• Offered by ANU National Security College
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Science, Science Communication, Security Studies, Robotics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Michael Cohen
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

All activities that form part of this course will be delivered remotely in Sem 2 2020.

What is the role of coercion in international security affairs? When should it occupy pride of place in the National Security policy toolkit, and under what conditions is it most effective? Coercion is as old as the international system itself, but while answers to these questions remain poorly understood they are only likely to become more important. This course aims to assess the different forms that coercion can take and how effective these national security strategies are likely to be under different contexts. It is designed to make students practitioners who understand the roles and applications of strategies of coercion to assist policy-makers in current conflict scenarios through applying lessons from historical cases to current challenges.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify coercion and differentiate it from other national security strategies.
  2. Identify and assess the role and efficacy of coercion in historical cases.
  3. Critically assess the likely efficacy of different coercive strategies in contemporary contexts
  4. Conduct independent research on the role and efficacy of coercion
  5. Acquire highly developed oral and written communication skills

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short assignment (20) [LO 1,3,5]
  2. Major research paper (50) [LO 2,3,4,5]
  3. End of semester examination (30) [LO 1,3,5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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Lecture, tutorial and private studies equating to total of 130 hrs.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Readings will be mostly journal articles from leading scholarly journals. One co-edited book that may be assigned is Krause and Greenhill (eds.) Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics (NY: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Preliminary Reading

Krause and Greenhill (eds.) Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics (NY: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Byman, Daniel and Matthew Waxman, The Dynamics of Coercion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Schelling, Thomas, Arms and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966)

Sechser, Todd and Matthew Fuhrmann, Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Cohen, Michael D, When Proliferation Causes Peace: The Psychology of Nuclear Crises (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2017)

Drezner, Daniel “Bad Debts: Assessing China's Financial Influence in Great Power Politics.” International Security, Vol. 34. No. 2. (Fall 2009): 7-45 

Kydd, Andrew H., and Barbara F. Walter. “The Strategies of Terrorism.” International Security, Vol. 31. No. 1. (Summer 2006): 49-80

Borghard, Erica D. & Shawn W. Lonergan "The Logic of Coercion in Cyberspace," Security Studies, 26:3, 2017 452-481

Assumed Knowledge

None required


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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
9551 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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