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Department of Government and International Relations

Shape the conversation, change the world
Examining politics and international relations using critical and multidisciplinary perspectives.

In a time of revolutions, economic turmoil and terrorism, everyone has a stake in how disputes are resolved and co-operation is improved. We understand and explain politics and international relations as well as the forces that shape and drive political, economic and social change. 

Our internationally recognised academics engage with the big issues the world faces today, dealing with everything from Trump to the implications of Brexit, terrorism, the war in Syria, climate change, nuclear proliferation, the global refugee crisis and the global financial crisis.

Our study offering

Health Security addresses the challenge of responding to adverse health events at local and global levels. Learn to manage complex health events and their social and economic consequences with these intellectually rigorous, flexible, multidisciplinary degrees. 



Understand traditional and emerging security challenges and apply theories to current events and policy debates. Explore complex, interconnected issues such as causes and consequences of war; ethnic, religious and ideological conflict; and threats from climate change, disease and nuclear proliferation. We will draw on economics, political science, law, business, public health and more.



Develop skills and knowledge in globalisation, development, democracies, processes of state formation, international organisations, theories of international relations, international political economy and security, global environmental politics, and Asia-Pacific and Northeast Asian politics.



Politics is the study of the nature of governments and the distribution of power at the domestic level. With our wide range of degrees, gain the knowledge, theoretical understanding and practical skills to engage with politics and understand the key elements of political systems, including government institutions, political parties, and social movements. You will also compare key elements of political systems including government institutions, political parties, interest groups, elections, patterns of political participation, and social movements.

International Relations is the study of the international political and economic system. Explore the historical development of that system, understand the actors, institutions, and processes of international politics and develop a critical insight into the forces governing the behaviour of states, the factors that lead to military conflict or peaceful co-operation, and the current trends towards a world that is both more globally integrated and fragmented.


*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  Postgraduate 



Gain critical perspectives on the global, national and local levels of a rapidly changing policy environment with growing public scrutiny and complex challenges. Explore the opportunities and constraints stemming from political, social, economic, civil and technological factors at both the national and global levels.


Our research

Our department offers teaching and internationally recognised research in all major fields of the discipline, including: 

  • International relations: The role and functions of international organisations, such as the World Bank and United Nations, as well as the challenges of globalisation, international security, conflict and terrorism.
  • Public policy: In the Australian and global contexts, including environmental, economic and foreign policy, as well as public-sector management and policy analysis. 
  • Political theory: Classical and applied ideas of democracy, environmentalism and human rights.
  • Comparative politics: Substantial research into authoritarianism, democratisation 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. 
  • Australian politics: Research into the media, elections and political parties.

Our centres 

Our department contributes to these centres: 

Our people



For a full listing of our upcoming events, please visit the What's On Calendar.

Previewing the March 2019 NSW State Election

Tuesday 26 February, 6-8pm

ABC TV's leading elections analyst, Adjunct Professor Antony Green, will discuss the 2019 NSW Election, the critical lower and upper house contests, and the potential impact of optional preferential voting on the result, in the lead up to this year's major political event.

Letting citizens speak: Ireland's referendums and constitutional mini-publics

Monday 4 March, 6-7:30pm

Ireland has been a trailblazer in the use of mini-publics to discuss important topics of constitutional reform like marriage equality and abortion, demonstrating how democracies can bring citizens into the heart of discussions over reforms. Join The Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC (Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage, Trade, Tourism & Major Events) and University of Dublin's David Farrell as they debate the global potential of mini-publics.

Our Colloquium Series aims to showcase recent research by members of the Department, visiting scholars and international and interstate guests in an informal setting, conducive to lively debate. The Series is coordinated by Professor Laura Shepherd.

The Best and Brightest Ceremony recognises the achievements of recent honours graduates. The 2018 ceremony was held on 24 May. View the 2018 Best and Brightest program (pdf, 1.2MB) here. 

Department Chair

Associate Professor Jingdong Yuan
Associate Professor Jingdong Yuan
Visit Associate Professor Yuan's academic profile

School of Social and Political Sciences

  • +61 2 9351 2650 

Steven Weng

Headshot of Steven Weng
Government and International Relations student
“The culture here encourages robust intellectual discussion and debate. The academics who teach you at Sydney influence the political conversation at the national and international levels."
Download our undergraduate course guide (pdf, 4.8MB)

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