The Bachelor of International Studies requires three years of full-time study (or the equivalent part-time) and the honours program an additional year (or the equivalent part-time).

The course is offered by the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Enrolment in the honours program may be offered to a student who meets certain academic criteria and subject to the school/department being able to provide appropriate resources and staff to supervise the program of study.

Admission requirements

The minimum requirements for consideration for entry to all undergraduate courses are specified in detail in the University Entry Requirements.

Course aims

The course aims to provide a wide choice of studies related to International Relations, foreign policy, foreign societies and cultures, politics and government around the world, global history and the role of international organisations and movements. Students are encouraged to undertake language studies other than English to complement the social science orientation of the rest of the International Studies course. Opportunities for elective study are also built into the course.

The course aims to produce graduates who have acquired:

  • skills, knowledge and conceptual understandings that make them suitable for employment in organisations that have an international or inter-cultural focus
  • an understanding of key political, social, economic, strategic and cultural relationships within the International System and the global community
  • an understanding of foreign policy, diplomacy and other modes of interaction between the countries of the world
  • an understanding of Australia's place and role within the Asian region and internationally
  • an understanding of societies, cultures and alternative systems of governance throughout Asia and other parts of the world that are of particular significance to Australia
  • an understanding of the international movement of people, as immigrants, refugees, workers, students, tourists and investors
  • an understanding of the impact of globalisation on international transactions and social perspectives
  • an understanding of languages other than English for students who wish to undertake them
  • an appreciation of cross-disciplinary approaches to International Studies.

Learning outcomes

Bachelor of International Studies graduates should be able to:

  • communicate in a professional and culturally aware manner through high quality written analytical and oral presentational skills
  • confidently adapt to challenges in different workplace environments
  • demonstrate a developed skill set that allows them to contribute effectively to specific specialist areas of International Relations, foreign policy studies of other countries, societies and governance structures, and languages
  • apply their professional knowledge to the formulation of policies, the provision of policy advice, the preparation of policy analyses, and the undertaking of policy research and evaluation
  • apply analytical and research skills suitable for higher study or employment in the field of International Studies, including political and social analysis, normative evaluation, archival and historical research, documentary and data interpretation, and bibliographic compilation
  • demonstrate a high standard of professionalism informed by strong ethical and moral standards
  • demonstrate a capacity to work equally effectively in a team-based environment or autonomously as an individual
  • be well-equipped for graduate-entry employment positions, especially within the public sector.

Program of study

To qualify for The Bachelor of International Studies a student must complete 108 units with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic. This must include:

a)  eight core topics

b)   two major sequences, each comprising 36 units, selected from the options listed below. Students can use topics already chosen to meet the requirements of (a) to meet the requirement of the major sequences.

To complete 108 units, other topics may be selected from any offered by the University provided entry and course requirements are met and that no more than 45 units, of First Year topics are included.

Core - Year 1 topics

 COMS1001 Academic and Professional Communication (4.5 units)*
 INTR1006  International Relations: An Introduction  (4.5 units)
 INTR1007  Australia and the World  (4.5 units)

Select two from the following*:

 AMST1002  America and the World: The United States in a Global Context  (4.5 units)
 ASST1001  Discovering Asia  (4.5 units)
 ASST1002  Modern Asia: Economy, Society and Politics  (4.5 units)
 BUSN1008 Introductory Macroeconomics (4.5 units)
 DVST1001  The Political Economy of International Development  (4.5 units)
 HIST1703  Turning Points in World History  (4.5 units)
 POLI1003  An Introduction to Democracy and Government (4.5 units)
 INTR1008  Inter-State Wars and International Security (4.5 units)

* Under certain conditions the core topic COMS1001 may be replaced with an alternative topic - see COMS1001 for further details. For students who are required to complete COMS1001 at least one of the two topics they select from the above list must also be in the first year list of their chosen Group 1 major as it will be counted towards completion of the major.

Students are not required to enrol in COMS1001 when undertaking this degree in combination with any of the following degrees:


Core - Year 2 topics

Select three from the following:

 ASST2005  Democracy and Human Rights in Asia  (4.5 units)
 INTR2001  Peace and War  (4.5 units)
 INTR2002  The Modern International System  (4.5 units)
 INTR2003  Political Economy of the Asia-Pacific Region  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 3 topics

 INST3002  Perspectives in International Studies  (4.5 units)


Students select two of the following sequences, at least one of which must be from Group 1.

The programs of study for major sequences in Groups 1 and 2 can be found in The Bachelor of Arts entry.


A student who has completed all the requirements of The Bachelor of International Studies, or another qualification which the Faculty Board agrees is equivalent, may be accepted as a candidate for the honours degree providing a sufficiently high standard has been achieved in fulfilling the requirements for The Bachelors degree.

Honours programs may be undertaken in the following disciplines with program details in The Bachelor of Arts entry: American Studies; Asian Studies; Development Studies; French; History; Indonesian; International Relations; Italian; Latin American Studies; Modern Greek; Politics and Spanish.

Refer to Bachelor of International Studies (Honours)

Combined Degrees

The Bachelor of International Studies may also be studied in a combined degrees program with a: