Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2015 Australia and the World

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Dr Alexia Moncrieff

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Australia has inherited British institutions, its economy is oriented towards China, and its security is dependent on America. Located on the edge of Asia, it seeks to influence the Pacific region while routinely engaging in international conflicts a long way from home, despite its borders rarely being threatened. This module examines these tensions in an exploration of the factors and events that have shaped the way that Australia has engaged with the world since Federation in 1901. Students will be invited to consider the extent to which a middle power can exert influence on the international stage and whether it is possible to navigate the competing (and sometimes conflicting) priorities of its international partners while still working in its own national interest.


The main objective of this module is to examine the international relations of a middle power, using Australia a case study. This module encourages students to consider the priorities and constraints that shaped Australian foreign policy in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Students will assess the ways in which Australia interacted with major powers and investigate how it has sought to influence its region. This module will provide students with an enhanced understanding of the Asia-Pacific region and the work of regional and international organisations, as well as develop students’ abilities to conduct independent research.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate broad knowledge of Australia’s relations with major world powers, countries within its region and those with which it has historical links
2. Demonstrate understanding of Australia’s engagement with international organisations
3. Identify and account for shifts and transformations in Australian foreign policy
4. Critically analyse and interpret primary sources relating to the topic, particularly official documents and newspaper articles
5. Evaluate and analyse the arguments and methods employed by historians
6. Applied fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.
7. Communicate their findings to different audiences


Topics may include:
Australia’s involvement in 20th and 21st-century wars and peacekeeping missions
Shifting strategic alliances
Cold War security concerns
Diplomacy, foreign aid and international trade
Australia’s involvement in regional defence, security and trade organisations and treaties (ANZUS, SEATO, ASEAN, APEC)
Australia as a regional power in the Asia-Pacific region
Australia as a ‘good international citizen’

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be expected to do preparatory reading of primary and secondary sources before class (55 hours) and undertake further self-directed reading (22 hours). Some seminars will also require the completion of a pre-seminar activity (22 hours). They will also be expected to independently research and prepare their assessments for submission (75 hours), followed by reflection on feedback (6 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored through their participation in seminars as well as their attendance at office hours and individual assessment consultations. The first briefing paper (750 words each) will be due in week 5 and feedback will be provided in time for students to use it to address problems before the rest are submitted in week 9. Similarly, feedback will be provided on the briefing papers in time for students to incorporate it into their essay preparation (2000 words). Only the marks for each student’s best three briefing papers will count.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 words due in Exam Week 140.00
AssignmentBriefing papers 3000 words (4 x 750 words) due in week 2, 5 & 960.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The mark for the briefing paper will be the average of each student’s best three attempts. The briefing paper is a written report (along the lines of a government briefing paper) so does not require an alternative resit.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:05


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019