Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament

Subject POLS90030 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks. If enrolments exceed 35, the 2nd hour of the seminar may be split into 2 or 3 small classes.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Undergraduate level

Non Allowed Subjects:

166-576 Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof John Langmore


Prof. Richard Tanter

Subject Overview:

This subject provides an advanced introduction and critical review of the development and spread of nuclear weapons, the challenges they present, and approaches to their control and to disarmament. This will include a critical examination of strategies for the use of nuclear weapons, measures to reduce their numbers, proliferation and risk of use (including an examination of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), and whether complete nuclear disarmament is possible and how it might be achieved.

A feature of this subject is that most of the lectures will be delivered by visiting experts including Professor Gareth Evans, Professor Jim Falk, Assoc. Prof. Michael Hamel-Green, Dr. Ron Huisken and Assoc. Prof. Tilman Ruff.

  • Enabling students to gain thorough knowledge of major aspects of the history of nuclear weapons.
  • Strengthening analytical capacity about the complexities of competing nuclear strategies such as deterrence.
  • Increasing understanding of the consequences of the existence and potential use of nuclear weapons.
  • Reviewing possibilities and requirements for and the potential process of nuclear disarmament.

Written work totalling 5000 words comprising a 1000 word essay (20%) to be submitted in week 4, a 2000 word essay (40%) due in week eight, and a reflective essay on a set topic of 2000 words (40%) to be submitted during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.Students who fail to meet this hurdle requirement will be deemed ineligible to submit the final piece of assessment for this subject.Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment that is submitted after the due date and up to 10 working days late without an approved extension will be marked on a pass/fail basis only. Assessment that is submitted later than 10 working days will not be accepted or marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Joseph Cirincione, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, Columbia UP, New York, 2007.

The Weapons of Mass destruction Commission, final report, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms, (the Blix Report) Stockholm, Sweden, 1 June 2006.

George Perkovich and James M Acton, Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, Adelphi Paper 396, IISS, London, 2008.

Recommended Texts:

SIPRI, SIPRI Yearbook 2008: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, OUP, Oxford, 2008.

United Nations, The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, Vol 32 (Part I): 2007, Disarmament Resolutions and Decisions of the Sixty-Second Session of the UN General Assembly.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Increasing capacity for contemporary historical analysis of international relations.
  • Strengthening analytical capacity for national and international political and strategic review.
  • Strengthening personal capacity to identify crucial factors influencing issues, analyse them logically and develop persuasive arguments about them.
  • Further development of eloquence as a writer.
Related Course(s): Master of International Relations
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: International Politics
International Studies
Political Science
Political Science
Political Science
Politics and International Studies

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