Map NZ Map World

International Relations and Security Studies

Studying International Relations and Security Studies at Waikato includes aspects of international law and trade, and focuses on particular regions of concern (notably, the Middle-East and South-East Asia). A wide range of different length dissertations and theses can be undertaken allowing you to focus on an area of special interest.

Like most states, New Zealand depends for its security and prosperity on regional and international stability. Its political, economic and societal well-being can be affected by, for example, major power relations; global financial crisis; and the rise of violent extremist non-state actors and the responses to them. As a good international citizen, New Zealand seeks to play a role in the international institutions which try to uphold international law and order and to contribute to international stabilisation operations in various countries.

Given the significance of such issues, International Relations and Security Studies is available as a minor in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Sciences.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Study Location:Hamilton
Area of Study:

Career opportunities

  • Diplomat
  • Foreign Policy Analyst
  • International Defence Relations Officer
  • National Assessments Bureau
  • National and International NGOs
  • New Zealand Defence Force Officer
  • Security and Intelligence Officer

100 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
IRSST103Introduction to International Relations20A (Hamilton), 20A (Online), 20A (Tauranga) & 20B (Tauranga)
This paper provides an introduction to the study of international relations in an era of globalisation. It covers the historical background, key concepts and theories, case studies, and contemporary developments in the study of world politics.
IRSST104Introduction to International Security20B (Hamilton), 20B (Online) & 20B (Tauranga)
This course is an introduction to the study of international security. It examines a variety of contemporary security issues and explores how and why conflict emerges in the international system.
POLSC103Let's Get Political20A (Online) & 20A (Tauranga)
Politics affects every aspect of our lives. This paper is an introduction to understanding political issues, helping you make your voice heard in debates about our future as a society.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
IRSST206International Relations: The Security Agenda20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
This paper introduces students to International Relations' dynamic and evolving security agenda and covers some of the most urgent contemporary security concerns.
POLSC203The Politics of Collective Memory20B (Online) & 20B (Tauranga)
This paper analyses the political use of collective memory. Why do communities and nations decide to keep certain memories of the historical past alive while repressing and discarding others?
POLSC224Terrorism, Violence and the State20B (Hamilton)
Terrorism is an increasingly prominent global phenomenon. We will clarify it conceptually and situate it historically with theory and case studies in situating it in comparative political and International Relations analysis.
POLSC229US Politics20B (Online) & 20B (Tauranga)
Students in this course explore the foundational elements of the United States, its governing institutions, the extent of public influence within the system, and major contemporary policy issues that the country faces.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
IRSST301International Relations: The Context, Theory and Practice of New Zealand Foreign Policy20B (Hamilton)
This course delivers a comprehensive historical overview of New Zealand foreign policy from the beginning of the 20th century, and considers the role government departments play in the creation and implementation of policy.
IRSST315International Politics of Asia20A (Hamilton)
It provides an introduction to, and analysis of, critical issues in Asia. Issues may include some, or all, of the Kashmir dispute; the situation on the Korean Peninsula; the South China Sea disputes; and tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
IRSST331Cyber Security and the Global Politics of the Internet20A (Online) & 20B (Online)
This course explores the global politics of cyber security and the internet. It covers the major political/strategic/theoretical debates around enhancing the security of computer systems and how states and non-state actors are responding.
POLCY318Global Environmental Politics and Policy20B (Hamilton)
This paper explores contemporary debates on environmental politics, sustainability, justice, and environmental governance. It examines the political processes underpinning the search for cooperative solutions to environmental dilemmas, including climate change.
POLSC301Political Communication in a Visual Age20A (Online) & 20A (Tauranga)
How can different forms of visual communication be employed to promote one's political goals? Students will tackle this question through both theoretical and practical applications.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ANTHY520Tribes, Empires, Nations20B (Hamilton)
This paper examines tribes, empires, and nations as historically distinct types of political systems, and the ongoing influence of tribal and imperial cultures and institutions in diverse contemporary nation-states.
IRSST502Security Issues in South East Asia20A (Hamilton)
After a brief conceptual and historical introduction to security in the region, the paper goes on to consider a range of contemporary security issues. These include ethnic conflict, militant Islam, maritime security, and relations with the major extra-regional powers.
IRSST505International Security, Strategy and Technology20A (Hamilton)
This course offers an introduction to Strategic Studies with particular emphasis on how developments in science and technology affect warfare, conflict, and the use of force in international relations.
IRSST506International Relations and Global Security20B (Hamilton)
This paper teaches and utilises major international relations theories to consider pressing global issues. This includes the causes of war and peace, globalisation, the Cold War, the widening security agenda, terrorism, the environment, inequality, new technologies, and international institutions.
IRSST507Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare20B (Online)
This course examines the political, strategic, legal and economic debates around cyber security and cyber warfare. Particular emphasis is placed on how militaries, national security agencies, and law enforcement are adapting to online threats and incorporating cyber in their strategic planning.
LEGAL531International Environmental Law20B (Hamilton)
This paper provides a synthesis of theory and specific case studies (such as development, growth, trade, debt and aid - as they relate to the international environment), so that the student will be able to understand the most formidable international environmental problems in international law and the context from which these probl...
LEGAL576The Laws of Armed Conflict & International Humanitarian Law20A (Hamilton)
This paper is designed to provide the postgraduate student with an advanced understanding of the basic principles of the Laws of Armed Conflict and International Humanitarian Law through an examination of the principles of international law that are to be applied before, during, and after armed conflict.
POLSC503Democratisation, Democracy and Mass Politics20B (Hamilton)
The concepts, approaches and literature of democracy, democratisation and mass politics, including theories of elitism, authoritarianism and transition to democracy and mass political psychology, democratic socialism, and democracy and capitalism, as well as an examination of relevant case studies.
POLSC537Environmental Politics and Public Policy20B (Hamilton)
This paper introduces students to the complexities and challenges of environmental policy processes, and develops skills in scholarly research on environmental policy making. A significant focus of the paper is on analysing and understanding the complex intersections of institutions, culture, science and technology, and systems of ...
POLSC590Directed Study20A (Hamilton), 20B (Hamilton), 20D (Hamilton) & 20X (Hamilton)
Students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of their own interest under the guidance of academic staff.
POLSC591Dissertation20A (Hamilton), 20B (Hamilton), 20D (Hamilton) & 20X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
POLSC592Dissertation20X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
POLSC593Political Science Thesis20X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
POLSC594Political Science Thesis20X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.

Scholarships and prizes

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Find your scholarship

Subject links


School of Social Sciences

General & Undergraduate Enquiries:
Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4702

Graduate Enquiries: