• Class Number 4697
  • Term Code 3150
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Nicholas Thomson
    • Dr Nicholas Thomson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 02/08/2021
  • Class End Date 23/09/2021
  • Census Date 20/08/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 09/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

In the age of Covid-19, we are all dealing with the impacts of pandemic disease and emergency policy responses. This course assesses the political and security significance of infectious diseases, pandemics and public health. From the historical experiences with smallpox, plague and cholera, to the contemporary challenges posed by new diseases like HIV/AIDS and SARS or the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that pathogenic micro-organisms exercise a powerful influence over the security of people, societies and states. The course concentrates on areas in which human health and security concerns intersect most closely, including: pandemics; responses to fast-moving disease outbreaks of natural origin; the ethics of policy responses; and the relationships between infectious disease patterns, public health capacity, state functioning and violent conflict. The aim of the course is to provide students with a stronger understanding of the scientific and political nature of these problems, why and how they might threaten security, and the conceptual and empirical connections between them. Course activities and assessment tasks are designed to encourage critical engagement with this key policy challenge of our age. To this end, the course includes a comparative exercise on how nations respond to pandemics, and the insights of policy practitioners will be integrated with academic teaching.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand concepts related to infectious disease and health, with the ability to critically analyse them in a national security context
  2. Evaluate contemporary local, regional, and global challenges and policy options relating to infectious disease and health
  3. Critically analyse the responsiveness of security agencies and national policy to the security challenges posed by infectious diseases
  4. Communicate ideas and analysis that demonstrate both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Session 1 topic 1: Pandemics and National Security: An Introduction. Talk and Discussion
2 Session 1 topic 2: Infectious Diseases, Insecurity and Conflict. Talk and Discussion
3 Session 2 topic 1: HIV, COVID: Health and Global Security Considerations. Talk and Discussion
4 Session 2 topic 2: Biological Threats: Surveillance Challenges and Implications for National Security. Talk and Discussion
5 Session 3 topic 1: Australia and the Global Health Security Agenda: Health, Security and Diplomacy
6 Session 3 topic 2: Nuclear Insecurity and Implications for Public Health and Security

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Policy Brief 40 % 19/08/2021 23/08/2021 1,2,3,4
Critical Essay 60 % 07/09/2021 23/09/2021 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 19/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 23/08/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Policy Brief

In discussion with the course convener, the students will identify a policy area of specific interest to them from across the course subject matter. Topics must have both a health and security consideration. Students will craft a policy briefing for the relevant stakeholder - which could be a government, multi-lateral or civil society organisation. In no more than 800 words, students will lay out the policy issue and their recommendations for the stakeholder of concern giving due consideration to both health and security implications of the policy advice.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 07/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 23/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Critical Essay

From a list of essay topics provided on day 1, students will write an essay of no more than 2000 words. Detail of structure will discussed in class during week 1.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Nicholas Thomson

Research Interests

Dr Nicholas Thomson - Infectious disease and national security, Indo-Pacific, Health and Conflict, Multi-agency partnerships between health, security and civil society

Dr Nicholas Thomson

By Appointment
Dr Nicholas Thomson

Research Interests

Dr Nicholas Thomson

By Appointment

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