Master of Health Security


The Master of Health Security (MHlthSec) is based in and administered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences but draws extensively on multiple faculties and schools across the University of Sydney. Participating faculties and schools include the Faculty of Business, the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Sydney Medical School, the School of Public Health, the School of Nursing, the School of Social and Political Sciences, and the Sydney Law School.

The MHlthSec is an entirely new interdisciplinary initiative designed to train a new generation of health, allied health, and veterinary professionals in addition to policy-makers, government officials and security sector personnel with responsibilities for human, animal and plant national health security. The degree has been designed to provide a pathway to professional employment and several productive discussions have already been held with potential domestic and international employers including, but not limited to, NSW Health, the federal Department of Agriculture, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Importantly, however, the degree will also contain research options that provide a pathway to the PhD, allowing students to pursue a career in academia.

  Credit points
Master of Health Security 96 credit points
Graduate Diploma in Health Security 48 credit points
Graduate Certificate in Health Security 24 credit points

Course Overview

The Master of Health Security is designed to provide students with an intellectually rigorous, interdisciplinary postgraduate program of study that is embedded within and draws extensively upon the academic disciplines of public policy, public health, medicine, law, nursing, health sciences, security studies, veterinary sciences, and agricultural studies, but will also allow students to specialise in particular thematic areas. Reflecting strong employer interests, these specialised thematic areas include human and animal biosecurity, biodefence and biosafety, and agrosecurity.

The Master of Health Security is designed to provide a pathway to professional employment in a wide array of professions, including medicine, nursing, public health, allied health, veterinary health, and agricultural health, as well as security sector employees such as customs, border control and quarantine services, government policy-makers, administrators, defence force personnel and analysts, intelligence services, scientists and laboratory technicians undertaking research with security-sensitive biological agents/select agents, and representatives from intergovernmental organisations. It also provides an opportunity for professionals in these sectors to gain advanced training to support career advancement. The degree additionally includes research options that provide a pathway to the PhD program in fields such as security studies, international relations, public health, veterinary health, and agriculture.

Course Objectives

  • Training in health security concepts, issues, theory and their practical applications
  • A comprehensive understanding of the contemporary health security challenges and the interdependencies that exist between human, animal and plant health
  • Understanding of the mechanisms available to governments, international organisations, and other actors to respond to these challenges and their limitations
  • Skills in leadership and media engagement

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to either the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters of Health Security will be administered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Students completing the Graduate Certificate in Health Security are required to complete the four core units of study.
  • All students are also required to select one of three specialisations either in Human and Animal Biosecurity, Biodefence and Biosafety, or Agrosecurity, and complete a minimum number of core elective units to obtain their specialisation. Students can then select from a range of elective units across the participating faculties and schools to complete their degree. In addition, all students must complete the Biosecurity Seminar Series unit of study as part of their capstone experience. This unit of study will comprise a series of lectures and seminars addressing topics ranging across the entire field of health security, and students will be required to complete several policy/issue briefs to demonstrate the breadth of their knowledge and skills.
  • The 12-month track includes 8 units of study including the capstone unit. This track is strictly limited to those students with specific disciplinary backgrounds (i.e. medicine, veterinary science, nursing) who already possess a related Honours or masters-level degree in a discipline directly related to the specialisation they wish to undertake (i.e. Master of Public Health, Master of International Health, or Master of Veterinary Public Health Management to qualify for entry into the Human and Animal Biosecurity specialisation).
  • Entry into the 18-month track option will be limited to those students with specific disciplinary backgrounds in a Bachelor degree (i.e. medicine, veterinary science, nursing, international relations, etc.) with a minimum 65% average in a subject area relevant to their chosen specialisation.
  • Entry to an 24 month/16 unit of study Masters will normally be granted to applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree (minimum 65% average, or equivalent) in any other discipline.
  • Completing the extended dissertation track (i.e. two units of study and a 10,000-12,000 word research dissertation) would prepare students to enrol in the doctoral studies program at the University of Sydney. This is only available for students on the 18-month or 24-month track option.
Expected Workload Weekly Workload
Lectures 4 hours
Tutorials 4 hours
Practical experience  n/a
Independent study estimate 9-12 hours
Reading and work for assessment 15 hours
Course component/category of unit of study 12 months 18 months 24 months
Core compulsory:  no choice
  • CISS6004 Health and Security
  • GOVT6136 Policy, Power and Politics
  • MECO6909 PR Management and Conflict Resolution
  • WORK6130 Leadership in Organisations
  • CISS6004 Health and Security
  • GOVT6136 Policy, Power and Politics
  • MECO6909 PR Management and Conflict Resolution
  • WORK6130 Leadership in Organisations
  • CISS6004 Health and Security
  • GOVT6136 Policy, Power and Politics
  • MECO6909 PR Management and Conflict Resolution
  • WORK6130 Leadership in Organisations
Thematic specialisations A minimum of 2 elective units / 12 credit points must be taken from this list A minimum of 4 elective units / 24 credit points must be taken from this list A minimum of 6 elective units / 36 credit points must be taken from this list
Capstone (compulsory): Biosecurity seminar series Biosecurity seminar series Biosecurity seminar series

Research component

(NB: prospective PhD students would need to complete 2 units or 12 credit points)

Not available in 12 month option

1-2 units of the following:

  • CISS6009 and/or CISS6010 or
  • AFNR4101 and/or AFNR4102 or
  • GOVT6340 and/or GOVT6341 or
  • PUBH5034 and/or PUBH5102

1-2 units of the following:

  • CISS6009 and/or CISS6010 or
  • AFNR4101 and/or AFNR4102 or
  • GOVT6340 and/or GOVT6341 or
  • PUBH5034 and/or PUBH5102
Non-departmental Electives:  Non-GOVT or CISS units identified by the GIR Postgradute Coordinator as pedagogically relevant and on offer for a given year (adjusted annually). Maximum number of units students may choose from this list: 1 (6 credits) Maximum number of units students may choose from this list: 2 (12 credits) Maximum number of units students may choose from this list: 4 (24 credits)

Register your interest

Sign up for the latest information in relation to the Master of Health Security

More information