• Offered by ANU National Security College
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Ethics, Security Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Adam Henschke
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course is available for in-person and remote (online) learning.

As Australia faces security challenges ranging from terrorism to cybersecurity to interstate rivalries and climate change, discussions around national security will continue to play across our community, in the media and in policymaking. This course examines the ethical norms that both underpin and limit national security. It has a particular focus on the way that the relationships between those ethical norms pose challenges for national security policy and practice. It explores how, and the extent to which, ethical considerations can and should influence decisions about national security. This course brings together expert and practitioner perspectives to facilitate analysis of some of the most pressing and controversial concerns regarding the ethics of national security choices in the 21st century.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand concepts related to ethical issues arising in the context of national security
  2. Evaluate contemporary ethical challenges relating to current and future security challenges facing Australian policymakers
  3. Critically analyse, from an ethical lens, the responsiveness of security agencies to the security challenges Australia faces today, as a potential guide to its future national security responses
  4. Conduct independent research that demonstrates both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical review of a key article outlining ethical challenges in national security policy (1,000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Major research essay (3,000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Limited Time Exercise (Scenario and Case examples) (1,500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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 weekly, plus one tutorial fortnightly. In addition the expectation of a further independent study to total 130 over the duration of the semester.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

A list of readings will be provided in lieu of a prescribed text

Preliminary Reading

Chris Michaelsen, (2010) ‘Australia and the Threat of Terrorism in the Decade after 9/11' Asian Journal of Political Science, 18:3, 248-268, DOI: 10.1080/02185377.2010.527212

Richard Shapcott, (2014) 'International Ethics', in Baylis, Smith and Owens (eds), The Globalization Of World Politics, Oxford: Oxford.

Hugh Lafollette, (2014) 'Theorizing About Ethics', in Lafollette (ed), Ethics In Practice: An Anthology 4th Edn, Wiley, 4-10.

Steven Heyman, (1991) 'The First Duty Of Government: Protection, Liberty And The Fourteenth Amendment' Duke Law Journal, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp 507-571.

Jonathan Haidt, "Where Does Morality Come From?" and "The Moral Foundations Of Politics", Chapters 1 and 7 in The Righteous Mind, 2010

James Rachels "The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism", Chapter 2 in The Elements Of Moral Philosophy, 1986, (McGraw Hill)

Daniel Beck, (2015) 'Between Relativism and Imperialism: Navigating Moral Diversity in Cross-Cultural Bioethics' Developing World Bioethics 15 (3):162-171.

Burchill, Scott, "Origins and Antecedents" in The National Interest in International Relations Theory. Springer, 2005, pp. 9 - 30.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
On Campus
4374 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person View
4576 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 Online View

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