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Undergraduate | MAQ-PICX3014-2023

Australian National Security

Previously MAQ-PICX211

Understand how the Australian government formulates national security policy. Examine the strategic challenges facing Australia—the rise of China, U.S. pivot to Asia, military modernisation of our neighbours, and threats from weak and failing states.

Study method

100% online


100% online

Entry requirements

Prior study needed


18 weeks

Start dates

  • 20 Feb 2023

HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP available

About this subject

What you'll learn

On successful completion of this subject, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the inherent dangers to individual liberty and freedom originating from the security state
  2. Explain the historical evolution of Australian national security policy, including the role that culture, politics, race and geography have played in its development
  3. Identify the key threats and challenges currently confronting Australian national security policymakers
  4. Critically analyse the strategic and policy options current available to the Australian government regarding national security policy
  5. Demonstrate the ability to weigh and evaluate national security policy options
    • A week-by-week guide to the topics you will explore in this subject will be provided in your study materials.
  • This subject critically examines how the Australian government formulates defence and national security policy. The subject begins by interrogating the meaning of national security - more generally - and grabbling with the fact that the state is at once the best provider of security for its citizens while also being the greatest threat to individual freedom, liberty and personal safety. The subject then explores the historical development of Australia's national security policy by surveying the different cultural, political and geographic factors that have helped shape Australia's perceptions of its own security. The subject then pivots to discuss the current strategic challenges facing Australia, such as the rise of China, the military modernisation of its neighbours and the threats emanating from weak and failing states. The subject concludes by examining current debates among Australian defence scholars on how best to respond to these emerging security threats and challenges. By the end of this subject, students will possess the ability to weigh different national security policy options and argue persuasively for their preferred course of action.

    • Quiz (30%)
    • Active participation (10%)
    • Qualitative analysis task (20%)
    • Major essay (40%)
  • For textbook details check your university's handbook, website or learning management system (LMS).

  • This research-intensive university in north-western Sydney offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. With over 44,000 current students, Macquarie has a strong reputation for welcoming international students and embracing flexible and convenient study options, including its partnership with Open Universities Australia.

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Entry requirements

Prior study

You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:

one of

Equivalent subjects

You should not enrol in this subject if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • MAQ-PICX211 (Not currently available)


NCCW (pre-2020 units) PICT211, PICX211 Pre-requisite 50cp at 2000 level or above

Additional requirements

  • Other requirements -

    Students who have an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion under Macquarie University's Academic Progression Policy are not permitted to enrol in OUA units offered by Macquarie University. Students with an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion who have enrolled in units through OUA will be withdrawn.

What to study next?

Once you’ve completed this subject it can be credited towards one of the following degrees

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Bachelor of Security Studies

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