A course on terrorism should be core to a criminal justice degree.

Home | Defining Terrorism | Modus Operandi of Terrorists | Response to Terrorism | Future and Emerging Trends | Terrorism News | Course Resources | Books on Terrorism | Homeland Security | About the Instructor | Find a Degree in Counterterrorism | Contact Us | Site Map

This is the tutorial (distance) version.  Learners enrolled in the Role of Criminal Justice in Terrorism from Arcadia, Brea and LASO click here.

The Role of Criminal Justice in Terrorism


Course Description:

This course employs a criminal justice framework for the analysis and evaluation of terrorist groups and individuals, terrorist origins, goals, dynamics, ideologies and counterterrorism. The course will include a discussion of the task of defining terrorism, an exploration of the history and causes of terrorism (both internationally and domestically), the structure and organization of terrorist groups, an overview of the methods and weapons of terrorists, and public policies, strategies and approaches for combating and preventing terrorism.


Learning Outcomes & Competencies
University Outcomes
Express and interpret ideas clearly, using a variety of written, oral and/or visual forms;
Use different modes of disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry to explore ideas and issues from multiple perspectives; and,

Articulate a perspective on power in the world and ones own place in the global community.
Major Outcomes
Summarize and interpret current issues in the field of criminal justice and how these issues impact criminal justice organizations, criminal justice personnel and other stakeholders; Analyze, critique and defend criminal justice policy and service delivery from a management point of view; and,
Summarize, interpret and relate meta, normative and applied ethical theories in a dynamic environment such as criminal justice management.
Course Specific Outcomes
Formulate a working definition of terrorism and assess the problems associated with the various social, political and cultural contexts of that meaning;
Construct a framework from a criminal justice perspective to analyze terrorism and terrorists;
List and summarize the historical and theoretical perspectives that have been a major influence on our  understanding of violence and modern day terrorism;
Analyze and evaluate the patterns and trends of terrorism, including methods, modes of attack, tactics, and strategies;
Discuss terrorism against the United States and foreign governments;
Apply theories and policies of counter terrorism, including scholarly controversies relating to the media and civilians; and,
Identify key people who have influenced our understanding of the characteristics, causes, and controls of terrorism.

Source Material:

(Two Text Books are used for this course)


Snowden, L. & Whitsel, B. (2005) Terrorism: Research, Readings and Realities. Prentice Hall


Poland, J. (2005) Understanding Terrorism: Groups, Strategies and Responses. 



 Order a copy of Terrorism: Research, Readings and Realities


 Order a copy of understanding Terrorism: Groups, Strategies, and Responses (2nd Edition)





All other readings are available online through hyperlinks provided on the course website.


Papers and Assignments:

All papers and assignments are to be submitted online, through the website provided for the course.  The assignments are to be attached to an email.  Use of the APA style of writing is required.  Please refer to APA guidelines regarding font, margins, etc.  Papers are graded on content and well as exposition.  Each paper must have a heading with the students name, course title, assignment title and date.  All papers are must be sent by midnight on the due date.  It is highly recommended that the Learner read through all four modules of instruction in order to get a "feel" for where the course is headed.


In order to use the assignment matrix below, first determine if you are a Semester or Session I/II learner.

Due Date Fall 2009
Session I Session II Go To
August 31, 2009 October 26, 2009 Session Begins
September 11, 2009 November 6, 2009 Module One (Defining Terrorism)
September 25, 2009 November 20, 2009 Module Two (Modus Operandi of Terrorists)
October 9, 2009 December 4, 2009 Module Three (Response to Terrorism)
October 21, 2009 December 16, 2009 Module Four (Emerging Trends)
October 24, 2009 December 19, 2009 Session Ends



Issue Papers
General Paper Instructions
At a minimum, it is expected that the students will produce an academically sound and properly formatted work (APA format is required). All work is evaluated on exposition as well as composition. Superior work will incorporate independent research as well as assigned and supplemental readings.

Course Long Project 30%
Paper One                15%
Paper Two                15%
Paper Three              20%
Practical Exercises    10%
Participation              10%
Semester Total         100%

Final Deadline for all work
All course work is due at the start of class in the week indicated on schedule. Absent prior permission, late assignments will be assessed a penalty of one letter grade per week. For information concerning the completion of course work beyond the last day of class refer to the UI&U Catalog.

Ethical Conduct
Learners should be aware that there are severe consequences for violations of academic ethical conduct. Primarily, we are concerned with cheating and plagiarism. Learners who are determined to have cheated or committed plagiarism will face disciplinary action as identified within UI&U regulations. For additional clarification of cheating and/or plagiarism, refer to the UI&U Catalog for policies regarding Academic Integrity.

Click here to download a copy of the syllabus.

Note:  This is a four unit course.  If you have been assigned five units for this course, there is a "fifth" assignment.  Click here for the Battle of Algiers assignment.

According to one student using Terrorism: Research, Readings and Realities, “I bought this book as a required text for a class in a Master's level program. For a text, these articles were rather interesting. Many of the articles are about the definition and identification of terrorism and terrorists; the psychological aspect of membership in extremism. Later in the book, there are several articles regarding the Christian Identity Movement and other American-originated extremist groups which I found to be the most interesting articles of all. All the articles have been previously published elsewhere in academic and professional journals so the authors are professionals (law enforcement, government "think tanks", and professors, etc). Simply put, one of the more interesting texts I've ever read.”

One reviewer of Understanding Terrorism: Groups, Strategies, and Responses said, “The author engages the reader at a pace and level of complexity that encourages the natural curiosity of the reader. The material is fascinating and abhorrent ... readers are encouraged to expand their understanding of the world through examination of the distorted thinking of the terrorist. The author defines the topics and approach for the reader quite well. I particularly like the manner in which the author discusses the moral equivalency arguments of various apologists for atrocious behaviors. Historical materials are presented in a readable and understandable format without overt emotionality." -- John Mason, Upper Iowa University "This is a very interesting and well-written book dealing with the strategies of various terrorist groups. In addition to material on well-known domestic groups, including the Klan ... , the author- includes very interesting and often forgotten material on the Puerto Rican independence movement and the JDL. The author offers a very good discussion ... by including many different groups, domestic, and international that realized the value of the media for spreading their message to the greatest possible audience.”

© 2012 High Priority Targeting, Inc.