Bachelor of Arts (Social and Religious Studies)

Program Code: BA (Social and Religious Studies)

Requisites to complete the award

Achievement of 320 credit points or 40 credit points each semester.

Those who have done DYD are eligible to apply for BA Social and Religious Studies for a two year studies.

Duration of study

The main program of the Department is the four-year Bachelor of Arts (Social and Religious Studies) Degree.

Study mode and location

Students can apply for a Full time study (4 years) and live on campus or they can also apply for full time study and live off campus.

Pre- requisites

Minimum of ‘B’ in Grade 12 level subjects

Positive character references

Consideration is given to those who have been working successfully in religious-related fields. Evidence of such work should accompany the application form. In general, the Department is ready to recognize formal training in religious congregations to be a genuine professional equivalent in the field of academic religious development. Such programs should have included reflection on and genuine learning in scriptural, theological and pastoral subjects with a view to service within the PNG Churches. Such training needs to be at least on the platform of a successful completion of Grade 10, with evidence of further study and work experience and attendance at in-services.


Program Unit

First Year

Semester One

RS131  Hebrew Scriptures
RS133  General Psychology
RS234  Christian Ethics
IS117    End-User Computing and Word Processing

Semester Two
RS143   Counseling
RS146   Foundations of Social Work
RS244   Social and Ethical Issues
IS113     Spread Sheet Management


Second Year

Semester One
RS237   New Testament Literature
RS239   Social Work Theory and Practice
RS247   Pastoral Catechesis
RS248   Church History: Ancient

Semester Two

RS238   Christian Anthropology
RS240   Church History: Modern
RS245   Youth Social Work
RS246   Life Span Issues in Counseling


Third Year

Semester One
RS327   Johannine Literature
RS329   Counseling and Disorders
RS332   Melanesian Wisdom (E)
PG303   Community Development and Practice

Semester Two
RS331   Church Teachings on Social Justice
PG309   Social Policies of Community Development
CA319   Social Science Research Methods
BS317   Human Resource Management


Fourth Year

Semester One
RS322   Marriage and Family Issues
RS418   Social Themes in Pauline Literature
RS420   Research Proposal Writing
RS422   Pastoral Care of the Sick and Terminally Ill

Semester Two
RS419   Church as Communion of Communities (E)
RS417   Management Communication and Development
RS424   Prophesy and Poetry
RS416   Supervised Research Project


Reserve Units

RS145   Book of Revelation
RS326   Physical and Human Geography
RS333   Liturgy: Symbolism and Meaning
RS410   Literature and Drama
RS425   Modern World History


Unit Descriptions


RS131 Hebrew Scriptures - 10 Credit Points

This unit examines the political, social and religious development of the people of Israel and their religion from the time of the patriarchs until the time of Jesus. It enables the students to form basic interpretations of the content, origin and significance of the Pentateuch and the Historical Books. In so doing, it introduces the students to the historical – critical method and recent approaches in biblical interpretation. An exegesis of selected texts will be undertaken. RS131 Hebrew Scriptures is part of the Social and Religious Studies Degree program. This unit enables students to gain insights of the unit analyze the political, social and religious development of Israel and their religion from the time of the patriarchs until the time of Jesus.


 RS133 General Psychology  - 10 Credit Points

This unit focuses on the student’s ability to understand themselves and other people’s behavior. It also contributes to deepening the scope of knowing oneself fully and others around in connection with their common humanity. Intrinsic to this unit is an approach that explains the human behavior in two ways: (a) The developmental approach that accounts for the process of growth and (b) the interactive approach, on the basis of what is presently happening in the matter of stimuli, bodily conditions and conflicting tendencies. General Psychology is part of the Social and Religious Studies Bachelor’s degree program. It is a unit that investigates the human behaviour and the interactions and responses it receives through stimuli. It embarks on study involving the human brain and its functions that carry electromagnetic waves through the central nervous system. In order for a healthy mindset and study environment, General Psychology stimulates the awareness of students to be receptive to different stimuli and their overall approach to such interactions that are occurring.


