Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time
Institution code: R72
Campus: Central London
UK fees*: £8,300
International/EU fees**: £18,800
Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies (MSc)
This programme is aimed at students who wish to get an interdisciplinary understanding of individual and organisational involvement in terrorism, coupled with an understanding of national and international approaches to counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE).
This programme is ideal for students wishing to develop a research career in terrorism and counter-terrorism studies, or who are working in, or wish to work in, the security or policy sectors.
Alongside the formal lectures and seminars, you will hear from guest speakers from the research community, as well as the private and public sector.
The interdisciplinary nature of this programme draws on the interlinks between criminology, law, psychology, international relations, and sociology.
The modules that constitute this degree are predominantly taught on our Royal Holloway London Graduate School in the centre of London, with a few optional modules being taught on our Egham campus.
- Focus on the theory and practice of terrorism and counter-terrorism and hear from practitioners working in the field.
- Develop a critical understanding of counter-terrorism in England and Wales.
- Examine counter-terrorism work in context of the wider criminal justice system and consider the role of human rights.
The core modules listed below are all taught on our central London campus.
- Debates in Terrorism Studies
- Debates in Counter-Terrorism Studies
The purpose of this dissertation is to provide you with the opportunity to engage in a significant independent research project. You will choose the topic of the research. However, it must focus on an area within the remit of the terrorism and counter-terrorism studies focus of the programme. The dissertation must be an original, independent piece of research which can be either empirical or literature based in nature. Prior to starting the dissertation you must have a research proposal accepted by the dissertation committee. After your dissertation proposal has been accepted you will each be allocated a supervisor who will be able to give you guidance, feedback and support throughout the research process.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
The following optional modules are taught on our Egham campus: Transnational Organised Crime, Transnational Security Studies, Media, War and Conflict, Understanding of Defence, Terrorism, the Media and Communication, and The Israel Palestinian Conflict.
- History of Terrorism
- Transnational Organised Crime
This module introduces you to how the area of security studies has evolved to include ever more transnational dynamics. You will see how scholars have traditionally understood security and how the study of security has developed. You will develop a theoretical and conceptual awareness of the practical issues and problems in Transnational Security Studies, exploring why security has become transnational. You will also look at security communities, alliances and collective security; global security governance; and cyber warfare.
In this module you will examine the theories, concepts and issues surrounding the role of media in war and conflict in the early twenty-first century. The post-9/11 global security situation and the 2003 Iraq war have prompted a marked increase in interest in questions concerning media, war and conflict, and you look at the relationships between media, governments, military, and audiences/publics, in light of old, new, and potential future security events. You will develop an understanding of the theories of media effects in conflict situations, covering a number of important themes, including embedding, sanitisation, legitimacy, and terrorism and publicity. You will explore the role of ethics, technology, and professional norms that inform war reporting, analysing a range of media with consideration for conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in light of ongoing conflicts around the world.
In this module you will analyse the content and sources of change in defence policy during the post-Cold War era. You will look at changes to the objectives of defence policy, military capabilities, force structures and doctrines of the world’s major military powers (the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia). In so doing, you will asses the extent to which these reforms have helped the state concerned to meet its central security challenges. In addition, you will develop an understanding of the embedding of defence policies within regional and international institutions and the sources of defence cooperation. You will also see the implications of non-state actors in defence, notably private military companies and non-governmental organisations.
- The Psychology of Terrorism
- Contemporary Forms of Terrorism
- Terrorism, the Media and Communication
- The Israel Palestinian Conflict: A Global Perspective
Teaching & assessment
You will take six taught units worth 20 credits each and complete a dissertation worth 60 credits.
You will be assessed through a mixture of reports, presentations, portfolios, peer assessment and a thesis.
Law, Criminology, Psychology, Politics or another subject from the social sciences.
Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in Law, Criminology, Psychology, Politics or another subject from the social sciences. However we will consider a high 2:2.
Candidates with professional qualifications and/or relevant industry experience in an associated area will also be considered.
Where a ‘good 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 6.5. No other subscore lower than 6.0.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 61. No other subscore lower than 54.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements please see here.
Your future career
Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to hear from and engage with external guest speakers from the public and private sector, who will provide talks and briefings on a variety of career paths in the area of counter-terrorism.
Future career opportunities may include becoming a civil servant in the Home, Foreign or Commonwealth Office; working within the UK's intelligence services; or a role in one of the police services' anti-terrorism branches. Alternatively, you may wish to complete a PhD and forge a career in academia.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £8,300
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £18,800
Other essential costs***: TBC
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.
All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the course via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research courses, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
** The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2022, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 60% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.