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.

Summer/Winter Courses

Summer/Winter Courses

START offers fully online summer and winter courses each year which are open to any current degree seeking student or non-degree seeking individual. Current University of Maryland students may register through Testudo. Non-University of Maryland students must apply as non-degree seeking students, visiting students, or students with Golden ID Cardholder Status through the University of Maryland’s Office of Extended Studies

Winter Session 2021 | January 4-22, 2021

The Rise of the Islamic State

The quick rise of the terrorist group self-described as the Islamic State, also known as the ISIL has surprised policymakers and foreign policymakers worldwide. This course provides a comprehensive look at the Islamic State and will discuss key concepts and terms in Islamic history in an effort to establish an understanding of Islamic jurisprudence, meaning of a caliphate, the five pillars of Islam and Sharia law. The course will trace the history of the Islamic State's rise and will examine the leadership figures/personalities behind the group and look in depth at ISILs connection to and divorce from al-Qaida. Students will examine how the group finances its operation as well as the rise of its affiliates. Students will also explore the group's use of foreign fighters and social media to further its agenda and explore the U.S. and global responses to counter the Islamic State. At the completion of this course, students will have an in depth understanding of the Islamic State and a better understanding of the key tools, including law enforcement, diplomatic, or intelligence, that are deployed to counter the group.

Instructor: William Braniff

  • Credits: 3
  • Course Code: BSST338P
  • Meeting Times: M-F, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Guest speakers include:


Summer Session I 2021 | June 1-July 9, 2021

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

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.

Instructor: Dr. Thomas Guarrieri

  • Credits: 3
  • Course Code: BSST338J
  • Meeting Times: Details on ELMS


Summer Session (Ten Week) 2021 | June 1-August 6, 2021

Special Topics in Terrorism Studies; Understanding Insider Threat: From Threat to Risk and Trust

This course will take the form of a survey course where we will explore past and present trends of insider threat; response and mitigation challenges; and policies, procedures, and practices currently implemented in the U.S. Government to respond to and mitigate threats. The course will also examine individual, organizational, and social stressors that could contribute to insider behaviors and explore the systems approach to countering insider threat vis-a-vis vulnerability assessments. In doing so, the course will expose students to a new paradigm of thinking that shifts the focus from insider threat to insider risk, and countering insider threat to mitigating insider risk.

Instructor: Dr. Steve Sin

  • Credits: 3
  • Undergraduate Course Code: BSST338Q
  • Graduate Course Code: BSST638Q
  • Meeting Times: Details on ELMS


Summer Session II 2021 | July 12-August 20, 2021

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

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.

Instructor: Dr. Bryan Arva

  • Credits: 3
  • Course Code: BSST338L
  • Meeting Times: Details on ELMS


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

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 preventative 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?"

Instructor: Dr. Samuel Henkin

  • Credits: 3
  • Course Code: BSST338W
  • Meeting Times: Details on ELMS


Summer Sessions I-II 2021 | June 1-August 20, 2021

Experiential Learning in Terrorism Studies

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. Undergraduates from UMD and other institutions can enroll in BSST386 to earn from 1-5 experiential learning credits for completing an internship. Please contact the START Education Team for questions about the course enrollment and earning credit for internships with START (education-start@umd.edu) or START Internships for questions regarding the internship program (internships-start@umd.edu).

Instructor: Eva Coll

  • Credits: 1-5
  • Course Code: BSST386
  • Meeting Times: Details on ELMS



Where can I find tuition costs for these courses?

Tuition is set by the Office of Extended Studies (OES), not by START. You can find their tuition rates for summer sessions at this link and for winter sessions at this link. The page should be updated every year to coincide with the summer or winter courses.

I did not graduate from high school, but I obtained a General Education Development (GED) or was homeschooled and am not matriculated in another school. How can I apply to take a START-UMD course?

Students in this category may only take undergraduate-level courses, e.g. any course labeled from BSST200-BSST499. They may not register for graduate-level courses (BSST600-BSST999).

GED: If you did not graduate from a regionally accredited high school, then submit results of the Tests of General Education Development, along with academic letters of recommendation, an essay and SAT scores with your application.

Homeschooled: If you’ve been home-schooled, you should submit your completed application and provide a transcript with the following: course descriptions, books used, methods of evaluation and grades received. You should meet the same minimum high school course requirements expected of all applicants; your SAT and/or ACT scores will be strongly considered in the review of your application.

Please also include general information about your home schooling program or agency and a letter of recommendation from both an academic professional and the home schooling teacher/parent. If you’ve taken college-level courses, you should also include an official college transcript with your application.

How do I apply as a non-degree seeking student?

