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Diploma in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism


The Post Graduate Diploma in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism is aimed at security professionals whose role involves developing and implementing strategies to address the threat of extremism, against public, corporate and critical targets. The course is also suitable for those wishing to make a career in these areas.

The course is delivered by experienced practitioners and researchers working in counter-terrorism, intelligence, law enforcement, risk assessment and security technology. Students also benefit from full access to UCL experts on a range of ethical, political, religious, and community issues.

Taught in central London, this integrated programme can be taken FULL-TIME (one year) or PART-TIME (normally over two or three years, but can be extended to five). Learning is also facilitated through access to secured online seminars, course materials and research articles.

UCL offers the students and their organisations an opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed to address a particular security-related project.


Students who graduate from the PG Dip in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism programme will have acquired:

  • An overview of organised crime and terrorism
  • An understanding of the theory of risk analysis
  • An understanding of the techniques for gathering and analysis of intelligence for countering terrorism and organised crime
  • An understanding of factors influencing decision-making
  • An understanding of the counter-terrorism technology
  • An understanding of strategies for prevention, detection and disruption of terrorism activities 
  • An understanding of related legal, political, religious, social, and economic aspects.
  • An understanding of the subjects complementary to, but outside of, terrorism and organised crime, such as media communications.
  • An understanding of leadership and contingency planning
  • An understanding of techniques applicable to research and advanced scholarship

Students on the Post Graduate Diploma take eight modules in total for a total of 120 credits.


Full time students complete the course in one year. Students should allow at least two hours a week for library visits and approximately 10 additional hours per week, per module for studying.

Students will attend core module lectures on Thursdays and Fridays in term one and Fridays in term two. Terms two and three are also dedicated to exams and the research project.

Students will also take two optional modules, the timetable for this varies depending on the module. We are unable to provide a timetable for this because many of the modules are organised by other departments and can vary from year to year.


Although part time students can complete the course in up to five years, completion in two years is normal.

  • Two years

In the first year, students will attend core module lectures on a Friday morning from 9am to 1pm in terms one and two. Term three is the exam period. In the second year, students will attend core module lectures from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 5pm on a Thursday in term one. Terms two and three are dedicated to exams.

Students will also take three optional modules over the two years, the timetable for this varies depending on the module but we recommend students take them in their second year. We are unable to provide a timetable for this because many of the modules are organised by other departments and can vary from year to year.

Students should allow at least two hours a week for library visits and approximately 10 additional hours per week, per module for studying.

  • Three years

In the first year, students will attend core module lectures on a Friday morning from 9am to 1pm in terms one and two. Term three is the exam period. In the second year, students will attend core module lectures from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 5pm on a Thursday in term one. Term three is dedicated to exams.

Students will also take three optional modules, usually in years two or three, the timetable for this varies depending on the module. We are unable to provide a timetable for this because many of the modules are organised by other departments and can vary from year to year.

Students should allow at least two hours a week for library visits and approximately 10 additional hours per week, per module for studying.


  • Designing
    and Doing Research - PUBLGC31:
    This module addresses head-on the
    question of what it means be scientific about security and crime. In
    doing so, it tackles several contiguous queries: What is the logic of
    crime science? What are the key methods of crime science? What is
    involved in applied science and engineering in the context of crime and
    security? What are the warrants for the findings of crime science,
    compared to other ways of studying crime and security? How does a crime
    scientist go about designing and undertaking a scientific study? In
    answering these questions, the course objectives are 1) to help students
    understand the distinctiveness of a scientific approach to security,
    crime and crime control; 2) to enable them to discriminate good and bad
    scientific research questions; 3) to allow them to recognize and be able
    to formulate testable scientific hypotheses; 4) to ensure that they can
    critically assess scientific research designs; and 5) to equip them to
    devise a plausible design for a piece of research in crime and security
    science, leading ultimately to the formulation of their dissertation
    research project.
  • Quantitative
    Methods - PUBLGC32
    : The aim of this course is to provide students with an understanding of how to visualize and analyze quantitative data. Relevant examples are used to show how the principles and methods can be used to test hypotheses concerned with crime. The aims of the course are two-fold. First, to develop students into intelligent consumers of research by explaining why researchers conduct studies in the way they do and what methods are appropriate for different kinds of data. And, second, during supported workshops, to provide students with the opportunity to apply their learning by analyzing real or simulated data. The course will provide students with practical skills that will help them to complete their dissertations.
  • Foundations
    of Security and Crime Science
    - PUBLGC42:
    The purpose of
    this module is to set out the foundational concepts, theories and
    approaches that underpin the masters programmes offered in the
    Department of Security and Crime Science. In this way the module
    provides an overarching framework for the modules that follow. It
    outlines the distinctive nature of the crime science approach to
    understanding, preventing, detecting and investigating crime and
    security problems. It presents the key theories that explain the
    temporal and spatial patterning of crime and terrorism events, and
    introduces students to associated strategies for disrupting these
    patterns. The need for a multidisciplinary approach – especially the
    integration of the social and physical sciences - to address crime and
    security problems is emphasised, with the contributions of the forensic
    sciences and security technology highlighted.  Assessment: one exam.
  • Perspectives on terrorism - PUBLGC47: This module provides students
    with an overview of terrorism including empirical
    trends, historical manifestations, current groups and tactics, and
    prominent theories operating at various levels of analysis. While much
    of the course material and required readings draw from an array of
    disciplines traditionally concerned with this topic, such as public
    policy, criminology, sociology and psychology, the main purpose of the
    module is to introduce students to a more distinctive security and crime
    science perspective on the subject. Therefore, throughout the
    module, students are encouraged to adopt a critical yet open mind set,
    to reflect on the conceptual and methodological issues involved in
    studying terrorism as a concrete scientific problem,
    and to consider what this particular approach implies for the design of
    preventive or disruptive interventions and technologies against
  • Perspectives on Organised Crime - PUBLGC44 (T1): The aim of this module is to provide students with an overview and understanding of the phenomenon of organised crime, by providing them with an outline of its history, various manifestations, broader issues of definition, practice and theory. The different ways in which organised crime manifests itself in different countries will be discussed. A number of special topics will also be examined, human trafficking, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and the historical cases of the crime-terror nexus thus providing students with an up-to-date picture of the organised crime landscape and the pervasive influence of organised crime worldwide. Assessment: one 3000 word essay.


