MSc Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies
Business and Law
Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have just finished their undergraduate studies, often in social sciences, criminology, politics or similar subjects, and are aiming for a career in a criminal justice or related role. Others are already working for the police, prison service or in another crime or security-related role.
All classes take place in the evening, so you will have the flexibility to keep working if you wish. To thrive on this course you should be motivated, open-minded and willing to engage with different perspectives, working in groups as well as on your own.
As a master’s student you will be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study and research, but you will have the support of committed staff and an enthusiastic group of fellow students.
A pioneering course
Ours was the first course of its kind in England and, having started in 2006, is the longest-running in the UK.
Learn from industry experts
You will be taught by leading, research-active academics who are regularly called upon to advise governments or provide expert opinion to the media.
Benefit from our superb connections
Our staff have great connections with criminal justice and security agencies. You will benefit from a host of high-profile guest speakers
MSc Terrorism Studies, now Director of TGS Intelligence & Counter-Terrorism Consultants
The MSc gave me a lot of knowledge and experience. There was a great atmosphere around the course at UEL and I highly recommend it. It helped to give me the confidence and ability to set up the company, which aims to bridge the gap between the West and Africa in de-radicalisation and counter-terrorism.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths.
What you'll study
- Critical Perspectives on Terrorism (core)
- Critical Perspectives on Counter-terrorism (core)
- Transnational Organised Crime (core)
- Postgraduate Dissertation (core)
Students will choose to study one of the optional modules below.
- International Criminal Law
- War and Human Rights
- Criminal Psychology
- Law and Policy in the Middle East
- International Human Rights
- Current Issues and Research in International Law (option)
How you'll be assessed
Most are assessed either through coursework or examination. You take four modules of 30 credits each. Your dissertation accounts for 60 credits and involves a 15,000 word project.Course specification
How you'll learn
We deliver the course content in a variety of ways and you will be expected to conduct your own research and reading to support your learning.
Teaching will include lectures and seminars. From our new, state-of-the-art base at University Square Stratford, you will be taught in lectures and groups and be expected to prepare, follow up and work with your fellow students.
You will also benefit from a programme of guest speakers. Our high-calibre staff are very well connected and organise a wide range of talks to give different perspectives on relevant topics.
You will have the opportunity to meet counter-terrorism practitioners and gain insights into how governments and other non-governmental agencies are trying to combat radicalisation.
Recent speakers have included a former member of the IRA, a former counter-terrorism officer with the Metropolitan Police Service and a senior army commander from Northern Ireland.
We also organise regular conferences and events. For example, we hosted the 7th Annual Society for Terrorism Research Conference - a major two-day gathering attended by leading international experts. .
Our staff have a diverse range of ongoing research interests, and their expertise is brought to bear throughout the course. You’ll be taught by Professors, Readers and other senior staff.
Professor Andrew Silke, the MSc Programme Director, has published more than 100 articles and books on themes that include the psychology of terrorism. He advises governments at home and abroad and is highly sought after as a media commentator.
Dr Anthony Richards has provided briefings on terrorism and radicalisation to the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, while Dr John Morrison is a leading expert in Irish Republicanism, paramilitary vigilantism and the Northen Ireland peace process.
What you'll learn
Digital and social media mean that terrorist atrocities are today just a mouse click away, with the terror threat frequently leading the news agenda.
But how can you really makes sense of what’s going on? This course will provide the context and theoretical framework to give you insights into this ubiquitous subject.
You will study various perspectives on terrorism and counter-terrorism and learn about transnational organised crime.
In addition to these core elements, you will be able to choose another module, depending on your interests, with options that include Contemporary Islamic Legal Issues and International Criminal Justice
Most of the assessment is by coursework and you will produce a dissertation. Recent topics include prison radicalisation, Boko Haram and terrorism in Yemen.
Your future career
Many people who take this course are already working in – or progress into – a career that is directly relevant to this master’s degree.
Through this course you will gain a depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding about a wide range of terrorism and counter-terrorism-related topics.
This, combined with the research and communication skills you will have developed by the end of the course, will make you an attractive prospect to a variety of potential employers.
By studying this course you will also be opened up to a network of employers through the strong links our staff have with leading figures in the field of counter-terrorism.
Possible career paths include:
Central government – such as the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Foreign Office, or other departments.
Local government – roles could include Prevent co-ordinator or other community-based work.
Police, prison or probation services – all popular choices for students.
The voluntary sector – a growing number of charities and community groups need staff with expertise in de-radicalisation and an understanding of relevant issues.
Academia – a small number of our students continue their higher education and go into academic careers. Others may progress into research-related jobs for think tanks.