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International Security (POLS90022)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePOLS90022
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject provides students with a critical understanding of the changing concepts and practices of security in a globalised and dynamic world. The subject contrasts traditional state-centric, military based, and external-oriented national security thinking and policy with non-traditional, critical, and human security approaches. The subject explores key relationships between: the state, society and security, including in 'failed states'; international intervention and security, including the 'responsibility to protect' doctrine; weapons and security, including nuclear weapons; and considers the particular insecurities of marginalised groups, such as forcibly displaced populations. The subject then explores globalised forms of insecurity including information and cyber threats, transnational terrorism and organised crime, global health pandemics, and the nexus between climate change, natural resources, and conflict.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Have a political, historical and cultural understanding of both traditional and non-traditional sources of insecurity;
  • Be able to evaluate national, regional, and international institutional responses to transnational security threats;
  • Have strengthened skills in critically analysing different security discourses, including through the 'securitisation' process;
  • Develop skills in analysing and evaluating contemporary security policy.

Generic skills

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;
  • Develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;
  • Communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively;
  • Develop cross-cultural understanding.

Eligibility and requirements


Entry into the Master of International Relations (MIR)



Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • A 1500 word essay (30%), due mid-semester.
  • Presentation and written summary, equivalent to 1000 words (20%), Presentation in-class due in weeks 5-8, written summary due one week after presentation.
  • A 2,500 word research essay (50%), due during the examination period.
  • Hurdle requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject and regular class participation is expected.

Dates & times

  • August
    Principal coordinatorSara Meger
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24 contact hours: 1-hour lecture & 2-hour seminar Weeks 5-12 of Semester
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period26 August 2019 to 25 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 6 September 2019
    Census date13 September 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail25 October 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    August contact information

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Required readings will be available electronically via the subject's LMS site prior to the start of the teaching period.

  • Subject notes

    This subject is a core component of the Master of International Relations.

Last updated: 29 May 2019