  • Globalisation and Security - GEOGG089: This module aims to develop a critical understanding of relationships between globalisation and security via an engagement with social theory and the exploration of specific case study areas. It uses social theories to consider how discourses and practices of security are shifting in response to concerns about globalization. Rather than starting with a study of security threats, it examines security itself as a significant factor in shaping how societies - and globalisation more generally - work.
  • Terrorism  - PUBLG009: Familiarises students with historical and theoretical descriptions of the decision made by non-state actors to employ terrorist violence, the nature of specific threats faced globally (both historically and in a contempoprary setting), and a brief 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.
  • International peace and security in a changing world - PUBLG034: Introduces students to major themes and debates in the contemporary study of international peace, security and stability. The course will survey a range of traditional and contemporary approaches and topics, including literatures on interstate warfare, alliance formation, deterrence and compellence, weapons of mass destruction, civil war and ethnic conflict, failed states, international terrorism, humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping, and the relationship between development and security.
  • Qualitative methods: The module introduces students to a variety of qualitative research techniques used in the social sciences.  It provides an understanding of how qualitative and quantitative methods can be used to complement each other to enrich a research project.  The sessions cover theoretical considerations required in qualitative research and each week introduces the student to a different qualitative method or approach that can be used in crime science research.  Collectively, the sessions will enable students to construct qualitative research instruments appropriate to real-world research questions, analyse data in a scientific manner, and interpret findings appropriately. Assessment: one 1500 word essay (30%) and one exam (70%).
  • Crime mapping and spatial analysis - PUBLGC26: This module will equip students with the theoretical and practical knowledge of geographical analytical tools applicable to the discipline of crime science. Using the SARA framework, this module will provide students with the opportunity to analyse real and simulated data to explore each part of the problem-solving process. Drawing on three computer packages (ArcGIS, Geoda and CrimeStatIII), this module will be invaluable to anyone intending to use spatial analysis in their dissertation or future applied work of this kind.  Assessment: two 2000 word essays (30% and 70%).
  • Investigation and detection - PUBLGC45: This module provides students with an understanding of the processes and actors operating throughout the course of a criminal investigation from the crime scene itself, to the collection and analysis of evidence, its interpretation and eventual presentation in a courtroom. The various stages of the investigation and detection processes will be examined which will include an introduction to crime scene management methods; the influence of various criminological theories about offender behavior and how they relate to criminal investigations; knowledge concerning the production of intelligence and evidence by forensic science; an understanding of the influence of the law and the courts. Students will interact with a number of different professionals and disciplines that contribute to the detection and investigation process.  Assessment: one 3000 word essay.
  • Intelligence gathering and analysis - PUBLGC46: Provides an account of how intelligence gathering and analysis is organised in the UK. We will examine the intelligence life-cycle in some detail from the identification of an intelligence requirement through to the actions consequent on an intelligence report. Students will also become familiar with graphical and computer-based techniques for organising, analysing and presenting complex heterogeneous data. Assessment: assignment and exam.
  • Risk and contingency planning - PUBLGC49: This course introduces students to a range of frameworks and quantitative techniques used by systems engineers and risk experts to analyse security threats and systems vulnerabilities. At the end of this course, students should have developed the knowledge needed to critically discuss different approaches to risk and resilience assessment.
  • Prevention
    and disruption - PUBLGC48:
    This will focus on methods of preventing and
    disrupting terrorism and organised crime. Four major strategies are considered.
    The first comprises attempts to address the ideologies and belief systems; the
    second comprises efforts to anticipate and prevent organised crimes and
    terrorist acts of various kinds; the third comprises enforcement means used to
    disrupt, disable or suppress the activities of organised criminals and
    terrorist networks and the fourth comprises efforts to remove the economic
    basis for terrorist activities by attacking organised crime.


Applicants for admission should have, or expect to obtain before entry, a good Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline (for example criminology, psychology, sociology, law, geography or hard science) equivalent to an upper second class-degree at a UK university or five years or more relevant professional experience.

Candidates whose degree class falls below 2:1 but who have at least five years experience are also eligible. In exceptional circumstances, students who do not fulfil these requirements may be considered.

Those with limited mathematics/statistics in their qualifications may find this course difficult. It is also recommended that students wishing to take elective modules possess a basic familiarity with the subject matter. 

Proficiency in the use of spoken and written English is required. Students whose first language is not English will need to meet the College's English language requirement.


Applications are considered throughout the year, but applicants are advised to apply early. The course deadline is officially 1st August 2014. However, places are offered on a first come, first served basis and the course may be full before that deadline.

All applications are made online at the following link:

PG Diploma in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism

(*Please note there is an Application Processing Fee for all Postgraduate Taught programmes of £50 for online applications and £75 for paper applications.)

For those taking the programme over two or more years, you will be charged according to the number of credits you take that year, therefore the annual cost will vary according to your study load. However, the overall fee will be approximately the same as the full time fee, with a slight increase to allow for annual inflation:

Fees are paid on an annual basis.

  Full time (2015 -16)
Home/EU £7,415
Overseas £14,830

Page last modified on 14 oct 10 09:24