RS 234 Christian Ethics - 10 Credit Points

This unit requires students to critically understand and engage in discussions on ethical issues affecting one’s personal and professional life and the evaluation of these ethical issues from the Christian perspective. It is concerned about what is right, fair, just or good: about what we ought to do, not just what is the case or what is most acceptable or expedient. It explores the various ethical theories and principles and relates them to contemporary issues.


RS143 Counselling - 10 Credit Points

The Counselling unit is focused on the theory and practice of basic counselling. It aims to assist the student to assimilate and practice the many skills linked to better relating, helping others, dealing with stress, appreciating personal differences, supporting those in need and referring those who are beyond their capacity to help. One key part of the course is identifying various aspects of oneself so as to be able to assist others effectively. Self-understanding is a key to relating better with others, in all fields such as community development, working with youth or adult awareness programs. Hence the counseling unit is one foundation of the Social and Religious Studies program upon which is built community development and support.


RS146 Foundations of Social Work - 10 Credit Points

This unit introduces to students the social, political and economic frameworks to understand how problems are socially constructed. It enlightens the students on the changing conceptions social problems, and various theories are briefly explained. The unit further provides the various themes, nature and key features of social work. It exposes the importance of the role of social workers, in society, particularly in developing countries like PNG. The historical background of the development of social work is an integral part of this unit. The concept of welfare and welfare state are also introduced in this unit. Thus, this unit provides a solid conceptual framework for students to build up the social units that will follow in the program. This unit serves as a solid basis for understanding the theory of social work in more detail. While this unit is the starting point for understanding the grounds and relevance of social work, it complements the religious and personal development units in helping the student to comprehend the social dynamics. It also helps the student to be aware of his/her role in the future as a contributor to the development of the society. The unit thus complements the religious units by opening up a very clear way to practice the principles learned in the religious units of the program.


RS244 Social and Ethical Issues - 10 Credit Points

In this unit, students explore a range of social and ethical issues in Papua New Guinea today. This study includes an in-depth examination of the various contemporary social and ethical issues like abortion, domestic violence, rape, settlements and evictions, etc. Thus, by eliciting Christian insights into the social and ethical questions of the day, the unit will better equip students to contribute to the common good in whatever profession they choose.


RS237 New Testament Literature - 10 Credit Points

This unit provides a background of historical, social, political, religious and cultural information as a means of comprehending the New Testament. A study of the formation of the Gospels leads to an examination of the origin, nature and theology of one of the synoptic Gospels. Luke’s Gospel will be studied and the missionary activity of Paul in Acts. The birth of the early Church and the first missionary work of the apostles in Judaea and Samaria, the crisis caused by the entry of Gentiles into the first Christian communities and the missionary activity of Paul will be treated in studying the Acts of the Apostles. RS141 New Testament is part of the Social and Religious Studies Degree program. This unit enables students to gain insights of the unit on the formation of the Gospels. It will critically analyze the social, political and cultural aspects of the people and problems and difficulties encountered by the people.


RS239 Social Work Theory and Practice - 10 Credit Points

This unit provides the students with the opportunity to familiarise with the major current theoretical frameworks for social work practice. Based on the theories the unit engages the students in the application of the purpose, values, and ethics for social work practice in various contexts and fields. The students are also trained to critically analyse different theories and structures. As well, this unit deals with a variety of issues the social workers confront when working with people at different stages of life. This unit enables to students to go deeper in the understanding of the theories underlying the practice of social work. The unit adds to the strength of the program by enabling the student to critically analyse various social work theories in relation to the results of the social work practice being carried out in the society. Analysing and solving social problems on the theoretical level is significant for conceptual clarity. The students are thus equipped to perform better with other social and religious units in the program.


RS247 Pastoral Catechesis- 10 Credit Points

This unit is designed to enable students to plan and practise doing pastoral catechesis with Church Agencies in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The unit deals with various approaches to learning and teaching in a classroom setting with well-established pedagogical principles of classroom practice. Besides theory lessons on principles and methods of pastoral catechesis, students are given opportunity to teach at a local provincial high school each week using praxis methods. This is in view of preparing the students for future work in similar fields. The nature and aims of pastoral catechesis are examined and discussed in detail. Attention is given to learning and teaching techniques in presenting different aspects of pastoral catechesis and in the evaluation of lessons. This unit is an integral part of the Bachelor of Arts Degree Program within Social and Religious Studies. There has been a growing emphasis that agencies play a key role in preparing students to be productive and useful citizens of PNG. Hence, the unit envisages students will gain insights into the theory, methods and praxis of pastoral catechesis in PNG and develop a personal perspective on how best they can contribute to the pastoral and catechetical activities to meaningfully benefit the agency and the nation. Thus this unit complements other units offered in the program.


