The terrorism studies course provides a thorough grounding in understanding terrorism and the issues surrounding counter terrorism. Your individual needs may differ from others taking this course so, after a core module for the full Certificate course, flexibility is built into the programme with you able to select modules that most suit your knowledge and organisational requirements.
The Certificate is awarded on successful completion of all four modules chosen, including online tests and tutor marked assignments at the end of each module. There is no formal final examination.
For full course details, download the latest Certificate in Terrorism Studies training course prospectus here.
Your chosen modules are released every four weeks and, to make it easy for you, each module allows you to jump to any screen you wish to see within a lesson as well as a search function to find the relevant terms.
Students are encouraged to complete additional elective modules in order to gain accreditation in a wider range of topics.
Study modules individually or as part of the Certificate in Terrorism Studies.
Key Issues in International Terrorism (Core module for Certificate students)
Forming the core of the Certificate in Terrorism Studies course, the module examines the fundamental issues behind terrorism and the current responses to this threat. It explores the concept of terrorism, the types of terrorism and prominent terrorist groups. In addition it evaluates the international measures to curb terrorism and explores the role of business and media sectors in countering terrorist activities, while examining emerging trends in terrorism.
Participants critically examine:
- The impact and effectiveness of terrorism as a political weapon
- Reponses to terrorism: the international community, the democratic dilemma, and crisis and consequences management
- The Al Qaeda terrorist organisation and strategies for dismantling the network
- Requirements from the public, media and private sector in effectively countering terrorist threats
- Emerging trends in terrorism post the 9/11 Al Qaeda attack on the US
Terrorist Ideologies, Aims, Beliefs and Motivations
What motivates terrorists? Understanding the terrorist mind-set is critical to countering terrorism effectively. This module enhances a participant's analytical ability by identifying the various strains of influence within today's terrorist groups and networks.
In this module, participants learn about:
- The different types of ideology that motivate terrorism and the formation of terrorist groups
- Other factors that may motivate terrorism including psychological, economic and cultural factors, as well as the types of state response
- The terrorists’ worldview and the transmission of its propaganda through the media and the role of propaganda in recruitment
- Different interpretations of events from the terrorist perspective and assess the impact of ideology
- Potential future ideological trends in terrorism
Terrorist Modus Operandi
This module explores how the ideologies of various terrorist groups can have an impact on group structure, tactics, strategies and target selection. It examines types of terrorist tactics, looking into the role of ideology and the impact of state response on the evolution of terrorist strategies, before considering the possible future trends in terrorist tactics.
Special attention is paid to:
- The relationship between a terrorist organisation's ideological make-up and the type of targets and tactics it might use
- Drawing distinctions between “traditional” terrorism and new international terrorism including two case studies on the IRA and Al Qaeda / Global Salafi Jihad
- Different types of tactics that terrorists employ and the importance of terrorist target selection, technology, recruitment, training and financing
- The impact of state response on terrorist tactics
- Best practice for effective inter-agency collaboration in countering terrorism
- Terrorist group exploitation of the media, including satellite TV networks such as Al-Jazeera
International Policing Policy
The police role in the management of terrorism in modern democracies is critical. By exploring initiatives in various countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and across Europe, this module examines in detail the role of police and other agencies involved in the efforts to prevent terrorism and manage terrorist attack incidents. It also examines the role of the police during pre-emptive operations and major terrorist incidents with the help of case studies.
Key themes in this module include:
- The role police play in countering terrorism including combating radicalisation and fostering community cohesion
- Implementing counter-terrorism strategy at a regional, national and international level
- The relationship between the security services, police and intelligence
- The role of the media and the military in counterterrorism policing
- The deployment of technology
- Development in counter-terrorism policing and anticipated issues for the future
Aviation Terrorism & Security
Beginning with a brief historical survey of aviation terrorism from Dawson's Field to Lockerbie, 9/11 and beyond, this module examines aviation terrorism from both theoretical and tactical perspectives. It discusses the prevailing and potential threats to civil aviation and the measures required to counter them.
Essential topics covered include:
- Why aviation remains a key terrorist target and the need for effective aviation security
- The evolution of aviation terrorism: hijack and sabotage bombing
- The role of Al Qaeda in aviation terrorism
- Emerging threats, the need for awareness and advanced measures in countering aviation terrorism
- Comparative analysis of national and international measures needed in aviation security and international cooperation
- Proposed solutions for countering attacks on aviation terrorism
Maritime Terrorism & Security
This module provides participants with a solid foundation in the complex and often obscure world of maritime security. The module assesses the threat of terrorism to the maritime industry and includes profiles of the various terrorist groups involved. It also presents a historical perspective on the emergence of maritime terrorism. Due to the recent proliferation of maritime piracy as a serious threat to international shipping along many of the major sea lines of communication, this module also analyses this phenomenon.
