module specification

SC6052 - Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Research Report , 3000 words
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

The module aims to:
1.  examine the debate over of the origin of a variety of forms of ideological, nationalist and religiously motivated violence in the form of 'terrorism'.
2. explore the dimensions of the new ‘terrorist’ threat. 
3. examine the contemporary range of counter terrorist agencies and policies in the
national and international context.


Following an introductory session the module will address the following topics:
• Ideological and academic positioning in defining and studying both state and non-state terrorism  LO1
• Ideological and national/separatist terror: typologies, motivation and trends LO1
• The ‘new terrorism’ thesis: Islamist extremism and indigenous radicalisation  LO3
• Key theoretical approaches to understanding terrorism  LO2
• Contemporary counter-terrorism policy and practice in the UK LO1
• The international response to terrorism and its national impact LO2,LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is taught through lectures, seminars and workshops and includes contribution(s) from one or more guest speakers with relevant practitioner experience.   The module draws on a range of resources including those of reputable research bodies and quality media organisations.  Key resources are provided on Blackboard including relevant hyperlinks.  Students are encouraged to reflect on their own interests and beliefs and also to be mindful that other students may have diametrically opposed views.
Students are expected to spend approximately 7 hours per week in independent research and writing.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Compare and debate key theoretical explanations for why terrorist acts are committed.   
2. Describe and critically evaluate aspects of the current terrorist threat to the UK and the national policing and legislative response.  
3. Effectively research and write an assignment that identifies differing perspectives and approaches to the study of political violence.

Assessment strategy

Students chose from a selection of 3 topics to write a 3,000 word critical analysis of a specific area of interest within the field of Terrorism Studies


Where possible, the most current version of reading materials is used during the delivery of this module.  Comprehensive reading lists are provided to students in their handbooks.  Reading Lists will be updated annually.

Core Texts:
English, R (2011) Terrorism: How to Respond, Oxford University Press.
Atwan, AA (2015) Islamic State: The Digital Calipgate, Saqi Books, London.
Byman, D (2015) Al Qaeda, Islamic State & the Global Jihadist Movement. What everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press.

Other Texts:
Books: Wright, L (2011 ed) The Looming Tower. Al Qaeda's Road to 9/11, Penguin Books.
Horgan J (2006) The Psychology of Terrorism, Routledge.



Electronic Databases:

Social Media Sources


Aldrich, R. (2010)  GCHQ: the uncensored story of Britain’s most secret intelligence agency, London: Harper Press
Atran, S. (2006) The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism
Atran, S. (2010) Talking to the Enemy: violent extremism, sacred values and what it means to be human, London: Penguin Group
Braddock, L. & Horgan, J. (2011)   Terrorism Studies: a reader, London:Routledge
Bjorgo, T. (ed.) (2005)  The Root Causes of Terrorism, London:Routledge 
Devji.F. (2001) The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: militant Islam and global politics, Hurst: London
Gellner,E. (1993) Nations and Nationalism, Oxford:Blackwell 
Grisset, P. & Mahan, S. (2003)  Terrorism in Perspective, California:Sage
Hoffman, B.  (2006) Inside Terrorism, New York: Columbia  Press
Ormand, D. (2010)  Securing the State, London:Hurst and Co.
Pape, R.  Dying to Win: the strategic logic of suicide terrorism, New York:Random House
Silke,A. (2011) The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism,  New York:Routledge