RS248 Church History - 10 Credit Points

This unit explores the systematic study of the Early Church as it developed from a humble movement to an institution in the First Centuries after Christ. By tracing its emergence, the unit gives the students an opportunity to see within the history an overarching development of ideologies and various systems of rule blended within the Church and gradual emergence of the State entity. Other notable topics include: persecutions and the impact of the conversion of Constantine, gnosticism and early forms of monastic life, early missionary movements of the Church that reached out to Persia, China and India, the development of faith-life in the Middle Ages, European Monasticism, the rise of papal power, conflicts and problems that led to the schism of the Church in the East and West and the genesis of Protestant Reformation. Church History is crucial much like other units within the Social and religious studies Bachelor’s degree program. It enlightens the students’ perception of the Church and its recorded history, how it has developed from a simple movement into an institutionalised Church, an elaborative exposition of the developments that took place in history and how these fundamental insights influence our society. The students will acquire the knowledge and skills to interrelate to the Church’s history as to how it is significant in the search for truth.


RS238 Christian Anthropology - 10 Credit Points

This unit explores the interrelationship between the human persons as homo sapiens and their interaction with their cosmology as deriving from an ancient wisdom (logos). Students explore the basic understanding of logos becoming Man, being part of the human society and assumed a culture in a given environment. The basic themes from the four Gospels that highlight the many facets of humanity and divinity of Jesus are examined in order to discern the primordial humanity to subsist in Jesus Christ. An exposition of the understanding of Jesus developed in the Christian Communities from the early centuries as expressed in the creeds and the contributions made by contemporary theologians further enhances the idea of Jesus. The redemptive act of God through Jesus reconciles the human person and the cosmos. Seeing this great salvific encounter in the light of Melanesian understanding of Christ strengthens the concept of Man in Melanesia. Christian Anthropology is an integral unit of the Social and religious studies Bachelor’s degree program. It enables the students to know about their origin and the relationship with their environment in the light of Jesus as the prototype human person. A careful examination of the positive characteristics of the human and the divine natures of Jesus can assist the students to interact with their notion of Man in Melanesia as finding its fullness in the person of Jesus Christ.


RS240 Church History: Modern - 10 Credit Points

This unit explores the history of the Christian Church from the beginning of Reformation to the present day. Students examine the eventual consequences such as religious, economic, social and politics led by Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. Besides this, yet crucial is the response to the Reformation by the Catholic Church, the emerging changes in the Christian Church coupled by the flowering of the missionary movements. Drawing from all these changes into the history, a special emphasis is placed on the foundation of Christian Churches in the Pacific and eventually in Papua New Guinea. Hence, the efforts of the Church to cope with the Enlightenment period, followed closely with the changes in the modern era including the impact of the Second Vatican Council and the major ecumenical resolutions, statements and proposals addressed in their conferences are accommodated too. This unit is integral to Social and religious studies Bachelor’s degree program. It enables the students to explore the importance of history that sprouts already from the period of Renaissance and through the Reformation into the present day. The events that follow after the great awakening and the expansion and growth of the Church into other parts of the world are treated. Having conceived the main trends in Church History, students are led to critically look at the arrival of the various Churches into Melanesia and the teachings that surrounds the Church through the Vatican Council II and the World Ecumenical Council of Churches.


RS245 Youth Social Work - 10 Credit Points

This unit examines the meaning of youth social work and its operation in PNG today. It explores the stages in the psychological and faith development of adolescents and young adults and the dimensions of their spirituality. A study of the various cultures that young people have experienced in the past and experience in contemporary society is associated with the means of carrying out useful activities for youth as well as pastoral care and counseling of youth.


