module specification

SS7143 - Terrorism and Counter Terrorism (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Terrorism and Counter Terrorism
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
160 hours Guided independent study
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay 4,500 Words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism. This module is in the overall context of Safety and Security, and is an advanced course in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module examines terrorism and political violence conducted by non state actors. It is equally concerned to analyse counter-terrorism and other responses by the state, the security services and the police. Although it has a prime focus on terrorism by non-state actors it explains the significance of state terror. The major focus is on terrorism organised, orchestrated or inspired by al-Qaeda. Close attention is paid to the US led war on terror in all its many guises during the decade that followed the al-Qaeda terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001. Far right terrorism and political violence is analysed, so too many other movements engaged in terrorism and political violence. The module engages closely with key texts by leading scholars in terrorism studies, critical terrorism studies and pays special attention to criminological approaches to the subject.


Following an introductory session the module will address the following topics:
• Definitional, ideological and academic positioning when studying terrorism, political violence and counter-terrorism.
• How non-state terrorism begins, develops and ends.
• Al-Qaeda terrorism.
• Far right terrorism and political violence.
• ‘Radicalisation’ or recruitment.
• Contemporary counter-terrorism policy and practice in the UK.
• The war on terror.

Learning and teaching

Teaching sessions consist of a series of lectures and seminar group sessions in which students are encouraged to explore the political, strategic and tactical complexities of terrorism and counter terrorism. Students draw upon case studies and examine actual operational scenarios. Module materials will be made available on Blackboard (Web-learn) and opportunities for personal development planning are provided in seminar contexts. Students are expected to undertake 10 hours of independent study per week.

This module will also be delivered through the use of distance learning strategies as follows:
E-learning: delivered using computers utilising internet technology and programming which allows the student to interact with the learning materials via chat rooms, online office hours and notice boards. The present WebLearn facilities are sufficient to cover these methods.
Online Lectures:  lectures are to be recorded digitally and placed onto WebLearn and released to the students as required.
Written materials: Students will be provided with written materials such as articles in electronic format (e.g. pdf files). WebLearn to be used as a repository for such material.
Students will be required to complete a weekly Workbook involving key questions, exercises and tasks relating to the week’s lecture.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

• Describe and analyse the ideologies, strategies and tactics of non state terrorist movements.
• Produce a case study of a terrorist movement.
• Describe and analyse counter-terrorism.
• Evaluate the legitimacy and effectiveness of counter terrorism policies, strategies and operations.

Assessment strategy

Students to write two essays of 3,000 words each.

Essay 1 on a non state movement of their choice that describes and analyses its theoretical underpinnings, its motivations and tactics.

Essay 2 on the counter terrorism measures adopted against the movement; and evaluates the legitimacy and effectiveness of the counter-terrorism measures.


Coolsaet, Rik ed., (2011). Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American Experiences (2nd edition) Farnham, UK: Ashgate.
Crenshaw, Martha (2001). Counterterrorism Policy and the Political Process. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 24:329–337. 
English, Richard (2009) Terrorism: How to Respond Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gable, G., & Jackson, P., (2011). Lone wolves: myth or reality? London: Searchlight publications.
Hamm, Mark S. (2005). Terrorism as Crime: From Oklahoma City to Al-Qaeda and Beyond New York: New York University Press.
Hickman, Mary et al, (2011). A comparative study of the representations of ‘suspect’ communities in multi-ethnic Britain and of their impact on Muslim and Irish communities. London: London Metropolitan University.
Hillyard, Paddy (2005). The “War on Terror”: lessons from Ireland. Essays for civil liberties and democracy in Europe. European Civil Liberties Network. p. 1-4.
Innes, Martin, Colin Robert and Helen Innes (2011). Assessing the Effects of Prevent Policing: a report to the Association of Chief Police Officers. March. Cardiff: Universities’ Police Science Institute, Cardiff University.
Kundnani, Arun (2009). Spooked. How not to prevent violent extremism. London: Institute of Race Relations.
Lambert, Robert (2011). Countering al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership. London: Hurst.
Lawrence, Bruce, ed. (2005). Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden. London: Verso.
Tietze, T., (2011a). Depoliticising Utoya: Anders Breivik as ‘Madman’, In E. Humphrys, G. Rundle and T. Tietze, (eds.,) 2011. On Utoya: Anders Breivik, right terror, racism and Europe. E-book, Elguta Press.
Wolfendale, Jessica (2006). Terrorism, Security, and the Threat of Counterterrorism. Studies in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 29, pp. 753-770.