Terrorism and Counter Terrorism

Course Description: 

Elective Course, Security Specialization/Concentration

The course focuses on the causes of terrorism and the measures that states adopt to fight terrorism. Students will become familiar with a range of terrorist organizations, their goals and their strategies, as well as a variety of counter-terrorism strategies adopted by states. The course explores both the causes and consequences of terrorism, and the policy tools that states and non-state actors adopt as countermeasures. Students will gain experience in assessing and evaluating counterterrorism strategy, from a policy perspective, and will be asked to write a policy brief as part of the course work.

Learning Outcomes: 

The course is designed to provide students with specialized knowledge and skills pertaining to disciplines of public policy and international relations. The overreaching objective is that students master analysis of both terrorist groups and the policy tools of counterterrorism. Students will explore the role of state, international and civil society actors in this policy field, including the dilemmas and trade-offs that different policy strategies involve, through a series of historical and contemporary case studies. Upon successful completion of the course students will be in a position to engage critically with the research-based literature on terrorism and counterterrorism and to assess and evaluate counterterrorism policy. They will gain some experience in identifying policy problems, choosing appropriate analytical tools, and analyzing current issues. They will be able to assess the economic, ethical, social and political dimensions of public policy in the field of counterterrorism, and evaluate it using criteria such as efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, legality and legitimacy.

  1. In-class work includes participation and discussion in the seminars. This is on a pass/fail basis.
  2. Class presentations account for 30% of the final grade. Presentations are done individually. The in-class presentation should take no more than 12 minutes, and be supported by a two-or three-page policy briefing note (max 1200 words, all included).
  3. The final policy paper (max 5000 words, all included), written individually, will make up 70% of the final grade.