RS246 Life Span Issues in Couseling - 10 Credit Points

Building on counseling skills and a well-grounded understanding of human development, the unit prepares counsellors to assist others in dealing with common problems in the life cycle. Amongst these are Dependency, Separation, Identity problems, Peer influence, Loneliness, Failure, Depression, Employment changes, Divorce and Ageing. The unit presents the various styles of counseling best adapted to the age-groups and the type of problem that is raised. This unit follows the sequence of the counseling strand in Social and Religious Studies and builds upon an understanding of psychology and basic counseling processes. In dealing with lifespan issues the unit equips the student to relate with community development areas and use their skills in its promotion. The unit naturally links to parts of the program associated with family life and personal development.


RS327 Johannine Literature - 10 Credit Points

Students study the Gospel and Letters of John in detail. From this study the distinctive portrait of Jesus presented by John will appear. The technique of the Gospel writer is examined to identify its unique characteristics. Where appropriate, reference is made to the Synoptic Gospels to indicate differences and similarities. The three Letters of John will be examined for their message and their particular characteristics.


RS329 Counseling and Disorders - 10 Credit Points

Post-Traumatic Stress and Aggression-related problems are common in Papua New Guinea due to its history and cultures. Specific diagnoses and syndromes require specialized counselling. The unit examines the more developed techniques needed by counsellors to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress, Anxiety Disorders, Some Personality Disorders, Depression, Aggression, Addiction, Self-harming and Suicide. The unit is intended to equip students with the capacity to recognize serious problems and to assist in the care of the clients until other professional support is available.


RS332 Melanesian Wisdom - 10 Credit Points

This unit is designed to develop the students’ critical, logical and analytical approach to thinking and discernment in life. Students explore the basic ideas of the ancient thinkers in Hellenistic culture. Critical and rational thinking is discussed to heighten the search for knowledge. Besides interpolating the threshold of different ideological discoveries and their methodologies, students are given the chance to investigate some of the Melanesian (PNG) thinkers. The critical and analytical methodologies of these thinkers are exposed, critiqued and appraised as a contribution to human race’s philosophical pursuit. Melanesian Wisdom is a unit within the Social and religious studies Bachelor’s degree program. It empowers the students to systematically employ the methods of critical and logical thinking across the cross section of the courses offered. An exposition of the development of ideas and the influence of these ideas in history will enhance the ability to articulate, instil confidence in decision making, sustain individual thinking and responsibility towards others in sharing knowledge.


 RS331 Church Teachings on Social Justice - 10 Credit Points

This unit deals with the exposition of social justice in the teachings of the Catholic Church. The major principles of Catholic social thought, namely, the inalienable dignity of every human person, the social nature of all human life, and the principle of subsidiarity are discussed in detail. Starting from Patristic social teachings, the unit exposes the topic in the teachings of various Christian Churches. In this course, students will explore the understanding, sources and the importance of social justice in Christian faith and practice. Social Justice is a major component of the Social and religious studies Bachelor’s degree program. The unit enables students to gain insights into the church’s teaching about social order, in particular about the social situations involving issues of justice. The students also can develop a personal perspective on how best they can contribute to solutions for the social issue of injustice and how effectively they can up build the society, particularly in PNG.



RS322 Marriage and Family Issues - 10 Credit Points

This unit presents a comprehension picture of the nature of marriage and family life. It is designed to enable participants to critically reflect on and analyze the relationship between husband and wife and how to promote a healthy relationship. Hence, it will explore marriage and family in PNG traditional and contemporary context and in the Bible. It will examine values of family life and human sexuality. This unit is part of the Social and Religious Studies Degree program. This unit enables students to gain insights into the unit analyzing the traditional and modern values of family life and the challenges facing families today.


RS418 Social Themes in Pauline Literature - 10 Credit Points

This unit presents a comprehension picture of the nature of marriage and family life. It is designed to enable participants to critically reflect on and analyze the relationship between husband and wife and how to promote a healthy relationship. Hence, it will explore marriage and family in PNG traditional and contemporary context and in the Bible. It will examine values of family life and human sexuality. This unit is part of the Social and Religious Studies Degree program. This unit enables students to gain insights into the unit analyzing the traditional and modern values of family life and the challenges facing families today.


