University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Health Security

There have been a number of unanticipated adverse health events including the SARS outbreak, the Australian equine influenza outbreak, the melamine contamination of Chinese infant formula, the influenza pandemic, and the Ebola outbreak to name but a few.

New pathogens continue to emerge and successfully cross species’ barriers to cause new disease in humans. At the same time, changes to food production and consumption are creating new risks to the food chain, while scientific breakthroughs allow for the creation of entirely new organisms not found in the natural world. This prompts new security concerns and the need for new regulatory arrangements and oversight mechanisms.

As these events have typically demonstrated, the interrelationship between animal, human and plant disease-related events in a highly interconnected world are both multifaceted and complex, with implications for health, national economies, international trade, national and international security, social cohesion, political stability, and food security.

The Marie Bashir Institute based at the University of Sydney is committed to meeting this need by equipping a new generation of professionals with the knowledge and skills to manage complex human, animal and plant health emergencies and the multisectoral impacts arising from such events.

The Master of Health Security program offers students an intellectually rigorous, flexible, interdisciplinary program of study and research that provides a pathway for those who are either interested in pursuing a career in health security, or are already working in roles with responsibility for dealing with health-related crises. In addition, the degree also contains study options that provide a pathway for entry into higher degrees by research, allowing students to pursue a career in research and/or academia.

See also: International Studies, International Relations, International Security, and Public Policy


Students choose one of three specialisations within the Master of Health Security:

  • Human and Animal Health
  • Biodefense and Biosafety
  • Agrosecurity (animal and agriculture biosecurity)
Research pathway (optional)

Students wishing to undertake a higher degree by research at the conclusion of the course are encouraged to complete the following units of study:

  • CISS6009 Research Essay
  • CISS6010 Research Essay II
Awards and Requirements

Please refer to the degree resolutions in this Handbook for information on the specific admission requirements for different coursework award courses.

Graduate Certificate in Health Security
To be awarded the Graduate Certificate in in Health Security, students complete 24 credit points of core units of study, including

  • a minimum of 12 credit points of core units of study; and
  • a maximum of 12 credit points of core elective units of study

Graduate Diploma in Health Security
To be awarded the Graduate Diploma in in Health Security, students complete a total of 48 credit points including:

  • a minimum of 24 credit points from core units of study
  • a maximum of 24 credit points from elective units of study

Master of Health Security
To be awarded the Master of in Health Security, students complete a total of 96 credit points including:

  • a minimum of 24 credit points from core units of study; and
  • a minimum of 36 credit points from core elective units of study, including a specialisation; and
  • a maximum of 30 credit points of elective units of study. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator, a maximum of 6 credit points of elective units can be taken from units of study outside those listed in the Master of Health Security subject area of the Postgraduate unit of Study Table, including units of study offered by other faculties and;
  • a minimum of 6 credit points of capstone units of study

Candidates who have completed previous study in a relevant discipline may be eligible for a reduction in the requirements in accordance with the table below.

Level of prior learning

Full-time duration

Credit points to complete

AQF Level 7 e.g. a bachelor's degree in a directly relevant field in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Medicine

1.5 years (dependent on the specialisation selected)


Relevant professional experience equivalent to a Graduate Certificate

1.5 years


AQF Level 8 e.g. Honours in a relevant discipline

1 year



See also: International Relations, [[||International Security, and Public Policy.