Government and International Relations


A government and international relations (political science) major provides an opportunity to study the workings of government and the distribution of power in society from an extremely wide range of angles. This includes:

- politics at the global level: the study of the politics of countries around the world, as well as the way these nations interact in the international arena (foreign affairs, strategic behaviour and diplomacy)
- politics at a domestic level: the study of Australian politics, including the role of political parties and elections, interest groups and social movements, and the position of Australia in its region
- comparative politics: looking at the way politics is conducted in different nations, and the impact of different political systems and structure on the distribution of power in society;
- the policy-making process and the way governments create and implement public policy;
- environmental politics and policy making practices, and;
- a wide range of specialist topics focusing on specific aspects of the political system, political philosophy, and specialist areas like human rights and security.

Graduates from this major will have the skills desired by public, private and non-profit organisations, domestically and internationally.

Major outline

A major in Government and International Relations requires at least 36 senior credit points from the unit of study table, including at least 6 credit points from 3000-level units of study.

The undergraduate major in Government and International Relations is a flexible area of study, which permits students to undertake general or focused learning from the first year of study. Because of the wide range of sub-disciplines within the teaching of politics at the University of Sydney (including, but not limited to: international relations, Australian politics, comparative politics, public policy making, political theory, environmental politics), you are encouraged to develop your own learning pathways through our key teaching areas. Given the breadth of our unit of study offerings, it is possible to focus on some sub-disciplines, with a wide range of specialist subjects to add value to the degree program to indulge specific personal interests.

Junior units of study (1000 level):
You complete 12 junior credit points from a choice of four units of study, depending on your interests. Junior units of study provide a broad introduction to the subject area and prepare you for study at senior level.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level):
You complete at least 36 elective credit points from senior-intermediate (2000-level) and senior-advanced (3000-level) units of study. Senior-intermediate units of study deepen your understanding of government and international relations and introduce you to research methods in the field. You can specialise by concentrating on units about a particular region or theme, such as domestic Australian politics or the politics of globalisation, or take a broader selection from across the available units of study according to your interest.

You must complete at least 6 credit points from senior-advanced (3000-level) units of study as part of your major in Government and International Relations. Senior-advanced units of study further deepen your understanding of the field and its methodologies.

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

Economics, Political Economy

Our courses that offer this major

Not available in 2014