Participants will gain a solid foundation in:
- The history of the presence and proliferation of maritime terrorism
- Current threats to the maritime domain posed by piracy and terrorism
- Capabilities of groups involved in maritime related terrorism and crime
- The various threats to maritime trade and judging their impact and probability
- Major maritime security initiatives to date, including legal requirements such as the International Ships and Port Security (ISPS) Code, the Container
- Security Initiative (CSI), Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
- Technological solutions for ship and port security
- The role of private security firms in combating piracy
Critical Infrastructure Protection
What is infrastructure and what makes it critical? Why is it imperative to protect it and what would happen if we chose not to protect it? These are all questions addressed in this module before studying the international necessity to protect these areas against a range of threats, and in particular that of terrorism, in an all hazards approach. By critically examining key areas, the module enhances participants’ understanding of this essential topic.
This module includes:
- The importance of the protection of critical infrastructure and key resources
- Case studies on nuclear energy, aviation and cyberspace security to understand the issues of criticality, vulnerability and threats to key assets
- Critical infrastructure interdependency and Complex Adaptive Systems
- Critical infrastructure protection vs. Critical infrastructure resilience
- Future threats to critical infrastructure
This module examines the concept of cyberterrorism and provides an introduction to the ways in which terrorists use the Internet and the politics of cybersecurity. It offers simplified explanations of the technology of the Internet and major types of cyberattack, with the aim of assisting students to gain a concrete sense of the issues that are under discussion. Note that the module does not provide a technical grounding in cybersecurity.
During your studies you will gain an understanding of:
- The main definitional and conceptual issues needed to assess why the idea of ‘cyberterrorism’ may be relevant, and how it may be distinguished from other phenomena.
- The culture and practice of computer hacking.
- Basic technical principles of how the Internet works, and how it can be illegally exploited.
- How the Internet is used as a weapon and a resource by activists, terrorists and governments.
- The general principles of cybersecurity, and especially the political and legal issues at stake in developing regimes against cybercrime and, potentially, cyberterrorism.
Radicalistaion and De-Radicalisation
Why people turn to terrorism, how they become involved, and then eventually participate in terrorist activity is a complex area in the study of terrorism. By looking at the root-causes of terrorism and also if a ‘terrorist personality’ exists are key ways in which this area can be viewed and understood. This module looks at the process of radicalising individuals and defines key concepts such as radicalisation, disengagement, and de-radicalisation, as well as Islamism, Jihadism, Salafism and Fundamentalism.
The module also includes:
- A study of German Red Army Faction terrorists sponsored by the German government in the 1970s to illustrate the arguments against the existence of common traits in those who become terrorists
- ‘Triggering events’ and understanding terrorism as a process – exactly what does the study of radicalisation and de-radicalisation aim at?
- The process character or nature of becoming involved with terrorism - small steps vs major steps and what events lead to individuals becoming terrorists
- A study of Western Jihadists such as the 7/7 bombers and typical ‘traditional’ terrorists such as PIRA or Italian red brigades activists to highlight the different natures of how individuals become involved
- Disengagement – how do terrorists walk away
- De-radicalisation – why do terrorists change their way of thinking and how to make the process of walking away irreversible
- Implications for counter terrorism, when to intervene and how the process could be stopped or even reversed
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Weapons in Terrorism
The threat of the use of CBRN or ‘weapons of mass destruction’ by terrorist organisations is something that is ever present in the 21st century. While this seems like a new threat, the first use of this type of attack dates back to World War l. While the number of cases of attacks using one of these types of weapons is actually rare, the ability of groups to acquire or make these types of weapons is ever present. Therefore the study of this area is something that is of key importance in understanding the terrorist threat.
This module looks at the development of weapons in the past century and assesses how and why, despite the reductions in stockpiles and the treaties to prevent the proliferation of these weapons, development continues to spread.
By the end of this module, participants will be able to:
- Understand the mechanisms of supply of CBRN and the difficulties of obtaining intelligenc
- Assess the terrorist CBRN threat and how perceptions of civilian threats changed after 9/1
- Measure intent alongside capabilities of groups and individuals, and examine how they acquire and fabricate materials into CBRN device
- Explain the nature and effects of CBRN agents and materials and discuss past noted event
- Analyse the obstacles to CBRN deployment by non-state actors, and why some groups with potential capability chose not to use CBRN while others may do
- Measure the effectiveness of government countermeasures – equipment, first response, training and render-safe procedure
- Discuss the extent of the threat against the backdrop of conflicts and instability in many region
- Examine the possibility of future threats and incidents
Terrorism and Human Rights - NEW FOR MAY 2013 ENTRY
This module introduces participants to the role that human rights standards play in the fight against terrorism, both in terms of the duties that they impose on governments to protect civilians from harm and in terms of the constraints they place on the counterterrorism measures that governments may adopt.
Throughout this module you will cover:
- The international human rights framework and the different institutions that have been established to protect human rights at the international and regional level
- Key concepts behind the idea of human rights, and its relationship with democracy and the rule of law States of emergency, and the idea that human rights safeguards may be restricted or even suspended during times of crisis
- Whether respect for human rights is no longer meaningful or it is an essential aspect of effective counter-terrorism policy
- Details of specific rights, including the right to life, the right to liberty and due process, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and freedom from torture
- A wide range of policy issues including the use of surveillance, ‘enhanced’ interrogation methods, drone strikes, secret evidence, deportation, extradition and detention without trial
For full course details, download the latest Certificate in Terrorism Studies training course prospectus here.