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INT6010 Terrorism and Counterterrorism (10 sp)

What is terrorism? How has the threat of terrorism changed over time? What motivates different types of terrorism? This class examines these fundamental questions and many more in order to gain some insight into one of the most talked about political phenomenons of our time.

Dette emnet undervises på engelsk og beskrives derfor på engelsk.

About the Course:

This course examines a wide range of questions in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of not only the evolving threat of terrorism, but also the evolving challenges produced by counterterrorist measures employed by states. This course thus explores both the phenomenon of terrorism, its trends and root causes, as well as the phenomenon of counterterrorism. Among the questions examined are: What is terrorism? How has the threat of terrorism changed over time? What motivates different types of terrorism? How can terrorism best be fought? What are the pitfalls of states pursuing counterterrorism? What is the post-mortem of the “War on Terror” as pursued by the United States from 2001-2009? What is radicalization, and who is radicalized into terrorism?

The course investigates terrorism through four underlying topics: the history of terrorism and terrorism research, Islamist terrorism, right-wing terrorism, and finally counterterrorism.
The course will look at three case studies in order to facilitate applied insight into terrorism and counterterrorism. The cases are different and belong to different sections of the syllabus: one case is a terrorist group (the Islamic State (ISIS)), another is a specific terrorist attack (the July 22, 2011 terror attack in Norway), and one is the governmental response to the world’s most spectacular terrorist attack (the 9/11 attacks in 2001).

After completing this course, the student is expected to have acquired the following learning outcomes:


  • understand and analyse core concepts of the class as defined by the syllabus
  • understand and explain potential causes of terrorism
  • understand and explain potential causes of radicalization
  • describe and explain terrorist movements and ideologies
  • analyze the political balancing act between counterterrorism and liberal democratic values


  • analyze and discuss various forms of terrorism
  • analyze and discuss various strategies of counterterrorism
  • analyze the political balance between counterterrorism strategies and liberal democratic values
  • evaluate various forms of counterterrorism strategies
  • discuss and present key topics orally
  • produce a written assignment by a set deadline


  • identify and discuss academic challenges (methodological and theoretical) related to terrorism research
  • identify and discuss ethical issues related to terrorism research
  • critically evaluate the use of the term "terrorism" in public discourse


The requirement must be passed in accordance to given deadline in order to register for the exams.

  • written assignment; memo 750-1000 words (pass/fail)


This course consists of two separate exams that together constitute the final grade. Both exams must be passed in order to pass the course. Students can retake one or both exams.

  • take home exam (individual essay); memo: 3500 words (+/- 10 % excluding front page and reference list) (60 % of the grade, grading system A – F)
  • 3 hour written exam (40 % of the grade, grading system A – F)