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This is a PLuS Alliance course offered through UNSW. Students at UNSW, Arizona State University and Kings College London who are in a PLuS Alliance program can enrol into this course.

This course is offered in two modes: either face to face (on campus in a series of intensive workshops) and fully online.

Our systems, thinking, training, legislation and policies have lagged far behind momentous changes in science, and leaving us vulnerable to population-level harm from bioterrorism. Synthetic viruses and genetic engineering of pathogens are a reality, with a rapid acceleration of dual-use research of concern (DURC), which is research intended for good which may also be used to cause harm to humans. The public availability of methods for DURC genetic engineering, coupled with the insider threat, poses an unprecedented risk for global biosecurity. The course will provide a grounding in human health aspects of bioterrorism and response, for first-responders, analysts or policy makers from health, emergency management, law enforcement, military or other relevant backgrounds. An overview of bioterrorism past, present and future scenarios will be covered. Case studies in risk analysis, risk mitigation and response will be studied. These will cover engineered transmissible H5N1 avian influenza; distinguishing natural from unnatural epidemics, surveillance tools, rapid intelligence and analysis methods. International health regulations, governance of DURC, insider threat and ethical frameworks will be examined. Models for cross-sectoral collaboration and communication will also be explored. Preparation of first line responders to biohazards will be covered, including personal protective equipment, decontamination, epidemic control measures, post-exposure prophylaxis and vaccines for biosecurity.

This course is an elective course of the Master of Public Health, Master of International Public Health, Master of Health Management and Infectious Diseases Intelligence programs, comprising 6 UOC towards the total required for completion of the study program. There are no pre-requisites for this course. The course draws on recognised experts with a breath of experience, and has an emphasis on practical learning experiences using real case scenarios. PHCM9789 will consist of a 5 day series of lectures and tutorials for internal students, and an intensive experience for external students delivered over 8 weeks.  The course can be taken by health professionals and also professionals from defence, security, law enforcement or emergency management. For the latter, who have no health training, basics of epidemiology and infectious diseases will be provided online on Moodle as a pre-course requirement.


Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 1, Term 3



Delivery Mode

Fully online

Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Prerequisite: Students who are not enrolled in a postgraduate program in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine will need to provide approval from their program authority and the approval of the course convenor to

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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