellectual Attributes

  • Critical and analytical abilities.
  • Enthusiasm to search for further knowledge and understanding of the human condition and of our relationship to the Creator.
  • Open-mindedness and receptiveness to new ideas.
  • Expertise in chosen academic field.

Professional Attributes

  • Knowledge and skills to meet relevant professional requirements.
  • Understanding of, and commitment to, professional ethical standards and the particular dimension that the intersection of faith and reason brings to being personally committed to professional excellence in service to others as a work of faith, hope and love.
  • Information literacy, communication and interpersonal skills.


  • Commitment to values consistent with the Institute’s Mission, especially in service to marriage and family.
  • A spirit of service to the community.
  • Commitment to good citizenship, including respect for individuals, empathy with persons of differing cultural and religious backgrounds, community responsibility and concern for the environment.
  • A high regard for equity and human rights understood in terms of the social teaching of the Church and respect for the dignity of each person.

These attributes and values serve as the basis for developing and reviewing the outcomes of each course provided by the Institute, and are adapted to the context of each course and field of study.

Institution features:

Overview of our Courses

The Institute offers a range of courses, including Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master's and PhD degrees, with each course articulating to the next level of study.

The pages within this section provide details on the different levels of study available and the subjects that are offered. For each course, the time-period given represents the minimum period of full-time study needed. Part-time study is also an option for all courses.

The following model shows the typical study pathways for students of the Institute:

Typical Pathways for Courses

Typical Pathways for Courses 2011 850px

As shown in the model, there are two points of entry, depending on a student's academic background and professional or other experience. For students who do not wish to proceed to a Master's degree, there are two points of exit to accommodate varying professional circumstances.

*Note that the requirements are somewhat different for the Master of Sacred Theology, where there are additional requirements to satisfy the regulations for the award of Pontifical Degrees.

#Note that some subjects are classified as advanced subjects and require the student to have completed or have been given credit for the prerequisite subjects specified. A student without 4th year level subjects begins a Masters by first taking eight subjects to complete assessment at the level of a Graduate Diploma (JP5xx). After completing eight subjects at that level (or having been given credit for them), students then complete the further eight subjects, doing assessment at the Master’s level (JP6xx).

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