GENS4008 Nuclear Arms, Peace and Global Governance


No set textbook. Lecture Notes Supplied with Course

Course Coordinator: 

A/Prof Chris Hamer
Consultation times: Please email me if you would like to see me, and we will work out a time.
(02) 9385 4590
Room 59E Old Main Building

Susan Hagon
(Higher Year Coordinator)
9385 6293
Room 62B, Old Main Building
available most working hours, drop in or make an appointment

Course Description : 

Students are invited to study and discuss various questions concerning nuclear weapons, and the more general problem of preventing war. We look at the international political system, warfare and the arms race. We ask how a nuclear bomb actually works, and what its effects are likely to be. The associated issues of nuclear safeguards and the nuclear power industry are treated briefly. We study nuclear strategies, and then review attempts to control nuclear arms, particularly the Non Proliferation Treaty. We discuss institutions of collective security aimed at preserving peace, including the European Union and the United Nations. Finally, we discuss steps towards improved governance at the global level, through which we may eventually remove the threat of nuclear weapons entirely.

Course Structure: 

The course is wholly delivered online. See the Moodle website for details.


1. Online Discussions/tutorials (25% of total course mark).
• During week 2 (beginning Monday 1st August) through to week 9 (beginning Monday 18th September) you will need to contribute weekly to on-line discussions (tutorials).
• There are 8 online tutorials in total, and your contribution must be received by 1400 hrs
(2 pm) on the Monday AFTER the tutorial opened.
• All 8 tutorial discussions will be of equal weight.

2. Online Quizzes (15% of total course mark).
• There will be four online quizzes, and each will be of equal weighting.
• The quizzes will open on 0900 of the Monday of the week before they are due, and will close at 1700 hrs on the Wednesday of the week they are due.
• The quizzes are due:
o Quiz 1, Due Week 4: Opens 0900 Mon 8th August Closes 1700 Wed 17th August
o Quiz 2, Due Week 7: Opens 0900 Mon 29th August Closes 1700 Wed 7th September
o Quiz 3, Due Week 9: Opens 0900 Mon 12th September Closes 1700 Wed 21st September
o Quiz 4, Due Week 11: Opens 0900 Mon 3rd October - Closes 1700 Wed 12th October

3. Blog Posting – 300 to 400-word posting on topic chosen from the set of available topics (20% of total course mark).
• Students will have the chance to suggest topics on which they would like to blog.
• To get full marks, students must make a comment on another student’s blog posting.
• Assignment opens Monday Week 3, 8th August.
• Blog posting due Monday Week 6, 1700, 29th September.
• Comment on another students blog posting due Monday Week 7, 1400, 5th September.

4. Major Research assignment (40% of total course mark).
Write an essay of around 2000 – 3000 words on a topic associated with the course. A list of possible topics will appear on the Moodle site, but you are encouraged to find your own topic.

Semester(s) Offered: 

Semester 2


Nil prior knowledge in science is assumed, but an interest in global issues will be a big advantage in undertaking this course

Photo of Chris Hamer
Honorary Associate Professor

Chris Hamer