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Terror Groups' Non-Violent Activities & Government Responses


Admission requirements

Only students enrolled in the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.


Terrorism studies often focus on how and why individuals and groups commit acts of violence. But terror groups engage in many other behaviours, tactics, and strategies. Academic research and policy development have grown to recognise that counterterrorism is insufficient and incomplete unless it addresses both violent and non-violent activities. At first, countering terror groups’ non-violent activities focused on financial and human-capital resources, it grew to include counter-radicalisation through an emphasis on CVE, and has continued to evolve to include countering cyber activities. This course applies a two-fold approach to the problem of terror groups’ non-violent strategies. First, we discuss theories and models of terror group non-violent strategies. Second, we apply this knowledge to real-world cases and assess counterterrorism best practices from both academic and policy/practitioner research, reports, and lessons learned. In class and in assignments, special emphasis is placed on empirical measurement (i.e. quantified, statistical) of terror groups’ non-violent strategies and governments’ counterterrorism. Advanced statistical analysis skills are not required; a beginner’s interest in understanding how quantitative evidence and data can be identified, collected, and analysed is sufficient.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand, based on advanced knowledge of relevant scholarship, why and how terror groups employ non-violent tactics and strategies

  • Apply primary theoretical models to assess real-world non-violent terror threats

  • Understand modes of funding and resource acquisition terror groups use to finance their violent activities

  • Identify appropriate counterterrorism policies and strategies to target terror groups’ non-violent strategies

  • Identify appropriate quantitative evidence and data

  • Apply quantitative evidence to develop policy recommendations and assessments

  • Present analysis and recommendations in verbal and written form


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of seven interactive seminars including instructional lectures, guest talks, group-based work, and student presentations.
Attendance is mandatory. Students are only allowed to miss one session if there are special, demonstrable personal circumstances. The Board of Examiners, in consultation with the study advisors, will decide on such an exceptional exemption of mandatory attendance.

Total study load 140 hours:

  • 21 Contact hours.

  • 119 Self-study hours: reading, preparing lectures, assignments, etc.

Assessment method

Students are not obliged to hand in an assignment at the first opportunity in order to make use of the re-sit opportunity. The re-sit assignment will test the same course objectives, but will be different in terms of topics, cases or substance.

Individual Reading Response Essay

  • 25% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Course must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50)

Group Assignment: 25%

  • 25% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Course must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50)

Individual Final Essay Exam

  • 50% of final grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit possible

If a student passed an assignment, it is not possible to participate in a re-sit to obtain a higher grade.

Students will also be permitted to resit the 50% individual paper if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50 or with permission of the Board of Examiners. The group assignment and the Individual Reading Response Essay must be compensated.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Registration in uSis is possible from 7 March, 13.00h. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here.
After enrolment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.
The corresponding Brightspace course will become available one week prior to the first seminar.


Dr. Graig R. Klein
Contact/office hours will be announced on Brightspace