MAN 5127 Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

MAN 5127 Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

Course code: 
MAN 5127
Law and Governance
Course coordinator: 
Nick Sitter
Course name in Norwegian: 
Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
Product category: 
EMM - Security management and Cultural understanding, Specialisation
2018 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

This is a Master of Management program about terrorism and counter-terrorism. It focuses on three main topics: The causes of terrorism, strategies for combating terrorism, and analysis of present threats and challenges linked to terrorism and counter-terrorism.

The first part of the program focuses on terrorism as a concept, the causes of terrorism and the strategy and tactics of a range of different terrorist groups. How states (and indeed firms and voluntary organizations) interpret terrorism shapes their response. Moreover, whether terrorism is seen as rational strategy, or as something that can be explained by root causes such as poverty or religion, or it is explained in terms of psychology, has strong implications for how it is best dealt with.

The first part of the course covers the causes and origins of modern terrorism, common tactical, strategic and organizational elements across a wider range of terrorist groups, and the implications this has for contemporary terrorist threats.

The second part of the course turns to counter-terrorism, and explores the strengths and weaknesses of different counter-terrorism (and counter-insurgency) strategies. In different places and at different times terrorism has been interpreted as first and foremost a criminal, military, political or propaganda challenge, and this has important implications for which organizations the state assigns the lead role in counter-terrorism to.

The third part focuses on contemporary terrorism, and centers on threat assessment and policy tools for dealing with terrorism.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Acquired knowledge

The participants shall be in a better position to:

  • Acquire knowledge about key theories and contemporary debates about the causes of terrorism, terrorism as a strategy and counter-terrorism strategies, though exposure to the academic literature in the area.
  • Acquire knowledge about how to use theoretical work and historical cases to draw lessons about the strengths and weaknesses of different terrorist and counter-terrorism strategies and tactics.                                                                                                                                  
  • Acquire knowledge about how to acquire further information about terrorist campaigns, from the academic field as well as think tanks, the media and other open sources.
  • Acquire knowledge about how to use open source data for threat assessment and how this may form the basis for policy recommendations for risk management.
Learning outcomes - Skills

The program is designed to give the participants the tools and frameworks for analyzing terrorism and to equip them with a better basis for action and to shape responses and policies, both globally and nationally. The participants shall be in a better position to:

  • Be able to understand the conditions for the growth of various terrorist groups and the strategies they choose
  • Be able to analyze the development of a particular and general terrorist threat, including the aims, resources, strategy and tactics of terrorist groups.
  • Be able to analyze the need for use of different types of counter-terrorism tools.
  • Be able to evaluate and assess different counter-terrorism policy tools, including different forms of risk management.
  • Be able to analyze, assess and contribute to the elaboration of crisis management plans.
Learning Outcome - Reflection

Upon completion of the course the participants shall be in a better position to:

  • Be able to make decisions on an independent basis and to contribute to decision-making processes where question related to security and risk management are central issues.
  • Be able to assume ethical responsibility, and lead others in an independent and thoughtful manner.
  • Be able to apply critical thinking (based on theoretical and empirical work about terrorism and counter-terrorism) to assess different types of terrorism, including the extent to which terrorist groups might achieve their aims, the extent and severity of a terrorist threat, the threat terrorism poses to democratic societies, and the likely consequences of different counter-terrorism strategies.
  • Be able to contribute to public policy debates on terrorism and counter-terrorism, and independently to update their knowledge about these topics in the light of changing threats.
Course content


Session 1: The causes and consequences of terrorism  

  • Causes of terrorism
  • Varieties of terrorism
  • Strategic elements of terrorism
  • Terrorism in the 20th Century: Left and right extremist, national and religious terrorism 
  • Contemporary Terrorism, with a focus on far right and Islamist terrorism.



Session 2: Counter-terrorism and its consequences

  • Varieties of counter-terrorism strategy
  • Dilemmas of counter-terrorism in democratic states
  • The tools of counter terrorism
  • The outcome of terrorist campaigns: how terrorism ends.
  • Contemporary counter-terrorism


    Session 3: Threat assessment and risk management  

  • Policy making in crises
  • Threat analysis
  • Risk management tools
  • Contemporary terrorism and counter-terrorism in Europe
  • Contemporary terrorism and counter-terrorism in the rest of the world
Learning process and requirements to students

The programme is conducted through six course modules.


The students must expect a workload that is customary for a 15 ECTS program (400 hours). The teaching is organised in three course modules in three 8-hour days each, totalling approx. 75 lecturing hours. In addition, students must plan having at least one study day per week and some extra time for the term paper.

Students are responsible for obtaining information given in lectures but which is not included in the program web page, its learning or in other course material.

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all programmes, it is the student's own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/ itslearning or other course materials.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

Bachelor degree, corresponding to 180 credits from an accredited university, university college or similar educational institution
The applicant must be at least 25 years of age
At least four years of work experience. For applicants who have already completed a master’s degree, three years of work experience are required. (two years of work experience are required for applicants employed at The Norwegian Armed Forces)

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group/Individual (1 - 3)
1 Semester(s)
MAN xxxx1 - Term paper; accounts for 60 % of the grade to pass the programme MAN xxxx.
Exam code: 
MAN 51271
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
48 Hour(s)
MAN xxxx1 - 48 hour individual home exam; accounts for 40 % of the grade to pass the programme MAN xxxx.
Exam code: 
MAN 51272
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam organisation: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 15 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 400 hours.