Research in Government and International Relations

Shelf of books

In 2010, the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative (ERA) by the Australian Government compared the quality of political science research in more than 40 Australian universities. Political science at the University of Sydney was awarded the second highest research ratings in Australia (jointly with Melbourne, Griffith, and the University of Queensland) providing independent evidence of the Department’s international reputation and impact.

The Department of Government and International Relations has a vigorous research program spanning all major fields in the discipline.

As befits the oldest grouping of political science scholars in the country, we have a long record of research in public policy, both in the Australian context and internationally, including environmental, economic and foreign policy, as well as public sector management and policy analysis.

International relations is a major strength in the department. This includes studies of the role and functions of international organisations, like the World Bank and UN, as well as the challenges of globalization, international security, conflict, and terrorism.

Australian politics is another key feature of our research, including studies of the media, elections, and political parties.

Comparative politics is a fourth important focus of our research program. Substantial research has been conducted on authoritarianism, democratization, and complex processes of regime change, especially in the post-communist world and Southeast Asia. Publications have also compared the politics and institutions of Anglo-American states and ‘Westminster’ democracies, such as the role of the core executive and processes of civic engagement.

This is complemented by work on political theory, both classical and applied ideas of democracy, environmentalism, and human rights.