• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Social Research, Science, Science Communication, Security Studies, Robotics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.

What is the role of coercion in international security affairs? When should it be used to achieve which national security goals, 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 in the contemporary Indo-Pacific. 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 help students understand the roles and effects of different strategies of coercion such that they can be better consumers and producers of these strategies. The course will also explore what historical cases of coercion teach us about the present, and use an interactive all of class wargame to further illustrate the strategic elements of coercion. Students will explore the challenges of estimating the effectiveness of coercion from theoretical and policy-making practitioner perspectives.

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 (1,000 words) (20) [LO 1,3,5]
  2. Major research paper (3,000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. End of semester take-home exam (reflection on wargame, 1,000 words) (30) [LO 1,3,5]

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.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.

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.  

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
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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