• Class Number 4666
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Nicholas Thomson
    • Dr Nicholas Thomson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 05/08/2022
  • Class End Date 26/09/2022
  • Census Date 26/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 12/08/2022
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

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

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

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Policy Brief 40 % 25/08/2022 08/09/2022 1,2,3,4
Critical Essay Question and Consultation 0 % 10/09/2022 * 1,2,3,4
Critical Essay 60 % 20/09/2022 01/12/2022 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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: 25/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 08/09/2022
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: 0 %
Due Date: 10/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Critical Essay Question and Consultation

In the first half of the course you will discuss your choice of critical essay topic and feedback on your policy brief with the convenor in a 1:1 consultation

Assessment Task 3

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 20/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2022
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. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions