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Bachelor of Social Science with a Major in Security and International Relations

If you’re hoping to make a lasting difference to international politics and create impactful solutions to security problems, this course is for you.

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3 years full-time

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Mar, Jul, Nov

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100% Online

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‘The benefit of studying online with Swinburne Online has allowed me to schedule my time efficiently and effectively around [my life]. I have been provided with a world-class education led by industry leaders and professionals.’

Kate, Swinburne Online graduate

14.6% ▴

There's a world of opportunities for Community Development Officers, with jobs set to increase by 14.6% over the next 5 years


The Social Science faculty was awarded a 5-star rating for overall experience and teaching quality, by the Good Universities Guide 2022.

‘The benefit of studying online with Swinburne Online has allowed me to schedule my time efficiently and effectively around [my life]. I have been provided with a world-class education led by industry leaders and professionals.’

Kate, Swinburne Online graduate

14.6% ▴

There's a world of opportunities for Community Development Officers, with jobs set to increase by 14.6% over the next 5 years

The Social Science faculty was awarded a 5-star rating for overall experience and teaching quality, by the Good Universities Guide 2022.


The global network of foreign affairs, trade and diplomacy is ready for a new generation of thinkers. That’s where you come in.

You will be immersed in the complex issues that surround security, international trade and global diplomacy. Topics include Australia’s foreign policy and partnerships, the role of the United Nations, and the evolution of global politics and human rights. You’ll learn about the international framework for human rights and unpack issues such as international law versus the state, refugee rights, drones, torture in security and humanitarian intervention.

Taught by experts with professional backgrounds in politics and intelligence, you’ll learn real-world strategies to set you up for a fulfilling career in a sector you’re passionate about, such as government, not-for-profit, trade, policy, risk analysis and more. With a focus on industry-standard practices, you’ll examine real government documents and case studies to boost your job readiness.

As a graduate of this flexible course, you’ll have a thorough understanding of domestic and international political issues. You’ll also be able to pick from a wide range of electives, where you can enhance your skill set by studying related topics such as counter terrorism or behavioural studies. With this knowledge, you’ll be set up for a rewarding career and the lifelong opportunity to contribute to changes in international politics.

What will you learn?

  • International Relations: Explore the role of the United Nations and the problems associated with global governance.
  • International Politics: Gain an understanding of the major institutions, events and issues in international politics.
  • History, Politics and Human Rights: Reflect on international framework of Human Rights from a historical and political perspective.
  • Australian Foreign Policy: Explore Australia’s foreign policy and strategic international security partnerships.
  • War and Peace: Learn about the evolution of global politics since World War II.

Learn more about our professional accreditations. Download a Course Guide.

Flexible study

What does flexible study mean for me?

Studying at Swinburne Online gives you the freedom to study how it suits you. Learn when and where it fits in with your life and tailor your study journey to your own needs without giving up what’s important.

Flexible study at Swinburne Online

Set a study pace that work with what’s going on in your life. If you’re unsure about how much you can commit to, we can offer part-time options and the option of increasing your unit load as your progress. Interested in fast-tracking your studies? You also have the opportunity to complete up to 12 units per year.

You don’t have to put your life on hold to study. Prioritise what matters to you and fit study around family, work and personal commitments through a course that is flexibly designed for online learners.

Start when it suits. Swinburne Online offers multiple intake dates and flexible unit availability, so you can choose when you begin your studies or if you need to take a break.

Flexible study requires flexible support. As a Swinburne Online student, you’ll have support for extended hours, 7 days a week, with Student Advisors available to help with anything from tech support to research advice and dedicated online tutors in each of your units.


Your course structure

The Bachelor of Social Science – Security and International Relations consists of 24 units, including four core units, eight major units and 12 electives.

Your core units provide an essential foundation for studying social science. In this major you must complete COM10003 Learning and Communicating Online, SOC10004 Sociological Foundations and POL10001 Australian Politics. You may then choose INS10001 Connecting with Culture: Indigenous Australian Experiences, OR PSY10005 Introduction to Research Methods.

Why study a degree in International Relations with Swinburne Online? Our courses are at the forefront of industry and provide you with the practical skills to success come graduation. Get a taste through the course highlight below, or view all units in this bachelor’s degree.

View All Units

How you'll learn

Learning designed for online

Your study journey with Swinburne Online is tailored to the digital space. You’ll study in a dynamic virtual classroom environment, interact with your peers in the custom-built social platform, and receive support at the times you need it from advisors who understand studying online.

Your online study journey

You’ll complete each of your units in Canvas, your online classroom, and guided through coursework by an online tutor with real-world experience in your field of study. Canvas is where you’ll access classes, assignments and discussion boards with your peers.

The Student Hub is your online campus, where you’ll access the support and resources to assist you throughout your study journey. From managing your course to technical support and library resources, you’ll find it all in one easy location.

Swinburne Online will be there for you each step of the way. From enrolment through to graduation, we offer extended, flexible support in each of your units and advisors to assist with anything from technical support to referencing and assignment tips.

Entry requirements

Completion or partial completion of an approved tertiary qualification (including diplomas, advanced diplomas, associate degrees and degrees). Additional performance criteria and prerequisite requirements may also apply.

Applicants without a formal qualification but with significant and relevant work experience and appropriate English language skills, or a suitable Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) result, will be considered if they can demonstrate that they can undertake the course with a reasonable prospect of success.

Read our Applying and Enrolling FAQs.

The University may determine selection criteria and restrictions in respect of courses to apply in addition to these entry requirements.

VCE Units 3 and 4: a minimum study score of 25 in any English (except EAL) or 30 in English as Alternate Language (EAL) or equivalent

Meeting the minimum entry requirements for the course does not guarantee offer of a place. See Admissions at Swinburne, for general information about admission process

Credit transfer

Credit is granted in recognition of previous study and/or experience and allows students to gain advanced standing towards their course. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Speak to a Course Consultant about applying for credit.

Applicants who have completed a Diploma in a related discipline may be eligible for credit of up to 8 units; the equivalent of a third of the course. Students admitted to the course with prior tertiary studies that satisfy part of the academic requirements of this course may be eligible for academic credit of up to 16 units.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) allows students to gain credit (advanced standing) towards their course in recognition of skills and knowledge gained through work experience, life experience and/or formal training. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Speak to a Course Consultant about applying for RPL.

Pathways allow students to progress from one qualification to another where the first course is recognised as an entry requirement and provides advanced standing to the second.

Credit available may vary depending on the major selected within any given degree but in most instances you may receive up to 8 unit credits.

Our Course Consultants will step you through the process of entry and credit using previous study.


The estimated annual fee for this course is $16,323*. This is based on completing eight 12.5 credit point units in one calendar year.

Commonwealth provided loans are available to assist eligible students to pay their course fees and there are a range of university, government and privately funded scholarships and prizes.

Discover more information about HELP loans.

Course fees will be affected by a student’s unit selection and any credit awarded in recognition of previous academic experience.

This course is offered to domestic and offshore international students. Depending on your citizenship, you may be eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place.

Domestic students also contribute to student services and amenities via an annual fee.

Scholarships are available for both commencing and current students. You may be eligible for Swinburne Scholarships.

Career Outcomes

Kick-start your meaningful career

The Bachelor of Social Science – Security and International Relations prioritises your readiness to succeed come graduation through industry connections embedded in your degree:

  • Professional Teaching: You will be taught by professionals with clinical experience in therapy, counselling or psychology. Learn from experts with practical, real-world experience who are ready to share their knowledge with you.
  • Networking: Develop professional connections with your peers as you collaborate on projects and learn industry level skills.
  • Learn conflict resolution: In this course you’ll develop practical skills to understand the nature of conflict and how it can be resolved, a skill that is highly valued in the workplace.

Plan and coordinate programs for not-for-profit organisations and improve relationships with international clients.

Advise government departments on issues relating to security and foreign affairs.

Help to monitor developments in social, cultural, political or military matters to assist with Australian national security.

Use your knowledge of social science to help address issues facing communities and work to find solutions to problems facing various groups.

This degree can help people already working in Defence to advance their career, by equipping them with specialised knowledge relating to security.


‘At Swinburne Online you learn from real people. It’s all fully online, I’d do my remote learning in the car before work, which makes it so easy to have your own life. I love the fact that they cater to all learning styles. Swinburne Online has had a profound impact on my journey and I would recommend it to anyone else.’


Swinburne Online graduate

What are other students asking?
For students undertaking a degree, most of your learning materials are included with a free license provided to you by Swinburne Online. However, in some cases, you will be notified via your student email that you will need to buy specific software or eTexts. For TAFE Business students, all of your learning materials will be available online and are covered by your course fees. You won’t need to purchase any further materials.
When you enrol to study a degree with us, you will nominate how many units you would like to select per teaching period, based on a recommendation from one of our Course Consultants. From here, our enrolments team will allocate you automatically to the units they feel will be best suited to your needs, so you don’t need to worry about choosing units. If you want to choose something different than what you are allocated to, that is no problem, just get in touch with our Student Advisors and they will take care of it for you.
You won’t normally have to be online at a specific time. Your course material is available for you from the beginning of each teaching period and you can work through it in the hours that suit you. There are some live webinar sessions that run approximately once a month. These are a special opportunity for students to sign in at the same time as their tutors, normally before an assessment deadline. It gives you the chance to ask any questions relating to the assignment in real time and hear other student’s questions and thoughts. We understand that students won’t always be able to make these sessions, so they can be replayed the next day.

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