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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED3565 Terrorism: Concepts, Debates, Cases

20 creditsClass Size: 160

Module manager: Dr Gordon Clubb

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module brings together cases, concepts and debates of terrorism to provide students with a deep knowledge of the subject in key areas of the terrorist life-cycle. Students will engage with many of the questions they have about terrorism, from why people engage in terrorism, whether we should be worried about the threat of terrorism, and how can terrorism be countered and prevented. Engaging students from start to finish, students will work on their essay throughout the module, building on their ideas through discussions in seminars and with the lecturer.


This module aims to provide:

• Extensive knowledge of concepts within terrorism studies, on topics such as radicalisation, terrorist group strategies, and counter-terrorism policies
• An active engagement in debates within terrorism studies, such as: is religious terrorism more dangerous, does poverty cause terrorism, can and should terrorists be ‘de-radicalised’, should former terrorists be given amnesties?
• A developed knowledge of a number of terrorist groups, such as the IRA, Hamas and the PLO, and al-Qaeda and ISIS. You will learn about their history, key leaders, tactics and organisational structure.
• Skills in researching a topic throughout the semester and feedback in writing an essay.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:
• An ability to engage in extensive research on a particular topic, relating concepts to theories and cases to engage in in-depth critical analysis
• Knowledge and understanding of the concept of terrorism. Familiarity with the typology of terrorism as well as the variety of corresponding political and social origins and strategies
• Readiness to engage with the wider academic debate concerning potential root causes, overall effectiveness of terrorist violence, and how terrorism can be stopped.
• Understanding of the challenges which terrorist violence poses for decision-makers in Western democracies.


The module will cover the following topics:
• Waves of Terrorism and the Definition Debate
• The Terrorist Threat
• Does Terrorism Work
• The Causes of Terrorism
• Radicalisation
• Group Structure and Support Relations
• How Terrorism Ends
• Disengagement and Negotiations
• De-Radicalisation
• Preventing Terrorism and Violent Extremism
• Essay Writing

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

In addition to researching and writing one end-of-term essay of 3,000 words, students are required to engage with the required readings for weekly seminars. Importantly, each essay question is covered throughout the module, requiring participation throughout the majority of lectures and seminars. This means that students need to plan for a weekly reading of roughly four hours to prepare fully for our group discussions in seminar.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Opportunities for Formative Feedback
Students will be asked to write a non-assessed 1,500-word terrorist group profile which they can submit to the tutor to receive formative feedback – the feedback will help students prepare for the assessed essay and will give students an in-depth knowledge of a case-study. Students may also be asked to informally present the group profile to their peers in seminars.
In addition, students are invited to participate in academic support hours to discuss their essay throughout the semester to prepare for the final essay’s submission in January.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 End of Term essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:51:19


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