RS420 Research Proposal Writing - 10 Credit Points

This unit focuses on the preparation of an individual research proposal. Students are introduced to social research and they learn about different approaches used in such research. They develop skills required for the writing of a feasible proposal and they develop research instruments according to the approach they will choose for their major project. They have practical lessons in developing skills such as the interview and observation. The proposal will lead to the major research project which will be carried out in semester 2.


RS422 Pastoral Care of the Sick and Terminally III - 10 Credit Points

The aim of this unit is to develop the capacity of the students to perceive the ways in which humans approach sickness, suffering and death and assist them to become more skilled in caring for those who are ill. The five stages of dying as developed by Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross are examined as one means to assist caring for the terminally ill. The students are introduced to the essential elements of Clinical Pastoral Education and carry out visitations according to this framework. HIV/AIDS and mental illness are explained in the context of assisting both the affected person and their carers. An analysis of the role of Churches in the care of the sick and terminally ill is also pursued. The Christian view of suffering and death is compared to views held by others.


RS419 Church as Communion of Communities (E) - 10 Credit Points

The unit examines the nature of the Church as Communion of Communities. This includes the basic understanding of the Church as ecclesial community centered on the study of the Kingdom of God. The salvific work of Christ is shown to continue through the dynamic activities of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Emphasis is placed on strengthening the idea of Christian communities intimately associated with Christ as the perfect model of Communion. Relevant themes are discussed in light of the ecumenical dialogue among the various Churches of our time. This unit is part of the Social and religious studies Bachelor’s degree program. It enables the students to know about the Church as an institution from both perspectives: temporal and spiritual. The notion of the Church has its significance in the study of the Kingdom of God and spreads to embrace the community spirit. Students will inter-relate their scholarly knowledge in an ecumenical spirit through understudying the models used in our time to describe the Church.


RS417 Management Communication and Development - 10 Credit Points

This unit aims to improve students’ understanding of and skills in communication and community development. Students will critically evaluate the role of communication in relation to community development. They will identify the strategies and behaviours involved in successful communication for community policy, planning and implementation through a participatory approach. This unit also provides the theoretical lenses of communication and community development. Students study the different communication models and development theories and praxis to advocate for development in the context of Papua New Guinea.


RS424 Prophesy and Poetry - 10 Credit Points

The unit examines two key themes in the Hebrew Scriptures, that of the poetry of the psalms, the Song of Songs and the book of Ecclesiastes and that of prophecy. The poetry section will examine selected Psalms, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The prophecy section concerns itself with the nature, contribution and theology of the prophetic movement in Israel. The interaction of prophets and kings will be considered and an exegesis of selected texts from the prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel will be undertaken.


RS416 Supervised Research Project - 10 Credit Points

This unit provides the opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of research skills. Students choose a topic related to areas of study undertaken during previous semesters. The work will be between 5,000 and 8,000 words in length. Students will present a plan of action for approval and will meet regularly with a supervisor in carrying out this work. It is expected that written work will reach publication standard. Students are encouraged to present research findings in creative ways (dramatic, artistic).


IS117 End-User Computing & Word Processing (Service Unit) - 10 Credit Points

This unit provides an introduction to the PC including its structure and place in the home or small office environment. It seeks to develop basic computer literacy and typing skills. Included is an understanding and facility with the use of a graphical user interface. Students are also provided with skills to use an Office suite of software, email, Internet and an intranet. Word Processing is an essential skill in the home and the small office and for student assignment writing. Students are given a comprehensive introduction to the basics of text formatting using word processing software.


 IS113 Spread Sheet Management (Service Unit) - 10 Credit Points

Electronic spreadsheets now replace hand-written financial record keeping and calculating in the small or home office environment. As well the typical ‘what-if’ analysis feature of spreadsheets facilitates decision-making. Skills in spreadsheets management are, therefore, essential for those entering the business world. With a commonly used software application this skills-based unit students are introduced to the fundamental principles and practical skills required to produce accurate calculations in worksheets with a professional appearance.


