Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Terrorism & Counter Terrorism in the Modern World: Policing, Intelligence & War
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Semester Assessment Policy report  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Policy report  1500 Words  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Identify and discuss key concepts such as terrorism, radicalization, counter-terrorism and security in relation to the academic study of international relations.

Relate these concepts to historical and contemporary cases and empirical examples.

Demonstrate knowledge of the main actors involved in efforts to tackle terrorism.

Identify and examine the strategies, tools and resources used by counter-terrorist actors.

Provide an analysis of the implications of different approaches to counter terrorism for civil liberties and human rights.

Utilise and apply knowledge and analysis to produce a ‘policy report’ on a contemporary terrorism issue.

Brief description

The module explores and analyses the phenomenon of terrorism and efforts to tackle it at the local, national, regional and international level. It examines the academic and policy complexities in discussing terrorism using illustrative historical and contemporary examples to explore why terrorism is perceived as a threat to states and societies. Focusing on liberal democratic societies the module examines the range of approaches, actors, national international, and agencies, such as law enforcement, intelligence and the military, tackling the differing strategies of terrorist actors and suspects. It engages with a variety of forms of security provision and explores the strengths and weaknesses of various counter-terrorist options. The ethical and legal implications of those approaches to security are considered too.


• Debating terrorism
• Radicalisation & the ‘new’ terrorism
• Approaches to counter-terrorism
• Ethics, law and human rights in counter terrorism
• International counter terrorism responses

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will engage with statistics through an examination of government and or international organisations security spending data.
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. This is facilitated by group-role play based on teams operating within and beyond the seminar environment.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convener and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their report and essay topics. Group work is integral to the seminars and provides opportunities for students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to contribute to the group discussions in seminars and to meet an assessment deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in appropriate word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the internet, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Primo, Google Scholar etc). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the AberLearn Blackboard. Finally, they will learn to identify and navigate through appropriate official documentation online.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students’ verbal and presentation and team-working skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a report, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards students’ portfolio of transferable skills. In particular, report writing is an essential transferable skill contributing to their employability profile
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay and a report will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar discussion points will also enable students to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems
Research skills Students will be required to identify appropriate primary and secondary source information and to use them appropriately, understanding their relevant strengths and weaknesses. In particular, research for their policy reports will require careful gathering of data and information, the judicious use of such material in support of a particular set of recommendations. Using and analysing primary sources material will provide a particular set of information literacy skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Ability to evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small group discussion and role-playing activities where students will be obliged to prepare, present and discuss as smaller groups the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.


This module is at CQFW Level 5