Department of Political Science



Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Manuel Vogt (Department of Political Science) and Dr Noele Crossley (Department of Political Science)


One 3,000 word essay

Credit Value


About this course

This course will familiarise students with historical and theoretical descriptions of the decision made by collective non-state actors to employ terrorist violence, the nature of specific threats faced globally (both historically and in a contemporary setting), and an overview of the range of options available to governments looking to counter this threat. Students will be asked to complete a comprehensive set of readings, to participate actively in seminar discussions, and to complete a long paper assignment.

By term’s end, students will be equipped to answer at least the following questions: how can our theoretical understanding of the roots of terrorism improve our ability to counter the threat? What leads people to the point where they feel violence is the only option available to them to attempt to bring about some political change? Which factors are conducive to particular terrorist strategies and what kinds of tactics ought democratic societies anticipate will be employed in future terrorist attacks against their national interests? Finally, what kinds of actions are legitimate and successful as means of countering the threat of global terrorism?

Course aims

By the end of the module students

  • will have developed an understanding of the individual-, group-, state-, societal- and system-level theories and models of the causes of terrorism.
  • will be able to critically evaluate competing approaches to the analysis of terrorist violence and apply theory to reflect on and develop their own understanding of contemporary counterterrorism debates.
  • will have familiarised themselves with a number of case studies of historical and contemporary relevance to the study of terrorism.
  • will have gained the theoretical and empirical skills to systematically analyse key issues associated with the causes and consequences of terrorism.