International flags hanging on flag poles

Government and International Relations

Shape the conversation, change the world
Examining politics and international relations using critical and multidisciplinary perspectives.

Everyone has a stake in how domestic and international political disputes are resolved and whether co-operation is improved. In GIR, we understand and explain politics and international relations as well as the forces that shape and drive political, economic and social change. 

Our internationally recognised academics engage with the big issues the world faces today, dealing with everything from the US presidency to the implications of the war in Ukraine and Russia, terrorism, climate change, nuclear proliferation, the global refugee crisis and financial instability.

Our study offerings

Understand traditional and emerging security challenges and apply theories to current events and policy debates. Explore complex, interconnected issues such as causes and consequences of war; ethnic, religious and ideological conflict; and threats from climate change, disease and nuclear proliferation. We will draw on economics, political science, law, business, public health and more.


*Learn more about postgraduate coursework opportunities available to International Security students.

Find answers to frequently asked questions.


Politics is the study of the nature of governments and the distribution of power at the domestic level. With our wide range of degrees, gain the knowledge, theoretical understanding and practical skills to engage with politics and understand the key elements of political systems, including government institutions, political parties, and social movements. You will also compare key elements of political systems including government institutions, political parties, interest groups, elections, patterns of political participation, and social movements.

International Relations is the study of the international political and economic system. Explore the historical development of that system, understand the actors, institutions, and processes of international politics and develop a critical insight into the forces governing the behaviour of states, the factors that lead to military conflict or peaceful co-operation, and the current trends towards a world that is both more globally integrated and fragmented.


*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  


*Learn more about postgraduate coursework opportunities available to International Security students.

Find answers to frequently asked questions


The programs in Public Policy are primarily intended for those who have leadership aspirations in and for the government and the public sector, as well as for policy-relevant and strategic roles in the non-government/non-profit and corporate sectors. They are designed to develop an understanding of the core concepts, debates and contemporary developments in the politics and institutions of policy-making, public management, and governance. The Masters program also allow for a Specialisation in a particular policy area, such as economic policy, social policy or political economy. Students may also complete elective units that cover national, comparative and regional and global issues.


*Learn more about postgraduate coursework opportunities available to International Security students.

Find answers to frequently asked questions

Our research

Our discipline offers teaching and internationally recognised research in all major fields, including: 

  • International relations: The role and functions of international organisations, such as the World Bank and United Nations, as well as the challenges of globalisation, international security, conflict and terrorism.
  • Public policy: In the Australian and global contexts, including environmental, economic and foreign policy, as well as public-sector management and policy analysis. 
  • Political theory: Political theory in GIR is pluralist and we have strengths in several different traditions, including the history of political thought, applied political theory, normative political theory, critical and poststructuralist approaches, and international relations theory. We have world-class experts in the theory of the following topics: democracy, diplomacy, environment, feminist international relations, human rights, and war and peace. 
  • Comparative politics: Substantial research into authoritarianism, democratisation and complex processes of regime change, especially in the post-communist world and Southeast Asia. Publications have also compared the politics and institutions of Anglo-American states and Westminster democracies, such as the role of the core executive and processes of civic engagement. 
  • Australian politics: Research into the media, elections and political parties.

Our centres 

Our discipline contributes to these centres: 

Our people


  • Visiting Professor Charles Butcher
  • Visiting Scholar Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert
  • Visiting Researcher Professor Patricia Springborg


For a full listing of our upcoming events, please visit the School's events calendar.

Discipline Chair

Associate Professor Anna Boucher
Associate Professor Anna Boucher
Visit A/Prof Anna Boucher's academic profile

School of Social and Political Sciences

  • +61 2 9351 2650 

Steven Weng

Headshot of Steven Weng
Government and International Relations student
“The culture here encourages robust intellectual discussion and debate. The academics who teach you at Sydney influence the political conversation at the national and international levels."
View the undergraduate handbook

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