A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Through curricular and experiential learning, START educates, mentors and trains the next generation of national security scholars and practitioners.

Global Terrorism Minor Program


Global Terrorism Minor Program

Apply for the Fall 2018 semester!  All applicants must have 30 academic credits; 15 of which must be University of Maryland credits. The minor program is only open to University of Maryland undergraduates.

START has developed an undergraduate minor in Global Terrorism, a cross-disciplinary program housed in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.The minor is designed to train the next generation of terrorism analysts, including students who plan to pursue graduate study related to terrorism as well as employment in the federal, state, local, non-profit, and/or private sectors. The program is part of the University of Maryland’s Global Studies program, alongside the minors in International Development and Conflict ManagementGlobal Poverty, and International Engineering.

START accepts applications to the program from University of Maryland undergraduates twice per calendar year, once during the spring semester and once during the fall semester. Students from all colleges and majors are encouraged to apply.

Student Learning Outcomes

START's goal for the minor is to provide interested students of all majors with the education and training they need to pursue graduate education focused on terrorism research or employment in the ever-expanding homeland-security community, including opportunities within the public, private, and non-profit sectors. By the end of the minor program:

  • Students will have developed a comprehensive understanding of the theories explaining the formation of terrorist groups and the motivations behind terrorist behavior;
  • Students will have developed a comprehensive understanding of the impact of terrorism on groups and individuals;
  • Students will have developed first-hand experience working in the homeland security community; and
  • Students will have developed a capacity to conduct research on terrorism using a range of analytical tools and research methods.

Program Description

The Global Terrorism program focuses on exploring the origins and motivations of terrorism based on theoretical understandings of individual and group behavior. Students also explore the impacts of the threat of terrorism on individuals and communities as well as strategies for preventing, deterring, mitigating, and responding to terrorist threats.

Students are required to take the following courses:

  • BSST 327: Introduction to Terror and the Terrorist Threat (1 credit). This course focuses on bringing current events and policy issues related to terrorism and counterterrorism, as they are discussed in mass media, into the dialogue with academic theories and research. Through a discussion-based seminar, students will bring current, terrorism-related events to classroom discussion, where they will consider the media-framed current events in relation to academic research. Students will be continually challenged to draw connections between terrorism-related events in the news and relevant academic research.​

  • BSST 330: Terrorist Motivations and Behaviors (3 credits). This course explores theories explaining the formation of terrorist groups and the motivations behind terrorist behavior, building upon theories from social psychology, sociology, political science, criminology, and history. This course draws heavily from historical examples as well as current examples of international and domestic terrorist groups around the world.​

  • BSST 331: Responses to Terrorism (3 credits). This course examines the impact of terrorism on groups and individuals and explores how communities have prepared and ideally should prepare in the face of potential terrorist threats. This course draws from anthropology, criminology, economics, history, political science, social psychology, and sociology.​

  • BSST 335: Innovations in Countering Violent Extremism (3 credits). This course introduces students to Countering Violent Extremism to build resilience, community engagement, and advocacy. Drawing on innovative theories, students will develop their own CVE project ideas. Students will conclude the semester by presenting their proposals to a panel of CVE specialists drawn from homeland and international security professionals.​

  • BSST 386: Experiential Education in Terrorism Studies (minimum of 3 credits). This course will supplement student's experiential learning experience, or internship in the field of terrorism studies and homeland security with guided reflection on their experiences.

In addition to the four required courses above, students must take 3 elective credits from within the Terrorism Studies Department (BSST) that is not otherwise a Minor Requirement. You can find course syllabi on ntst.umd.edu/soc/

To satisfy the final requirement students must also complete one Global Perspective Course.

The current list of approved Global Perspective Courses is as follows:

  • ANTH 265: Anthropology of Global Health
  • AREC 345: Poverty, Public Policy and Economic Development
  • AREC 365: World Hunger, Population and Food Supplies
  • ENES 269: Grand Challenges in Engineering
  • ENES 316: Global Perspectives of Leadership in Engineering, Business, and Technology
  • ENES 464: International Entrepreneurship
  • ENES 472: International Business Cultures for Engineering, Business, and Technology
  • ENES 474: Global Perspectives of Engineering
  • GEOG 330: As the World Turns: Society and Sustainability in a Time of Great Change
  • GVPT 200: International Political Relations
  • GVPT 280: The Study of Comparative Politics
  • GVPT 282: Politics and the Developing World
  • GVPT 289A: Appetite for Change: Politics and the Globalization of Food
  • GVPT 289J: Uncertain Partners: US & China in a Changing World
  • GVPT 289L: Religions, Beliefs, and World Affairs
  • GVPT 306: Global Environmental Politics
  • GVPT 309: Topics in International Relations
  • GVPT 354: International Development and Conflict Management
  • GVPT 359: Topics in Comparative Politics
  • GVPT 409J: Multi-Track Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation
  • GVPT 409K: Workshop in Multi-Track Diplomacy

Global Studies Students

Students enrolled in other programs within the Global Studies Minor Program may request to enroll in BSST 330: Terrorist Motivations and Behaviors to fulfill their signature course requirement. START assigns a limited number of seats available in this course on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are a Global Studies student and you would like to take BSST 330, please email education@start.umd.edu once you have received your registration date for the fall to request access to the course. (Please note BSST330 is only offered during fall semesters.)

Looking for Advice or Answers?

Contact Liz Wasden the Undergraduate Education Coordinator and advisor for the Global Terrorism Minor for questions or additional information at: education@start.umd.edu or 301-405-8504.