School of Population Health

Bioterrorism Health Intelligence Course Description

The Bioterrorism and Health Intelligence course has already been offered during Term 1 2020. This course will be offered again FULLY ONLINE in Term 3 2020, ONLY for current students, who are enrolled in a relevant postgraduate program in the School of Population Health and need to complete their postgraduate program before Term 3 2021. All other students should contact the School of Population Health to discuss their academic background and seek enrolment approval.


Applicants wishing to complete the course for professional development (attend the classes only and not complete assessment) need to contact David Muscatello or David Heslop to express their interest. We are also happy to discuss other course delivery options outside of the scheduled time for organisations who wish to provide it for their staff. 

This course is also a core subject in programs offered in the Plus Alliance, the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence and the Master of Public Health, Public Security. When doing a Plus Alliance program, you can choose from a range of electives from Arizona State University. Contact us for more details of how you can have a truly global learning experience.

A new approach to bio-preparedness

The concept of a “nuclear winter” has long been understood, but in uncharted new scientific territory in the modern world, there is little awareness of the risk of a “biological winter”, how this risk should be addressed, and what new systems, legislation and approaches are needed to mitigate unprecedented challenges to biosecurity.

This course is for professionals involved in any aspect of bioterrorism preparedness and response, who wish to be intellectually challenged, to think outside the square, to gain insight into quantum changes in science which pose a biosecurity risk, to understand the different perspectives of sectors involved in response, and to gain new critical skills which can be applied in their professional practice.

Breaking new ground in education

Our course is presented in five modules, with a mini movie in 5 episodes as the trigger for each module. We offer interactive, fully online participation or a face to face experience - you choose! See the trailer and teaser for the movie. 

Don’t have a background in health?

We cater for all needs and include a pre-course module which will provide you the required background in infectious diseases, public health and epidemiology.


This course presents an innovative new approach to critically evaluating risks and responses to biosecurity threats to human health in the modern age. Our systems, thinking, training, legislation and policies have lagged far behind momentous changes in science, 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, risks of laboratory accidents, coupled with the insider threat, poses an unprecedented risk for global biosecurity.

This course covers bioterrorism past, present and future; case studies in risk analysis, risk mitigation, prevention and response; distinguishing natural from unnatural epidemics; surveillance tools, rapid intelligence and analysis methods; International health regulations, governance, insider threat and ethical frameworks; and response (decontamination and protection of responders).

Hear from expert international speakers from the FBI, NSW Police, Australian Army, Defence Science and Technology Group and University of Texas Medical Branch Police Department, along with UNSW faculty.  You will learn about key aspects of bioterrorism recognition, response and mitigation.

Course description

  • This 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. This course will not only teach the latest concepts in bioterrorism, but will enhance the ability of participants to engage more effectively with other sectors in emergency response.
  • An overview of bioterrorism past, present and future scenarios will be covered.
  • Case studies in risk analysis, risk mitigation, prevention 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.
  •  For those interested in operational expertise in identifying bioterrorism, they should also do Infectious Diseases Intelligence, designed as a companion course to this course.

Who should do this course?

This course is designed for stakeholders from any sector involved in BT response, who wish to gain a better understanding of bioterrorism in the modern age, and to gain insight into diverse perspectives into prevention, mitigation and response. Students will have an intensive, interactive experience, which will include exposure to the perspectives of different sectors in biosecurity.

Flexible delivery

For busy professionals with diverse needs, we provide you the flexibility to do this intensive course in Sydney in face-to-face workshop mode or as a fully online intensive. We ensure an equivalent interactive, intensive experience regardless of which mode of delivery you choose. Our experienced tutors will be available to discuss problems online or face-to-face in the classroom. Participants who do not have a background in health will be provided with online pre-course material covering the basics of public health, infectious diseases and epidemiology. This will need to be completed before doing the intensive workshop.