A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus 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.

Course List

 

Course List

Undergraduate-level Courses

BSST 240: Understanding the Principles and Perils of CBRN Weapons

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular | General Education: DSNL (if taken with BSST 241) or DSNS
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Additional information: If taken in the same term as BSST 241, these courses will count for General Education Natural Sciences Lab.
Count for Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Yes
Count for Graduate Certificate Program: N/A
BSST 240 Sample Syllabus

Description: Explores the 'dark side' of scientific applications. Students will gain an understanding of CBRN Weapons, through the exploration of the scientific method, and certain fundamental principles of chemistry, biology, and physics. Students will also learn how to test hypotheses, use basic statistics, interpret results, and apply their new knowledge through discussions of practical applications in the domains of public health, emergency management, epidemiology, and threat assessment. Bringing these fields together in one class will allow students to better understand the use of and threat from CBRN weapons in terrorism.

 

BSST 241: Understanding The Principles and Perils of CBRN Weapons (Lab)

Credits: 1.0 | Grading Method: Regular | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Corequisite: BSST 240
Additional information: This is an optional 1-credit lab course offered in coordination with BSST 240. If taken in the same term as BSST 240 these courses will count for General Education Natural Sciences Lab.
Count for Global Terrorism Studies Minor: 240 ONLY
Count for Graduate Certificate Program: N/A
BSST 241 Sample Syllabus

Description: An exploration of the threat of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons aimed to provide students with a basic, multidisciplinary, natural science foundation in chemistry, biology, and physics.

 

BSST 288R: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Global Terrorism in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Additional information: To obtain permission to register for this course, send a copy of your resume and unofficial transcript to education-start@umd.edu. Include BSST 288R in the subject line of your email.
Count for Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Count for Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: This course provides an historical survey of the post-world War II upsurge of international and domestic terrorism. It examines the nature of, reasons for, and consequences of terrorism. It also looks at the nature and consequences of counter-terrorism.

 

BSST 330: Terrorist Motivations and Behaviors

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Restriction: Must be in Global Terrorism Studies Minor; or special permission available for students in other Global Studies minors.
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Requirement
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: 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.

 

BSST 331: Innovations in Counterterrorism

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Restriction: Must be in Global Terrorism Studies Minor.
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Requirement
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: 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 334: States of Emergency

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall, Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A
BSST 334 Sample Syllabus

Description: Students will explore the manner in which crises unfold from the perspective of a variety of emergency response disciplines, including: emergency management, law enforcement, intelligence analysis, cyber analysis, risk communication, health and human services, and emergency psychiatry/psychology. Students will participate in a semester-long simulation of an unfolding terrorist attack.

 

BSST 335: Innovations in Countering Violent Extremism

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Formerly: BSST 338V
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Requirement
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A
BSST 335 Sample Syllabus

Description: Develop solutions to community-based radicalization through a blend of entrepreneurial, Design Thinking strategies and terrorist disengagement theories. Students will design original programs targeting real-world, at-risk communities and present their programs to a panel of experts.

 

BSST 338J: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Analyzing Terrorism: Simulations, Wargaming, and Strategies of Security

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Summer
Restriction: N/A
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: This interactive course introduces students to novel, applied methods to study terrorism and security, including simulations, wargaming exercises, red teaming, and horizon scanning. This course assumes no prior experience with these methods. Throughout the course, students will work in groups to complete interactive strategy-based activities to understand the behavior of terrorist and criminal groups and develop security strategies to counter violent non-state actors.

 

BSST 338L: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Violent Non-State Actors in Latin America: Terrorism, Cartels, and Crime

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Summer
Restriction: N/A
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: This course examines why non-state actors (terrorist groups, paramilitary groups, drug cartels, organized crime groups, gangs, and private security companies) resort to violence and crime, what tactics and strategies they use, how they fund their existence, how they undermine the state, and what can be done to counter the instability they cause. By the end of the course, students will have an in-depth understanding of the problems that plague individual countries throughout Latin America, as well as issues that afflict the region as a whole.

 

BSST 338R: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Far-Right Extremism: Violent Ideologies and Actions

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: This course will introduce students to the ideologies, organizing patterns, and actions within far-right extremism. This will include a focus on movements within white supremacism, anti-government extremism, male supremacy, homophobia, and anti-immigrant extremism. Using as examples specific violent extremists and groups on the far-right, we will study key theories explaining extremist radicalization, recruitment, engagement, and mobilization. Course readings will draw on research in sociology, political science, history, criminology, international relations, and terrorism studies, and will also include media and watchdog reports and opinion pieces regarding contemporary events. Drawing on this broad field of work, we will integrate analysis of the far-right into current debates regarding terrorism, extremism, political violence, and hate crimes. Course material will focus primarily on the domestic context but will also address international examples and connections.

BSST338V: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Global Jihadist Movements

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Winter
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: This course provides a comprehensive look at global jihadist movements, with a specific focus on the groups Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. At the completion of this course, students will have an in-depth understanding of historical and contemporary jihadist movements and a better understanding of tools to counter such groups.

 

BSST 338W: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Geographies of Terrorism: Violence, Terror, and Space

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Summer
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: Contemporary geographers study place and space and all the complex and dynamic relationships within, including terrorism. Increasingly, the study of terrorism requires a multiplicity of conceptual approaches and methods of inquiry to advance effective preventive and counter violent extremism practices. This course provides an introduction to the scope and methods geographers employ to address a fundamental question in the geography of terrorism: the "why of where?"

 

BSST 338Y: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Seminar in Terrorism Studies: The New Theater of Terror: Online Terrorism

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A | Also offered as ISRL448V. Credit granted for ISRL 448V and BSST 338Y.
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: This course examines the relationships between modern terrorists and the new media, how terrorists use the online platforms, how democracies can respond to the challenge, and what are the prices of various measures.

