Contemporary Security Challenges - 2016

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Issue briefing (5 min vodcast) (10%) , Assignment 2 - Risk matrix (2,000 words) (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit introduces contemporary challenges to security in the twenty-first century. It examines challenges to individual, national and international security, with a focus on an all-hazards approach to risk assessment. The unit examines the diverse issues that constitute actual and potential security threats to individuals, organisations and states and different methods for prioritising objectives and strategies.

The unit is particularly concerned with complex challenges, such as critical national infrastructure, non-traditional issues and the security-development nexus. It concludes by exploring emerging security challenges, such as hacktivism and cyber security, the proliferation of drones and domestic surveillance technologies.

Please Note: The required textbooks listed below are also available in the university library.

Upon fulfilling the requirements of this unit, students will have the skills and knowledge to:

  1. identify key security challenges in the contemporary national and international security field
  2. classify security issues as risks, threats or vulnerabilities using key national security concepts
  3. identify key stakeholders and actors in the field of security studies, such as states, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, non-state actors, commercial entities, media outlets and individuals
  4. evaluate contemporary debates about main national and international security issues
  5. evaluate the importance of security challenges according to a variety of risk prioritisation methods
  6. differentiate between traditional and emergent threats.
  • Assignment 1 — Issue briefing (5 min vodcast) (10%)
  • Assignment 2 — Risk matrix (2,000 words) (40%)
  • Non-Invigilated Exam — Take home exam (1,000 words) (30%)
  • Quiz (20%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient

This unit addresses the following topics.

2War and the rise of the state
3Security challenges in the anarchical society
4The network society
5Stakeholders in security
6The public security agenda
7Anti-social networks
8Critical National Infrastructure
9Anthropocene threats
10The security-development nexus
11Surveillance and technologies of control
12Hacktivism and information security
13Conclusion: A new security paradigm?

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Streaming Multimedia
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Essential Readings in World Politics

    By:Mingst & Snyder

    ISBN: 9780393921960


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Security Studies

    By:Williams, Paul D.

    ISBN: 9780415782814


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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