PG303 Community Development and Practice - 10 Credit Points

Students consider community development strategies in practice. They explore how community development can address macro and micro problems in society using case studies relevant to PNG. Emphasis is on how community development skills can be developed in ways that facilitate the empowerment of communities to take control and responsibility for their own development. Students develop skills in strategy development, funding proposal submissions, needs analysis and conflict management. Students critically reflect upon the application and outcomes of community development as they enter into an agreement with a community-based group to design, initiate or implement a project.


PG309 Social Policies of Community Development - 10 Credit Points

This unit highlights how community development needs to be guided and strengthened by relevant and appropriate social policies. A policies’ framework provides an avenue to pursue meaningful development. This unit examines some social development policies in areas such as health, education, law and order women’s issues, welfare and population, and demonstrates how these are related and relevant to social and community development.


 CA319 Social Science Research Methods - 10 Credit Points

This unit is an introduction to applied social research methods. Students gain competency in the processes and skills of social and cultural inquiry. They learn about quantitative and qualitative types of research, steps in the research process and the use of standard data-gathering instruments. They learn to present their findings within the genre of discursive writing, paying special attention to logic and argumentative skills. This unit is a prerequisite to the units RS420 Research Proposal Writing and RS416 Supervised Research Project in the fourth year of the program.


 BS317 Human Resource Management - 10 Credit Points

The unit introduces students to the functions and practice of Human Resource Management (HRM) in organisations seeking to deliver quality service and achieve performance improvement. The unit will explore the relevance and adaptation of HRM concepts in the context of work and culture in Papua New Guinea companies.


RS145 Book of Revelation (Reserve Unit) - 10 Credit Points

This unit requires students to be familiarized with the apocalyptic literature among the books of the Bible in general and the Book of Revelation in Particular. While addressing the differences among different Christian denominations as to how to understand the book, the unit invites the students to have a closer look at the historical context of the composition of the book, the ideas and concepts showcased there, the problems addressed by the author, and the messages contained in the book for the readers down through the ages. It will also be emphasized that the Book of Revelation is not to be interpreted in isolation, but is to be understood holistically as an integral part of the whole Bible, particularly the New Testament.


RS326 Physical and Human Geography (Reserve Unit) - 10 Credit Points

This unit provides a study of the earth’s dynamic systems – its air, water, weather, climate, landforms, rocks, soils, plants, ecosystems and biomes – and how humans interact with the earth’s systems. The approach considers local, national and global interests as is appropriate to a particular topic. The reading and interpretation of topographic maps forms an important part of the course. This unit also provides a study of the earth’s renewable and non-renewable natural resources and considers the factors affecting the use made of these resources. A study of population is undertaken to show the patterns of distribution occurring in the world. The growth and movement of peoples and the resulting urbanisation and industrialisation will receive special attention. Particular reference is made to Papua New Guinea in the course of this study.


RS333 Liturgy: Symbolism and Meaning (Reserve Unit) - 10 Credit Points

This unit invites students to get closer to the liturgical traditions and practices in Christian Churches, particularly, in the Catholic Church. Having introduced the various liturgical traditions and practices in the Church, the students are then invited to have a historical, anthropological and critical understanding of the philosophy, symbolism and meaning of liturgical worship in the Church. Words and actions (gestures) which are symbolic bearing deep meaning are discussed in terms of human beings’ relationship to God, from a Christian perspective. Analysing the principle of “Lex orandi: lex credendi” (the law of prayer: the law of faith), the students are guided to critically evaluate the implications of that dictum, with reference to another phrase, namely “lex vivendi” (the law of life). The unit will maintain a holistic approach to liturgy by establishing a relationship between liturgical celebrations and in depth life of faith.


RS410 Literature and Drama (Reserve Unit) - 10 Credit Points

Students are introduced to a variety of literature written in English language by outstanding authors, dramatists and poets. Students learn to evaluate the different forms of literature according to the criteria normally used in judging the various literary genres. At the same time, it is expected that the students develop a love for literature and learn to appreciate literary works for their literary value, ideologies, social and cultural transformation they stand for and propagate.


RS425 Modern World History (Reserve Unit) - 10 Credit Points

Students study important political, social and economic developments that occurred in the twentieth century particularly as they concern Europe, Australia and the Middle East. The unit covers important topics such as the cause of wars and their consequences, the European Common Market, the Cold War, industrialization, the growth of trade, immigration and terrorism.