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Terrorism and Counterterrorism




Admissions requirements

At least one 200-level WP course, preferably from the Transnational Politics track.


Terrorism continues to rank high on political agendas worldwide. Yet for all the attention that this phenomenon has gained, it is one of the most difficult subjects to study. This seven week course examines various aspects of terrorism and counterterrorism with a focus on doing research within this field. The course begins with two introductory classes; the first provides an overview of what terrorism is and how it can be defined. The second explains the fundamentals of writing a research proposal. The main focus during weeks two through six is on the theory and practice of researching terrorism and counterterrorism. Each week revolves around a specific theme, presented by lecturers who are engaged in research on those very subjects. The lecturers will introduce their subjects in the first weekly session and discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by conducting research in their fields during the second, sharing their practical insights and experiences. These case studies represent current trends in terrorism research such as so-called ‘lone wolves’, foreign fighters, and so-called ‘homegrown’ jihadist terrorism in Europe.

Course objectives

General Objectives:

  • To present students with theoretical notions and practical examples in order to better understand the problems and opportunities for conducting research on (counter) terrorism.

  • To present and critique various research designs and approaches in terrorism research.

  • To provide an overview of the state of the art in terrorism studies today.

  • To challenge students to develop their own analysis of terrorism research by writing a paper on the practice of terrorism research.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  • To be able to analyze the complex and ever-changing phenomenon of terrorism

  • To be aware of leading currents in terrorism and counter-terrorism research

  • To be able to write and present an in-depth research proposal

  • To be informed about the difficulties and dilemmas in terrorism and counter-terrorism research


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of fourteen sessions dedicated to lectures and discussion in a workgroup setting. The first week will focus on providing the students with the necessary information about writing a research proposal and an introduction to the topic of terrorism in general. Weeks 3-6 are devoted to the presentation and discussion of specific aspects of terrorism and how to conduct research on them. The final week will be dedicated to presenting your own research proposals in small group sessions to the instructors. Students are expected to actively engage in discussion and to provide evidence of their understanding of the potential pitfalls and opportunities for conducting research on the topics discussed per week by handing in a 500 word statement at the start of each second lecture (see below for details).


  • Students will hand in brief written assignments (500 words +/- 10%, excluding sources) at the beginning of every second lecture of weeks 3, 4, 5, and 6. These assignments are intended to familiarize the students with crafting a research proposal. The assignment will be explained in detail in week two. These assignments will count for 40% of your grade (10% each).

  • Students are required to write and an individual research proposal of 4.000 words (+/- 10%, excluding sources), based on the research proposal template discussed in week one. Students are free to choose a topic, though it must fall within the broad field of terrorism or counterterrorism. Students have the opportunity to hand in a draft version of their research proposal at the beginning of week 4 in order to receive feedback and assistance from the lecturers. This is an optional service and the draft versions will not be graded. The proposal counts for 40% of your grade.

  • During week 7, students are expected to give a presentation on their research proposals, briefly outlining their subject, research question, relevance of the research, which sources are used and which opportunities or obstacles for gaining access to those sources are envisioned. The presentation must be short (a strict maximum of 8 minutes), forcing students to be concise and to the point. Each presentation will be followed by a short discussion and questions. The presentations also provide students who are struggling with their research proposals with the opportunity to discuss their dilemmas with the rest of the class. The presentations will count for 10% of your grade. The presentations will be graded by a panel of subject-matter experts and researchers.

  • Active participation in discussions during class is required, and will count for 10% of the grade.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list



This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact