Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Fall 2018



Course Number


Course Description

Global health issues have affected world history more extensively than most of us can imagine. In today's world, international trade and travel threaten transborder epidemics by transporting and spreading diseases globally at jet speed. The growing risk of exposure to infectious disease, coupled with the threat of bioterrorism, creates a situation in which health and security are interacting with greater frequency and intensity. This development parallels efforts to redefine the concept of security to encompass new global challenges. How did epidemics function as agents of historical change? What are the major linkages between health and security? Should new global health challenges such as non-communicable diseases be framed as problems that require response from the national security community? How does the "securitization of health" affect the governance of particular health problems? Conversely, how do the discussions and debates on health security transform our understanding of security?

This interdisciplinary course focuses on global health security. It has four main content objectives: 1) to examine the historical impact of infectious disease; 2) to clarify the processes by which health problems function to threaten human, national or international security; 3) to evaluate emerging global health challenges and their security implications; and 4) to explore the pros and cons of securitizing global health challenges. By the end of the semester, students should have acquired knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories, and debates involved in the study of global health security. Students should have also developed the skills to analyze complex situations and synthesize information, and to communicate effectively using oral and written forms.