Master's degrees specifically in terrorism studies aren't quite as common as other fields of study, but there are colleges and universities that offer programs in or directly related to this area. When you do find these programs, they will typically focus on elements of identifying terrorists and performing counterterrorism operations.
Master's degree programs in terrorism studies will typically conclude following roughly between 30 and 60 credit hours of study. The following are just a few examples of the courses you can anticipate taking as part of your program.
Intelligence Collection & Analysis
A part of countering terrorism is gathering intelligence. Intelligence courses familiarize students with the duties of intelligence analysts and their roles. These courses also detail how information is gathered and used to create actionable data. Intelligence collection methodologies, sources of intelligence, and the need for an intelligence collection framework are all discussed.
The intelligence community has to abide by the policies set for it by the government. Policy courses acquaint students with the policy process and how these policies are approved in the political system. An examination of U.S. intelligence policy is conducted as well as an analysis of reform efforts. Part of this course considers how intelligence policy has to consider the response of the public to intelligence gathering operations.
Coursework that examines cyber threats looks to the trouble that can be created via cyber activism. This course frames cyber threats as a relatively recent phenomenon. Students learn about how computers can be used by terrorists but also how different levels of threat can be identified. The course also introduces students to new technological advances that may present opportunities by which terrorists conduct operations in the future.
Counterterrorism coursework is designed to help students learn more about the risks creating terrorism. This course also looks at terrorism as a strategy and how it is deployed across the world. Coursework can also focus specifically on how social extremism generates topics. Students can look forward to studying about how individuals rationalize terrorist behavior and how marginalized groups become sponsors of terrorism.
Domestic terrorism concerns terrorism that occurs within a nation and involves domestic groups that cause terrorism incidents. Coursework examines violent incidents and profiles the history of those involved in the incident. Students learn about key allies and rivals of those involved in executing terrorism. This course may also incorporate insights drawn from other fields, such as psychology, economics, and political science.
Admission requirements for master's programs in terrorism studies have commonalities with other graduate admission standards. You will always need to have bachelor's degree transcripts to submit, though terrorism studies programs don't necessarily have minimum GPA requirements. Similarly, schools may or may not have a requirement for you to submit GRE scores. Essays, resumes, and possibly interviews are common parts of the admission process, as schools often look for students who have knowledge and/or professional experience related to counterterrorism. Depending on the program, you may also be asked to submit to a background check.
Your coursework in terrorism studies will require you to cover courses such as counterterrorism, cyber threats, and domestic terrorism. These courses will help you better identify circumstances that produce terrorism and the means by which those threats are countered.