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Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing theory and practice


Admission requirements

This course is part of the minor Security, Safety, taught at The Hague by a lecturer from Leiden University. The course can only be taken within the framework of participation in the minor SSJ and Global Affairs.
Students who have already completed the Coursera MOOC “Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory & Practice” are still obliged to attend the lectures and complete all the class assignments to pass this regular course.


Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private businesses and ordinary citizens. In many parts of the world, it has even been one of the most prominent threats to peace, security and stability. But what does this mean exactly? What is the precise nature of this threat? Who or what is threatened, how, by whom and why? How can the impact of terrorism on society be limited and counteracted? These and many more questions will be addressed during the course.

Course objectives

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

  • explain the notion of terrorism as an instrument to achieve certain goals

  • describe and discuss the difficulties and importance of definitions of terrorism

  • outline the most prominent studies on terrorism

  • use theoretical notions and practical examples to demonstrate an understanding of critiques to counterterrorism as well as the essence of terrorism.


A link to the website by OSC staff.

Mode of instruction

This course will employ a flipped classroom methodology, which entails students studying a series of video lectures with in-video quizzes at home as preparation for the classes. Each of these videos will focus on a specific core question within terrorism studies. Furthermore, the class sessions will consist of class discussions and guest lectures.
Class format:

  • Opening lecture together with the minor Global Affairs

  • Weekly video lectures on Coursera

  • Two workshops in smaller groups together with the minor Global Affairs

  • Final symposium together with the minor Global Affairs
    Attendance during the opening lecture, two workshops and final symposium is compulsory. One lecture can be missed, but an extra assignment needs to be completed instead.

Course Load

The total study load for this course is 140 hours, consisting of:

  • 12 hours lectures and seminars

  • 7 hours videos

  • 121 hours studying – work on assignments

Assessment method


  • Midterm assignment 1 (20%)

  • Midterm assignment 2 (20%)

  • Final exam (60%)

Please note: Students are obliged to prepare a question for the final symposium.

*Re-sit rule: In order to sit in the re-sit of the final exam, you need to take the first exam. If you are absent in the first exam, you will not be able to sit in the re-sit. Students will be permitted to re-sit the exam if they have a mark between 3 and 5,4 or with permission of the Board of Examiners. The re-sit will take the same form.

*Late hand in penalty: 0,5 minus per day, and after seven days we do not accept papers any longer.

*Compensation rules: Only assessments with the weight of 30% and lower are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs less than 30% in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments with less than 30% (the mid-term assignments) are not re-sitable, meaning that if one fails an assessment of 30%, one is not allowed to redo it.


Yes – But most of the content is on the Coursera platform

Reading list

Edwin Bakker, Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory & Practice (Leiden University Press, 2015) [forthcoming]
Additional articles on current affairs relating to terrorism & counterterrorism: t.b.d.


Students register for the minor: Admission, registration and enrolmentRegistration for the courses in Usis: 35-3 days before course starts.

Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. 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. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn


  • This course is part of the minor SSJ and Global Affairs; lectures are combined.

  • All sessions and workshops will be in English.

  • Midterm assignments and final exam need to be written in English.

  • Students who have already completed the Coursera MOOC “Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory & Practice” are still obliged to attend the lectures and complete all the class assignments to pass this regular course.

  • Lectures take place at The Hague and are mandatory (see also: assessment).