Due to the Corona virus it is unclear how the programmes will take place. For the latest news please check the course page in Blackboard/Brightspace.


nl en

Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

This course is designed for the minor Global Affairs. It is not possible to follow single courses of this minor. You need to be enrolled in Usis for the minor to be accepted to this course. There are 180 places open for registration, on a first come first serve basis, where LDE students are given priority.

This course is also open for inbound exchange students if they wish to take the entire minor Global Affairs; it is not possible to take single courses from this minor. Exchange students must be admitted by the FGGA International Office prior to the start of the minor; priority will be given to direct exchange partners of FGGA. For more information about the application procedure for exchange students, please contact the FGGA International Office at international@fgga.leidenuniv.nl.

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 exactly is terrorism, how can we study it, and how can we limit the impact of it on society? This and more will be discussed in this course.

Week structure:

  1. Definition of terrorism
  2. Doing research on (counter)terrorism
  3. Five assumptions on terrorism
  4. Five assumptions on counterterrorism
  5. Dealing with terrorism
  6. Foreign fighters

This course uses blended learning. This means that there will only be two classical lectures and 2 seminars. The other weeks, students have to study the material themselves by way of watching video lectures at home. We expect students to actively prepare for this 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 political and ideological goals

  • Interpret terrorism definitions and argue whether or not certain act(or)s align with these definitions

  • Analyse (counter)terrorism phenomena, events, and policies based on the appropriate theoretical models and insights

  • Judge the relevancy and effectiveness of counterterrorism policies and strategies

  • Evaluate counterterrorism policies and formulate recommendations for improvements


Schedule 2019 to be announced.

The timetable will be displayed with a link on the website, blackboard and on the front page of this minor programma.

Mode of instruction

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

Class format:

  • Weekly video lectures on Coursera

  • Opening lecture in week 1

  • Two workshops in smaller groups in week 3 and week 5

  • Final symposium in week 7

  • Paper feedback sessions (attendance is optional)

Course Load

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

  • 18 hours lectures and seminars

  • 7 hours videos

  • 115 hours studying – work on assignments

Assessment method

  • Midterm assignment (40%)

  • Final exam (60%)

Attendance during the opening lecture, two workshops and final symposium is compulsory. For each missed class, an extra assignment needs to be made.

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

Resit of the final exam and midterm will take the same form.


Blackboard will be made available at least a week before the start of the first class.

Reading list

Edwin Bakker, Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory & Practice (Leiden University Press, 2015)

Additional articles on current affairs relating to terrorism & counterterrorism: t.b.d.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course. Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. 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.




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

  • All sessions and workshops will be in English.

  • Midterm assignments need to be written in English.

  • Lectures take place in The Hague and are mandatory.