Study Terrorism at the Univeristy of East London

One sector which usually survives economic slumps quite well is higher education. As jobs in other areas come under pressure people increasingly look to improve their skills and qualifications in order to maximise and safeguard their current job prospects, or alternatively to launch themselves in a new career. One area of higher education which is seeing real growth in recent years is terrorism studies.

Up until a few years ago, if you had wanted to learn more about terrorism at university level, you would have struggled to find a course. There were only a handful of classes available, usually taught as a very small part of an undergraduate degree in law, psychology or politics. There were certainly no MSc or MAs to take.

9/11 led to a massive increase in interest and this increase slowly led to the creation of entire new courses devoted to understanding terrorism and counterterrorism. The University of East London launched the first full MSc on Terrorism Studies in England in 2006 and since then a growing number of universities have launched similar degrees with even more in the pipeline.

These new courses now mean that students can study terrorism to the highest academic standards and can gain qualifications on a subject of obvious current importance. For people in the policing world this can be of benefit both to those who are early in their careers and thinking ahead to promotion and placement, as well as those who are nearing retirement and are looking to add a serious academic qualification to years of professional experience.

What then can a university course teach you about terrorism? A lot, is the short answer. Research on terrorism has looked at a massive array of subjects, including mapping the radicalisation process (and the deradicalisation process); comparing and contrasting the practices and experiences of different countries; analysing the decision-making and planning of terrorist groups; identifying ways to deter and prevent terrorist attacks; predict the outcome of hostage situations; understand the impact of media coverage on events; and so on. Yet most officers are completely unaware of this work and of the potentially useful findings emerging from it.

The value of the new range of MSc and MA courses which are now available on terrorism studies is that the people who run them have already condensed this knowledge and new research and prepared it in a way explicitly designed for people new to the field.

If you would like to find out more about this course please visit the UEL website by logging onto

This article was submitted by Professor Andrew Silke, Director Terrorism Studies, at the University of East London

Return to Training menu