Kim Richard Nossal went to school in Melbourne, Beijing, Toronto, and Hong Kong and attended the University of Toronto, receiving his PhD in 1977. In 1976 he joined the Department of Political Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he taught international relations and Canadian foreign policy and served as chair of the Department in 1989-90 and 1992-1996. In 2001, he came to Queen’s University, heading the Department of Political Studies until 2009.
He has served as editor of International Journal, the quarterly journal of the Canadian International Council, Canada’s institute of international affairs (1992-1997); president of the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America (1999-2001); and president of the Canadian Political Science Association (2005-2006). He served as chair of the academic selection committee of the Security and Defence Forum of the Department of National Defence from 2006 to 2012.