• Offered by ANU National Security College
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Philosophy, Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Adam Henschke
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course examines ethical norms on the use of armed force for political purposes and it includes a particular focus on the relationship between those norms and military technologies. It explores how, and the extent to which, ethical and/or technological considerations influence strategic and tactical decisions. After an introduction to Just War theory, the course examines a range of topics, drawing on historical and contemporary ideas and information. These include: basic concepts of international law on armed conflict; pre-emptive and preventive war; humanitarian interventions; non-combatant immunity; mercenaries and private military companies; drones and robots; nuclear weapons; inhumane and ‘non-lethal’ weapons; military medical ethics; intelligence and counterterrorism; and post-war recovery. The overall aim of the course is to provide students with a stronger understanding of the strategic, operational, political and ethical concerns surrounding these issues, their security implications, and the conceptual and empirical connections between them. Course activities and assessment tasks are designed to encourage critical thinking and intellectual autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1.       Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between ethics, politics, security and strategy.

2.       Conduct research in archives, libraries, and using internet resources.

3.       Communicate effectively in verbal, written and group contexts to a professional standard.

4.       Demonstrate a capacity for critical reflection so that the assumptions underpinning ethical concepts and security policies can be effectively scrutinized.

5.       Formulate, analyse and evaluate security policy options in ethical terms.

6.       Exercise attention to detail and analytical rigour in academic writing.

Other Information

Class Timetable

Tuesday, 5:00-7:00pm

Seminar Room 7

National Security College, Building 132a

Indicative Assessment

6,000 words:

Short Essay (20%) OR optional Debate Summary (20%), due week 6

Research Essay (50%), due week 10

Exam (30%)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One 2-hour seminar per week (over 13 weeks) with the expectation of a further 8 hours per week of independent study.

Prescribed Texts

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, 4th ed., New York; Basic Books, 2006; and/or Helen Frowe, The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction, Abingdon: Routledge, 2011.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1218
2014 $2808
2013 $2808
2012 $2808
2011 $2778
2010 $2718
2009 $2670
2008 $2592
2007 $2298
2006 $2190
2005 $2190
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3402
2014 $3942
2013 $3942
2012 $3942
2011 $3942
2010 $3942
2009 $3816
2008 $3816
2007 $3816
2006 $3816
2005 $3816
2004 $3816
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9245 21 Jul 2014 08 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

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