Weapons of Mass Destruction: Proliferation and Control - 2016

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This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 14 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: Sess 1
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 (25%) , Assignment 2 (25%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 3,120.00
International 3,370.00

The problem of weapons proliferation is one of the major contemporary threats to international peace and security. In particular, over the last two decades aggressive governments and terrorists across Asia have sought to acquire biological, chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) for use in international warfare, civil conflicts, and to obtain their political goals. In recent years, there have been increased concerns that WMDs might fall into the hands of non-state or state based terrorist organisations. The threat of nuclear of biological terrorism has increased with recent WMD proliferation across North East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Iran. This unit will provide students with an overview of the key issues, events and processes relevant to this problem, and how this relates to Australia’s security options.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. explain and describe the history and current state of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and risk
  2. identify WMD within a wider security studies related theoretical and conceptual base
  3. recognize and assess threat and risk scenarios within which WMD might exist
  4. critically evaluate and analyse a range of scholarly literature relating to WMD in order to subsequently conceptualise related risks, threats and scenarios
  5. synthesise and apply existing knowledge and theories from across the spectrum of security studies in order to integrate WMD related knowledge
  6. construct written and oral arguments relating to WMD research and deliver them to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  7. present sustained, coherent and logical arguments, demonstrating engagement with literature
  8. displays consideration of ethical implications of the proliferation and control of Weapons of Mass Destruction through the presentation of balanced analyses
  9. critically analyse future threats and opportunities from State and Non-State actors in line with issues pertinent to WMD.
  • Assignment 1 (25%)
  • Assignment 2 (25%)
  • Assignment 3 (50%)

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.
  • Other special requirement — Video Conferencing

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Proliferation and Control
2WMD: The Nuclear & Radioactive Dimension
3WMD: The Chemical Dimension
4WMD: The Biological Dimension
5Rogue States and the Trade in Nuclear Secrets
6Non-State Security Challenges (including accidents and the terror dimension)
7The Future of Proliferation

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Audio/Video conferencing
  • Chat rooms
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Glossary
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media

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.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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