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IR4574   Understanding Terrorism

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Tues 3pm

This module invites students to reflect on the different ways in which scholars have tried to explain the phenomenon of terrorism. It explores the most important explanations in the field and the debates that are central to our understanding of the problem.The course is organised around the key questions that have driven research in the field. Topics range from why individuals radicalise into terrorism and leave it behind, how terrorist organisations are run, why and how a political movement decide to use violence or whether this works. Students are afforded the opportunity to explore these issues through lectures, independent learning, individual and team presentations, debates and teaching seminars.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 hour lectures (11 weeks), 1 hour seminars (12 weeks)

Scheduled learning hours: 47

Guided independent study hours: 246

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr J Argomaniz
Module teaching staff: To be confirmed

Intended learning outcomes

  • Explain how the most important questions in Terrorism Studies have been addressed
  • Identify the different theoretical approaches to terrorism
  • Discuss the philosophical underpinnings of these theories
  • Identify and take sides in the main debates in the field
  • Critique and evaluate the body of scholarly work on this topic
  • Effectively apply theory to your own empirical analysis