 

BSST 340: Oral Communication for National Security Careers

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Summer
Formerly: BSST 338E
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A
BSST 340 Sample Syllabus

Description: Students will discuss perspectives on strategic communication and national security, while discussing and practicing public speaking skills and developing proficiency in three genres of security-related briefings. Students will work with the technical, scientific, and/or specialized data, vocabularies, processes, and products of the academic disciplines and/or fields of expertise relevant to national and international security careers.

 

BSST 377: Applying Theory to the Practice of Countering Terrorism

Credits: 1.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Formerly: BSST 327
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Requirement
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: 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 386: Experiential Education in Terrorism Studies

Credits: 1-5 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Requirement (minor students must take this course for at least 3 credits)
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: 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.

 

BSST 389: Internship in Terrorism Studies

Credits: 1-5 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Additional information: Students must email education-start@umd.edu to register.
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Optional 
Graduate Certificate Program: N/A

Description: Supplements student's experiential learning experience, or internship in the field of terrorism studies and homeland security, with guided reflection on their experiences.

 

BSST 399N: Individual Study in Terrorism Studies: Social Network Analysis for Terrorism

Credits: 1.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Pass-Fail, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Winter
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: Elective*
Graduate Certificate Program: Contact education-start@umd.edu regarding Graduate Certificate credits for this course.

Description: The concept of network has become central to many discussions of terrorism and political violence research. However, use of the term is rarely backed with theoretical and empirical analysis of actual networks. This course will instruct students in the basics of social network analysis and how to apply SNA methods in the field of terrorism studies.

*This is a 1-credit elective course.

 

Graduate-level Courses

BSST 630: Motivations and Intents of Terrorists and Terrorist Groups

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Requirement
BSST 630 Sample Syllabus

Description: Examines motivations for terrorism from an interdisciplinary perspective, with emphasis on political and applied social psychological perspective. Topics may include: defining terrorism; preconditions; recruitment; domestic and international terrorism; and case studies and analysis of terrorist organizations. ​

 

BSST 631: Societal Impacts of and Responses to Terrorism

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Requirement
BSST 631 Sample Syllabus

Description: Examines motivations for terrorism from an interdisciplinary perspective, with emphasis on political and applied social psychological perspective. Topics may include: defining terrorism; preconditions; recruitment; domestic and international terrorism; and case studies and analysis of terrorist organizations. ​

 

BSST633: Research Methods in Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Requirement (BSST 633, BSST 636 or BSST 637)

Description: Provides students with the opportunity to conduct original research, while exposing them to analytical tools relevant to the study of terrorism. Students will work with a range of data sources on domestic and international terrorism, and will be tasked with using data to test hypotheses related to the causes, behaviors, and/or impacts of terrorism.

 

BSST 634: Legal and Criminal Approaches to Counterterrorism

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Elective

Description: The United States and many of her allies have challenged long-standing legal boundaries in their effort to combat terrorism. This course examines these responses, including: increased criminalization of terrorism related activities; aggressive criminal prosecutions; detention of suspected terrorists indefinitely in far-off prisons; implementation of enhanced interrogation techniques; launch of drones to kill alleged terrorists, even U.S. citizens; and deployment of a vast system of mass surveillance.

 

BSST 635: Countering Violent Extremism: Policy and Practice​​

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Fall
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Elective
BSST 635 Sample Syllabus (Offered as BSST 632, Development of Counterterrorism Policies and Programs)

Description: In recent years, the understanding of how and why individuals engage in violent extremism and terrorism has evolved and become more nuanced, as have the tools to mitigate these threats. A field of policy and practice called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) has emerged that focuses on countering the pull of terrorist recruitment and influence by building resilience among populations vulnerable to radicalization.

 

BSST 636: Quantitative Research Methods in Terrorism Studies

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Requirement (BSST 633, BSST 636 or BSST 637)
BSST 636 Sample Syllabus (Offered as BSST 638T: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Quantitative Research Methods in Terrorism Studies)

Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce you to probability, statistics and data analysis, particularly with respect to how they are used in the study of terrorism. To that end, you will learn fundamental principles of probability and statistical inference, how to summarize data and make statistical inferences, and how to manipulate and analyze data in a statistical software package (Stata) that is widely used in the discipline. The class provides a foundation in quantitative analysis that will enable students to critically evaluate extant quantitative research and manipulate their own data. It will also prepare interested students for more advanced statistics training.

 

BSST 637: Qualitative Research Methods in Terrorism Studies

Credits: 3.0 | Grading Method: Regular, Audit | General Education: N/A
Semesters typically offered: Spring
Global Terrorism Studies Minor: N/A
Graduate Certificate Program: Requirement (BSST 633, BSST 636 or BSST 637)
BSST 637 Sample Syllabus (Offered as BSST 638P: Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Qualitative Research Methods in Terrorism Studies)

Description: This course covers research design and qualitative methods using a hands-on approach. The course considers general themes such as the logic of inquiry, the appropriateness of qualitative approaches, as well as more specific topics such as process tracing, archival research, and survey methodology. It also provides students with the opportunity to learn and apply different tools for social science research.

The primary goals of the course are to: 1) formulate a proper research question in terrorism/counter-terrorism studies 2) present the appropriate qualitative research design to tackle the formulated question 3) introduce problems/issues one faces in terrorism research such as bias and causal complexity, and 4) cultivate a set of qualitative skills in order to analyze terrorism. By the end of the semester, students will have a better understanding of the qualitative research methods needed to answer important questions related to terrorism and counterterrorism.