Module code: POL3066

Module Overview

The module is concerned with understanding the source, practice, effect and response to terrorism in the modern world.  In particular, the objective is to provide students with a clearer understanding of how and why terrorism exists and how other political actors respond to it.

Module provider


Module Leader

GILLESPIE Ciaran (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Lecture Hours: 5

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 14

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Definitions of terrorism and the function of the label

  • Terrorism, counter-terrorism immigration, ‘suspect communities’, xenophobia  and Islamophobia

  • State and state-sponsored terrorism

  • Causes of political violence and terror: the role of religion and ideology, radicalization, youth bulges, deprivation and marginalization

  • How political violence and terror ends: socio-economic and political change, negotiation and coming out of terrorism

  • Media representations, popular culture and the framing of public perceptions

  • Counter-terrorism: legislative responses, and state measures: the ‘battle for hearts and minds’; effectiveness – the human rights perspectives and lessons learned?

  • The War on Terror

  • Gender, political violence and terror

  • Critical approaches versus orthodox approaches

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 50
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Understanding of key concepts from the module

  • Critical analytical writing skills

  • Critical policy analysis skills

  • Independent research and reading

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework 1: Essay of 2000 words

  • Coursework 2: Seen exam (2 hours) standard SurreyLearn submission

As a conceptually rich module, space is given in assessment to demonstrate breadth and depth of student learning through writing. The first assessment tests initial understanding of introductory critical concepts and basics of security politics. A second piece of coursework in the form of a ‘seen’ exam is used to assess students to test ability to reflect on critical perspectives in a concise and time limited manner, requiring a substantial amount of forethought and planning. It is within student’s capacity to use the seen aspect to their advantage, but this requires preparation- moreover it means that students must engage with course literature throughout the module. All aspects of this assessment are thus designed to foster resilience and resourcefulness

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive written feedback and additional verbal feedback in meetings on their essay title and abstract, verbal feedback in seminars and one to one feedback at pre-arranged tutorial meetings on request. Lectures are interactive and feedback is provided there also. Written comments are provided attached to the essay and in feedback discussions with module leader.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to key concepts in critical security and critical terrorism research
  • Develop student capacity for reading and analysing security policy through different, and competing, theoretical frameworks
  • Develop student understanding of a wide range of security policy problems, relating to terrorism, extremism, radicalisation and political violence
  • Develop critical analytical writing skills, as well as skills in respectful public discussion and argumentation on sensitive subject areas

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically apply theoretical literature to historical examples of political violence and terror. KCPT
002 Conduct and present independently researched academic work. KCT
003 Analyse and critically evaluate the phenomena of terrorism and counter-terrorism. KCPT
004 Develop key academic and professional skills in both seminar discussions (global and cultural intelligence) and through assessments that test digital skills, resourcefulness, and resilience CPT
005 Develop sector knowledge for enhanced employability KPT
006 Reflect on key challenge areas in global security politics, from traditional notions of extremism to prospects of future climate driven refugee crises that centre sustainability and global cultural intelligence KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Introduce students to a new topic, and provide room for student-led discussion of the topic.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • lecture 1x1

  • seminar 1x11

Additional captured content and digital resources will be available on SurreyLearn to support students' learning and assessment needs.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POL3066

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Politics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Public Affairs MPA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Philosophy, Politics and Law Pathway) LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.