Undergraduate-level Courses (BSST200-BSST499) Non-Degree Seeking:

If you are a transfer applicant without a bachelor’s degree and wish to apply for admission as a non-degree-seeking student, you should follow the transfer application instructions. Please be sure to indicate "non-degree-seeking" on the application.

You must submit a completed application, official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended, and the application fee. You will be reviewed under the same standards for admission as degree-seeking students. If you have already completed a bachelor’s degree, transcripts are not required; however, since you may need to demonstrate that you have met prerequisites for courses, it is a good idea to have one available to advisors. Admitted non-degree seeking students register on a space-available basis beginning on the first day of class.

Please contact the Education Team (education-start@umd.edu) for more information to register for an undergraduate course if you are currently not an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Please find the University of Maryland, College Park instructions at this link.

Graduate-level Courses (BSST600-999) Non-Degree Seeking:

To qualify as a Non-Degree Seeking Student, you must:

  • Have achieved a cumulative 3.0 (on a 4-point scale) average for work done at the undergraduate level; OR
  • Have earned a master’s, doctoral, or a post-baccalaureate professional degree (MD, JD, DVM, etc.) from a regionally accredited institution; OR
  • Have attained a score that places you in the upper 50th percentile of an appropriate national standardized aptitude examination, such as the GRE, GMAT, or Miller Analogies Test; OR
  • Provide a letter of support from the graduate director of the degree program in which you plan to take a course.
  • Submit a personal statement.

To apply, you must:

  • Submit a completed online application, which includes uploading official transcripts showing a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a personal statement, and
  • Pay the non-refundable $75 application fee.
  • Read the FAQs and the Graduate School Catalog to familiarize yourself with the policies associated with this status. 

The deadline for application as a Non-Degree Seeking Student is the first day of classes for the semester in which you plan to attend. View the university’s academic calendar to see when each term begins.

Please contact education-start@umd.edu for more information to register for a graduate course if you are currently not a graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Please find the University of Maryland, College Park instructions at this link.

How do I apply as a visiting student?

Undergraduate-level Courses (BSST200-BSST499) Visiting Student:

If you wish to enroll for one semester as a visiting student and transfer the course work back to your home institution, you must submit the transfer application, official transcript and a letter of permission from an academic advisor or dean at your home institution.

Graduate-level Courses (BSST600-BSST999) Visiting Student

A graduate student matriculated in another graduate school who wishes to enroll in the University of Maryland Graduate School and who intends to return to the graduate school in which he or she is matriculated, may be admitted as a Visiting Graduate Student. To apply for Visiting Graduate Student status, you must submit a completed online application and pay the non-refundable $75 application fee.

If you are matriculated in a U.S. institution, you must submit:

  • A personal statement,
  • A letter from the Graduate Dean at your home institution confirming that you are in good academic standing and that courses taken at the University of Maryland will be transferred to your home institution, and 
  • A letter from the University of Maryland department that will be hosting you confirming that you will be taking courses in that department.
  • Transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE/GMAT test scores are not required.

If you are not matriculated in a US institution, you must submit:

  • A personal statement,
  • A letter from the Graduate Dean at your home institution confirming that you are in good academic standing and that courses taken at the University of Maryland will be transferred to your home institution, and
  • A letter from the University of Maryland department that will be hosting you confirming that you will be taking courses in that department.
  • Transcripts and letters of recommendation are not required. 
  • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores may be required if you are an international student.

I am a Senior Citizen living in Maryland. ​How do I apply for the Golden ID Program?

Undergraduate-level Course (BSST200-499) Golden Identification Cardholder Status (Senior Citizens)

If you are 60 or older, a legal resident of the state of Maryland and retired, the University of Maryland has courses and services available to you. If admitted to the university, you can register on a space-available basis for credit courses as a regular or special student in any session. You must pay an administrative fee for each semester registered.

Graduate-level Course (BSST600-999) Golden Identification Cardholder Status (Senior Citizens)

The university’s services and courses are available without charge to US citizens who are:

  • Residents of the state of Maryland,
  • 60 years of age or older, and
  • Retired (not engaged in gainful employment for more than 20 hours per week).
  • Individuals who meet these requirements may apply for graduate admission, either as degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking students, and must meet all admissions criteria.

Once admitted, these students will be issued a Golden Identification Card. Golden ID cardholders may register for courses in any session on a space-available basis and use the library and other University facilities during the time they are enrolled in courses. Golden ID cardholders may register during the first week of classes for up to 3 courses; they may not pre-register. Tuition will be waived for Golden ID cardholders, but mandatory fees must be paid. Please visit the Registrar’s website for more information on the Golden ID registration procedures.

More questions? Contact the Education Team: education-start@umd.edu for assistance.