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.

Graduate Certificate (online)

Graduate Certificate (online)


START offers a fully online, open enrollment Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis through the University of Maryland's Graduate School.

Program Description

START's Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis provides participants with advanced education on the causes, dynamics, and impacts of international and domestic terrorism. Participants also develop the methodological skills necessary to pursue advanced research on and analysis of terrorism. Our certificate program is appropriate for both academicians and practitioners, is flexible in structure, and will provide students with a thorough understanding of terrorism studies and terrorism analysis. Students can complete the program in as little as 12 months to 24 months. For a more detailed virtual information packet, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.


Eligible applicants must have earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited U.S. institution, or an equivalent degree at a foreign university. A 3.0 GPA is preferred, but experience may substitute. GRE scores are not required.

Application Information

Download the Virtual Information Packet

Deadlines (Both Domestic and International Students)

  • Spring 2017: January 12, 2017
  • Fall 2017: July 28, 2017

Attend a brief virtual information session on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 6pm EST. RSVP to education@start.umd.edu.

University of Maryland's Graduate Application Process 

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.

As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

  • Graduate application
  • Unofficial Transcripts (for all college-level coursework) *Official transcripts will be requested if admitted
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Two letters of recommendation (professional or academic)
  • Non-refundable application fee ($75) for each program to which an applicant applies

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean. 

Information for International Graduate Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. We encourage applications from international students, however as a fully online program we are not able to sponsor any educational visa for travel to the University of Maryland. 

International students must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through the TOEFL or IELTS. To request a list of exempt countries, minimum scores and our international applicant checklist for the START Graduate Certificate please contact education@start.umd.edu.


Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.  For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School or START Education.

Required Coursework 

Each course listed below is 15 weeks and will meet during the time window listed next to each course. 

Terrorist Motivations and Behaviors

Offered during Fall semesters: August-December

This course will provide an introduction to the study of terrorism, focusing on explaining the formation of terrorist groups and the motivations behind terrorist behavior. To do so, it will draw upon theories from social psychology, sociology, political science, criminology, and history. The course will draw heavily from historical examples as well as current examples of international and domestic terrorist groups around the world.

Societal Impacts of and Responses to Terrorism

Offered during Spring semesters: January-May

This course will address the manners in which a variety of different actors respond to both terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorism. The course will examine local responses to terrorist incidents (9/11 and other events) through emergency response organizations, community organizations, and volunteerism. The course will also look at local impacts of terrorism including effects on individual and group attitudes and behaviors. The course will then move to policy decisions made in response to both terrorist attacks and the threat of terrorism, addressing such issues as homeland security planning, border security, and surveillance. Finally, the course will address individual and community recovery from terrorist attacks, looking at such issues as psychological impacts of trauma, historical memory, and effects of disaster on civil society. The goal of the course will be to develop a multifaceted perspective on individual and community resilience in the face of terrorist threats.

Development of Counterterrorism Policy and Programs

Offered during the Fall semesters: August-December

This class will explore counterterrorism (CT) policies and policy making since 2001 as well as the programs developed by Departments and Agencies to implement these policies. This course draws from the current policy making process in the Federal government focusing on the National Security Council at the White House. The class will provide insight into Federal Departments and Agencies in the CT community focusing on how they interact in the policy making process, their major CT equities, and how these policies have been translated into real-world programs and applications. The course will challenge the students to consider problems and solutions for homeland and national security not only today, but ten to twenty years from now as well. This course will emphasize the need for students to be creative and forward looking in their analysis and not accept the status quo as the correct answer.

Research Methods in Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Offered during Spring semesters: January-May

This course involves the practical aspect of the role quantitative research methods and statistics play in understanding terrorism by the scientific and intelligence communities. The course should provide students with 1) a basic understanding of the methods of quantitative research available to social scientists studying terrorism, 2) the connection between information and data, and 3) how to make sense out of a body of data. It will cover a variety of design issues, methodological issues and analytic techniques. The techniques provide a springboard for the discussion of important methodological issues: the relationship between theory and data, the logic of inference, causality, data collection, model specification, standardized versus unstandardized data and many others.

Prerequisite(s): Motivations and Intents of Terrorists and Terrorist Groups; OR Societal Impacts of, and Responses to Terrorism; OR Development of Counterterrorism Policy and Programs

In order to complete the program, students must complete all four of the courses above. We do not allow substitutions or transfers credits for any of these courses.

All the courses are taught online in a synchronous format. This means you will be required to attend the classes at the times scheduled. Classes are scheduled once a week and start after 5 p.m. EST to accommodate students who work full-time.


Initial application fee: $75

Tuition per course: $2,100

Please note: Students are responsible for purchasing their own books, software, and other supplies as required by each instructor. Students may be required to pay additional UMD student fees (which range from around $50-100 per course).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If I am accepted to the program, would I be considered a full-time student?

A: No. All students in the Graduate Certificate program are considered part-time students (if registered for six credit hours a semester) or less-than-part-time students (if registered for three credit hours a semester).

Q: Do I have to complete the program in one year? 

A: No. It is up to you to determine your coursework plan that best fits with your goals and other commitments. Students may choose to register for two classes during the fall and spring semester and complete the program in approximately 9-12 months (depending on fall or spring start date) or choose to register for one course at a time and complete the program in two years. 

Q: Do I have to have to choose one year or two years and stick to that decision?

A: No, the program coordinator will keep in touch with you at the beginning of each semester providing information on the upcoming courses and/or paperwork necessary if you would like to take a semester off or change your plan from one to two courses or vice versa. As long as you communicate your plan to the program, we will work with you to help you achieve the certificate in your desired time frame. 

Q: I live in Maryland. Will I be charged in-state tuition even though the program is online?

A: No. In-state residency will not affect the cost of tuition for this program. All students will pay $2,100 per course.

Q: Is financial aid available for this program? 

A: No merit aid is available for graduate certificate students, however students can use employer provided assistance, many Veteran's Benefits and alternative private student loans. Students seeking the Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis are not eligible for federal financial aid. 

Q: Do I need to submit ACT, SAT, GRE, or any other standardized test scores?

A: No. The Graduate Certificate program does not require any standardized test scores.

Q: What documents will I be expected to submit for the application?

A: The following:

  •     Unofficial Transcripts for all university-level coursework (official copies will be requested if admitted)
  •     A personal statement
  •     A resume
  •     Two recommendations

Q: Does the admissions committee have a preference for the letters of recommendation?

A: We prefer academic or professional letters. Your recommenders should be able to discuss your ability to succeed in graduate level coursework. 

Q: Will I ever need to come to the University of Maryland Campus?

A: No. The program is entirely online. Instructors often teach from locations all over the country and are experienced distance learning educators.

Q: Will I be required to buy books for the courses?

A: Yes. The instructors often require the students to buy at least one book. The book list for each course may change from one year to the next, but students will be informed prior to the course starting, what books they will need to purchase. Instructors may make other readings available online.

Q: What benefits will I have as a University of Maryland student? 

A: As an online graduate student you have access to the library and research portal, the office of career services and any event or resource on campus for students. While in the program you are considered a "degree seeking student."

Please direct questions to education@start.umd.edu.

Interested in more information?

Fill out this brief form to receive a virtual information packet about START's Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis.