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.

START-Leiden PhD Program (Pilot)

START-Leiden PhD Program (Pilot)

START is in the process of developing a collaborative program uniting a PhD program at Leiden University in the Hague's Dual PhD Centre, which is catered to working professionals, and the University of Maryland’s Graduate Certificate Program in Terrorism Analysis. The program is in a pilot phase and invites applications for Fall 2018 matriculation from up to 5 qualified candidates. Students accepted to, and matriculating in this program must acknowledge that program requirements may shift slightly while they are participating in the program, as their experiences are helping to build the program’s official channels and agreements.



Candidates must have: a master’s degree (with its accreditation approved by Leiden University), strong professional qualifications, and a coherent idea for the research they would like to pursue.

Students who complete all requirements will first receive a Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis from the University of Maryland, College Park, and then will receive a PhD from Leiden, in a discipline within the Social and Behavioral Sciences (to be determined by the student's research question and methodology/ies). The program will take place in two separate but related components.​


Academic Requirements to be Completed at the University of Maryland, College Park

Students must complete 4 courses through the Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis. The program format is online and synchronous. Courses occur after 6:00pm EST or on weekends and are 2.5 hours long. These courses follow a standard Fall or Spring academic semester of 15 weeks.

  • BSST630, Motivations and Intents of Terrorists and Terrorist Groups
  • BSST631, Societal Impacts of, and Responses to Terrorism
  • Research Methods Course:
    • BSST636, Quantitative Research Methods in Terrorism Studies OR
    • BSS637: Qualitative Research Methods in Terrorism Studies
  • Elective Course (One (1) of the following:)
    • BSST634: Legal and Criminal Approaches to Counterterrorism
    • ​BSST635: Countering Violent Extremism-Policy and Practice
    • Other electives must be approved by the Director of the Graduate Certificate Program

See Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis page for more information.

Tuition: $2,100 USD per course
Financial Aid AvailabilityStudents seeking the Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis are not eligible for federal financial aid. Students may seek employer provided tuition assistance, many Veteran's Benefits programs, and alternative private student loans. 
Length of Completion: One (1) to two (2) academic years.

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 $60 USD-$80 USD per semester).


Academic Requirements to be Completed through Leiden University's Dual PhD Centre

Students will spend at least 3 years working on a dissertation under a committee of Leiden faculty members, joined by 1 START researcher. Candidates admitted to the pilot program will pay 7,500 Euro/year to Leiden for this portion of the program.  Students in this program must make several short trips to the Netherlands, which will be at their own expense, the details of which will be negotiated with Leiden faculty members.

Tuition: 7,500 Euro per year
Financial Aid Availability: Leiden University does not accept US Federal Student Aid for this program​. Leiden University offers alternative financial options for this program.
Length of Completion: Three (3) to five (5) years.


How to Apply

Best consideration date will be Sunday, April 1, 2018 11:59PM, after which applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The final deadline for applications has been extended to Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:59 PM EST. Accepted students will begin in Fall 2018, with 1 or 2 online University of Maryland, College Park courses through the Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis and initial meetings with Leiden University faculty members. 

To apply, please prepare a draft proposal for a dissertation topic you would like to pursue in the program. It should not exceed 3,000 words, and formatting should include:

  1. Your personal information
    • Name, address, telephone, email, academic and professional qualifications
  2. Title of research project
  3. Abstract
    • 400‐word summary of research proposal
  4. Introduction
    • Introduce your motivation for the project and the relevance of the project to the current state of professional practice, field, and/or literature (preference is for an emphasis on professional practice implications)
  5. Definition of problem/research question
    • Present a coherent and researchable problem related to the applicant’s professional practice
  6. Theoretical foundation
    • Provide a summary of relevant scholarship related to topic
  7. Research methodology
    • Describe the disciplinary foundation and methods, as well as the data sources, you will use to answer your question
  8. Proposed schedule
    • Lay out expected schedule for completing 4 UMD courses and Leiden dissertation process; note when and where professional practice and other time constraints will be a concern

Please submit your proposal and most recent CV to education@start.umd.edu.



Please contact education@start.umd.edu with any questions you may have.