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: 
Terrorisme og terrorbekjempelse
Product category: 
EMM - Security management and Cultural understanding, Specialisation
2025 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 program covers terrorism as a concept, the causes of terrorism, and the strategy and tactics of a range of different terrorist groups; as well as counter-terrorism strategy, tactics and policy tools. How states (and indeed firms and voluntary organizations) interpret terrorism shapes their response.

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 focuses on the modus operandi of contemporary terrorist groups, and on threat assessment and policy tools for dealing with terrorism. Key topics include terrorists' organisation, target selection, weapons acquisition, finance, logistics, and types of attacks.

The third 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.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The participants shall be in a position to acquire knowledge about holitic apporaches to security, and use specialised knowledge about theories and research methods in terrorism and counter-terrorism studies, and to use theoretical work and historical cases in contemporary social and political context in order 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 relevant theories and research methods, and how to use theoretical work and historical cases in contemporary social and political context to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different counter-terrorism strategies and tactics.
  • Acquire knowledge about how to acquire and use new information about terrorist campaigns, from the academic field as well as think tanks, the media and other open sources.
  • Acquire knowledge about how to research and 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 imporve the participants' ability to analyse komplex situations, to take tactical, operative and strategic decisions. Participants should acuire the tools and frameworks for analyzing terrorism and to equip them with a basis for action and to shape sustainable responses and policies, both globally and nationally, and with respect to conventional, mixed and cyber threats. Participants shall be in a good position to critically assess both academic and policy debates on this topic with respect to information, data, research methods and practical application of academic work. Through independent work based on research using open sources, and in line with pertinent ethics guidelines, they should be able to:

  • Analyse the conditions for the growth of various terrorist groups and their chosen strategies.
  • Analyse the development of a particular and general terrorist threat, including the aims, resources, strategy and tactics of terrorist groups.
  • Analyse the need for use of different types of counter-terrorism tools.
  • Evaluate and assess different counter-terrorism policy tools, including different forms of risk management.
  • Analyse, assess and contribute to the elaboration of crisis management plans.
  • Write a threat assessment 
General Competence

Participant should imrpovde their genreal competence in decision-making and leadership. Upon completion of the course the participants shall be in a position to analyse pertinent research, policy and ethical issues independently, and 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.
  • Take responsibility, and lead others in an independent, ethical and thoughtful manner.
  • 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, and thereby contribute to policy assessment and innovation.
  • Communicate with academic experts, the policy community and the general public and thereby 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 tredns in terrorism

Session 2: Threat assessment

  • Threat analysis
  • Terrorist tactics and modus operandi
  • Terrorist organisation, finance and weapons
  • Contemporary terrorism in Europe

Session 3: 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
Teaching and learning activities

The programme is conducted through three 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.

Students are evaluated through a project assignment that counts for 60% of the total grade and an individual 72-hour home exam that counts for 40%. The project assignment can be written individually or in groups of up to three people. Both exams must be passed to complete the course.


In all BI Executive courses and programs, there is a mutual requirement for the student and the course responsible regarding the involvement of the student's experience in the planning and implementation of courses, modules and programmes. This means that the student has the right and duty to get involved with their own knowledge and practice relevance, through the active sharing of their relevant experience and knowledge.

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)

Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Submission PDF
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
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: 
Submission PDF
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
72 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
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Student workload
24 Hour(s)
75 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
75 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
151 Hour(s)
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.