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Unit of study_

GOVT2225: International Security in 21st Century

This unit introduces the theoretical foundations, essential concepts and central issues in the field of international security. It provides students with analytical tools to understand and participate in current debates concerning security and threats. The first part of the unit provides an introduction to the theoretical interpretations of international security. The second part discusses security phenomena, problems and strategies, including the coercive use of force, deterrence, guerrilla and counterinsurgency, nuclear stability, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, crisis management, arms races and disarmament, security cooperation and security regimes. The discussion in this part includes a critical review of the dilemmas, strategies, and solutions in each of the issue areas.


Academic unit Government and International Relations
Unit code GOVT2225
Unit name International Security in 21st Century
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

12 credit points at 1000 level in Politics or 12 credit points at 1000 level in International Relations or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Government and International Relations
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Gil Merom,
Lecturer(s) Gil Merom ,
Tutor(s) Gabriele Abbondanza ,
Daniel Gomez,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Tutorial participation
20% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Assignment hurdle task Essay
40% Week 08
Due date: 20 Apr 2020 at 23:00
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8 LO9
In-semester test hurdle task In class test
40% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2020 at 09:00
2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO8 LO6
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 02 Paradigms Lecture (2 hr)  
Contemporary security challenges Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Paradigms (continued); Strategy Lecture (2 hr)  
Paradigms and realism Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 Strategy Lecture (2 hr)  
Liberalism and essay writing Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Use of force & deterrence Lecture (2 hr)  
Strategy Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 Deterence (continued); Cooperation 1 - a realist perspective: Alliances Lecture (2 hr)  
Use of force and deterrence Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 Cooperation 1 - a realist perspective: Alliances (continued) Lecture (2 hr)  
Deterrence failure Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 Cooperation 2 - a liberal perspective: Obstacles Lecture (2 hr)  
A realist view of cooperation: Alliances Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Cooperation 2a - a liberal perspective: Overcoming obstacles to cooperation Lecture (2 hr)  
A liberal view of cooperation: Obstacles Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 Guerrilla war Lecture (2 hr)  
A liberal view: Promoting cooperation Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 Counterinsurgency: A Political Angle Lecture (2 hr)  
Guerrilla and counterinsurgency Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 Nuclear force Lecture (2 hr)  
Revision Tutorial (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand additional building blocks in the sub-field: specialized professional concepts, specific theories and methods prevalent in the field of international security
  • LO2. demonstrate independent reading skills with enhanced capacity for criticism, integration and association of readings to broader debates and discussions in the field
  • LO3. apply the acquired concepts and theories to the analysis of past and contemporary problems, issues and events in international security
  • LO4. engage in research of both theoretical and empirical nature
  • LO5. produce oral explanations that employ concepts and theories in order to account for current and past events
  • LO6. demonstrate professional writing skills including proper presentation and application of arguments backed by references and bibliographical list
  • LO7. demonstrate the ability to work within small groups in order to debate and produce arguments, explanations and empirical tests for theoretical arguments
  • LO8. understand key concepts and theories in the field of study and associate them with paradigms and key scholars
  • LO9. analyse theory and developing events in a critical manner
  • LO10. access, organise and communicate knowledge in both written and oral English.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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