• Offered by ANU National Security College
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Sciences
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

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

Crises are endemic to national security policymaking. The modern era is punctuated by crises emanating from the natural and social worlds that threaten local, national and international security. This course considers this backdrop of threats alongside changing notions of ‘threat’, ‘risk’ and ‘crisis’ and challenges participants to determine how leadership and policymaking can reconcile the competing imperatives of national security and the public interest in the midst of crisis. This course introduces students to this important and challenging field through: (1) exploration of definitions and theories of national security and approaches to leadership, risk assessment/mitigation and crisis management; and (2) the application of this conceptual material to empirical cases of domestic, international and transnational crises. Conceptual approaches are complemented by insights from policy practitioners with extensive experience of crisis response.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand concepts related to leadership, crisis and risk;
  2. Evaluate historical and contemporary approaches to managing national security risks and crises;
  3. Apply concepts of risk and crisis management within the scholarly literature to the analysis of contemporary/future national security challenges and formulation of policy responses;
  4. Conduct independent research that demonstrates both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter.
  5. Communicate ideas, analysis and argument for scholarly and professional audiences, with effective use of terminology related to crisis response and risk management.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Risk communication exercise (1,500 words) (30) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  2. Scenario report: management of a future crisis scenario (1,500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Major research essay (3,000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.


One 2-hour seminar weekly. In addition the expectation of a further independent study to total 130 over the duration of the semester.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are unable to enrol in the course if you have previously taken NSPO8012 and NSPO8004

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Rosenthal, U. 2003. September 11: Public Administration and the Study of Crises and Crisis Management. Administration & Society. 35(2), 129-143.

Williams, S. (2009). Rethinking the Nature of Disaster: From Failed Instruments of Learning to a Post-Social Understanding. Social Forces, 87(2), 1115—1138.

Alexander, D. 2005. Towards the Development of a Standard in Emergency Planning. Disaster Prevention and Management, 14(2), 158-175.

Tierney, Kathleen. "Disaster governance: social, political, and economic dimensions." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 37 (2012): 341-363.

Wukich, Clayton. "Searching for resilience." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 23.4 (2013): 1013-1019.

Kuhlicke, Christian. "Resilience: a capacity and a myth: findings from an in-depth case study in disaster management research." Natural hazards 67.1 (2013): 61-76.

Boin, Arjen, and Allan McConnell. "Preparing for critical infrastructure breakdowns: the limits of crisis management and the need for resilience."Journal of Contingencies and Crisis
Management 15.1 (2007): 50-59.

Brechbühl , Bruce, Dynes and Johnson. "Protecting Critical Information Infrastructure: Developing Cybersecurity Policy." Information Technology for Development.
16. 1, (2010): 83-91.


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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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
4012 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View
4013 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 Online View

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