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Why study with us?

  • #23 in the world

    We're ranked 23rd in the world for Arts and Humanities in the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject.

  • #1 in Australia

    Our graduates are ranked 1st in Australia and 4th in the world for employability by the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022.


In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely. 

This course will be available for students to study remotely during 2022 if they are unable to undertake face-to-face study. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely. For the latest updates on course availability, visit the COVID-19 information page.

About this course

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.

Why study with us?

We provide an extraordinary depth and breadth of study. Our teachers are actively engaged with the policy community and regularly undertake field research within the region. 

Through our Centre for International Security Studies, you will have the opportunity to take classes in international relations, public policy and Australian politics, and receive broad training in international security. 

The Department of Government and International Relations has links to some of the major policy think tanks in Australia, such as the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and the Lowy Institute.

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for postgraduate study for eligible domestic students. This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSPs are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP, an earlier closing date may apply – check the closing dates section below. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year 
CSP closing date: 15 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year
CSP closing date: 30 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details..

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year
Semester 2
 - 25 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

To qualify for the Master of International Security you must complete 96 credit points, including:

  • a minimum of 24 credit points of core units of study; and
  • a minimum of 18 credit points from core elective units of study; and
  • a maximum of 48 credit points from elective units of study, which can include an optional specialisation as listed in the unit of study table. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator a maximum of 12 credit points can be taken as elective units from units of study outside those listed in the International Security subject area of the Postgraduate Unit of Study Table, including units of study offered by other faculties; and
  • a minimum of 6 credit points from capstone units of study.

Recognition of Prior Learning / credit for previous studies is available for this course, refer to Admission requirement below.

Units of Study

Completion requirement

Under normal progression, a full-time student completes prescribed units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester. Part-time students may undertake prescribed units of study up to the value of 12 credit points per semester.

You must maintain a credit average result or above, normally over at least the first 4 units of study, in order to qualify for admission to the dissertation units of study. You are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for your units of study.

Capstone (compulsory project)

All candidates for the Master of International Security are required to complete a capstone designed to build independent research capacity. Students complete one of the following two capstone options:

  • a semester-long research project by enrolling in GOVT6127 Research Project; OR
  • a year-long dissertation project, including GOVT6139 Research Design, followed by GOVT6340 Dissertation Part I and GOVT6341 Dissertation Part II. Completing this dissertation would prepare students to enroll in a PhD in Government and International Relations. This path is generally suitable only for students completing 72 or 96 credit points. Note that GOVT6139 is preparation for the Dissertation. It is not itself a Dissertation unit, and can be taken by any student enrolled in Government and International Relations postgraduate coursework degrees.

Admission requirement

Admission to candidature for the Master of International Security (2 year full time) requires:

·        A bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit (65 percent) average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification

Candidates may apply for a Reduced Volume of Learning (RVL) if they have completed the embedded Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in International Security or if they have an Honours degree in a relevant discipline.

Candidates may also apply for a Reduced Volume of Learning (RVL) if they have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit average including a major in humanities, social sciences or law. Candidates with relevant work experience may also apply for RVL . The duration and relevance of the work experience will be assessed by the department before RVL is granted.

If you do not meet the requirements listed above for direct entry to the Master’s degree, you may be able to enter via a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in the same subject area and upgrade to the Master’s after successful completion of the shorter course.

Career Pathways

You may wish to work in Australian government agencies that deal with security issues, diplomacy, risk management, consulting for corporations and non-government organisations, and journalism.

Our graduates can be found in roles in KPMG, the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Defence and the Lowy Institute, to name a few.

Future study options

The dissertation pathway of this course includes research options that will provide you with the opportunity to undertake a PhD program.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.