Terrorism and Security

Part-time study available
Alternative start dates available
Distance Learning
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Terrorism and Security at Salford


Learn from experts in global security and strategy who have published extensive research in respected political and historical journals


Develop a deep insight into global terrorism and security at a time of great change and uncertainty following the Arab Spring


Learn from experts in global security and strategy who have published extensive research in respected political and historical journals

Course Summary

Terrorism and security issues are at the top of the political agenda in many countries. This exciting and unique course gives you the opportunity to study these issues in depth, in a dynamic and stimulating academic environment.

During your time with us, you will examine a wide range of topics, including terrorist groups and their strategies and counter-terrorism policies in the US, UK, Europe, and the Middle East. 

You will also have the opportunity to examine the place of terrorism in relation to other threats to security, and the place of counter-terrorism strategies in relation to the other state-led efforts to achieve and maintain security.


Course Details

Course Structure

This course has both full-time and part-time routes over two 12 week semesters (plus the third semester or summer period for your dissertation for MA students). The part-time route can be studied via distance learning.  

For the full-time study option:
Semester 1 - October to February
Semester 2 - February to June
Semester 3 - June to September

Semester 1

Core module:

Provides you with an understanding of the issue of terrorism and a comprehension of some of the problems for democratic states and international organisations (EU, UN, NATO) in responding to this threat. This module will provide you with the analytical tools to systematically assess the phenomenon of terrorism, its increasingly international character, and varying national and international responses to the problem.

One optional module from the following (30 credits):

Issues in Intelligence seeks to introduce postgraduate students to the theory, practice and history of secret intelligence, primarily in connection with post-1945 international relations and foreign policies; to explain the nature of intelligence studies as a relatively new field of serious intellectual inquiry; and to provide students with a suitable foundation for further study and research in intelligence studies. By the end of the module it is anticipated that students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the historical (mainly post-1945) and current-day role of secret intelligence in the international domain; show knowledge of the wide and varied historical interpretations of the intelligence literature; and be able to explain key concepts and issues in the field of intelligence studies.
With the globalization of crime and terrorism and the development of international security arrangements, bi-lateral, regional and international criminal justice responses are growing apace. This module uses contemporary case studies to explore, in a critical mode, regional and bi-lateral arrangements in relation to all stages of the criminal justice process (policing and security; judicial oversight; imprisonment) and the emerging global criminal justice system (international criminal tribunals; the International Criminal Court). How are the French and British police working together to investigate the Al-Hilli murders? What rules and procedures were involved in the deportation of Abu Qatada? Could (and should) the terrorist “Carlos the Jackal” be repatriated to Venezuela? Should Saif al-Islam Gaddafi be tried in Libya or in the International Criminal Court? These are just some of the topics that will be examined in the module.

Semester 2

Optional modules of up to 60 credits:

This module focuses on contemporary intelligence and security matters, including the nature of threats to Western security seen in recent years and the responses to these threats.
This module explores the claims and evidence about the relationship between the media and terrorism. It tackles a set of key questions: Is it true that terrorism thrives on the "oxygen of publicity"? What shapes the reporting of terrorism? Do terrorists really exploit the media to further their destructive ends? Do media help building society’s resilience or do they rather encourage public alarmism?
Since the late-nineteenth century, Britain has faced a number of threats to internal security. The Secret State: Domestic Security in Britain, 1883-2012 uses newly available primary documents to examine the British government’s response to terrorism, espionage and subversion from the formation of Scotland Yard’s Special ‘Irish’ Branch in 1883, set up to combat Fenian terrorism, to the present day counter-terror activities of the British Security Service (MI5) and police. In addition, the module explores how the British state has altered to meet individual threats, with sessions devoted to the Official Secrets Act, vetting and anti-terror legislation, looking at their impact on British political life and culture.
This module examines the evidence for a participatory crisis by focussing on five areas:
  • The different theories of why people participate and why they don't.
  • The empirical evidence for decline.
  • You will examine those commonly held responsible for turning people off politics, notably, politicians and the negative reporting of the media.
  • Different forms of collective participation.
  • Some of the solutions to citizen disengagement and the future direction of political participation.

Please note that the above list may be subject to change as the availability of optional modules varies each year.  

If you do not wish to continue onto the dissertation project and leave the course at this stage you can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma.  

Semester 3

If you pass the taught component of the course you may then proceed to the 12,000 word dissertation, which is worth 60 credits. Those not wishing to continue onto the dissertation project can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma if leaving the course at this stage.      

Part-time Structure by Attendance

Year 1, Semester 1

  • Terrorism: Threat and Response (30 credits)

Year 1, Semester 2

Choose one optional module from:

  • Digital Criminal Justice (30 credits)
  • Security Networks, Intelligence and Internal Security (30 credits)
  • The Secret State: Domestic Security in Britain 1883 - 2012 (30 credits)

Year 2, Semester 1

Choose one optional module from:

  • International Criminal Justice (30 credits)
  • Issues in Intelligence (30 credits)

Year 2, Semester 2

Choose one optional module from:

  • Digital Criminal Justice (30 credits)
  • The Secret State: Domestic Security in Britain 1883 - 2012 (30 credits)

Year 3, Semester 1 and 2

Dissertation (60 credits)

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree in Politics, History, Sociology, Criminology or related social science and humanities subject.

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.5 band score (with no element below 5.5) as proof of this.

Suitable For

The professional relevance and topicality of this course will make it attractive to those considering or currently engaged in careers in the civil service, the armed forces, research and teaching, international or non-governmental organisations, and the media. The course also provides excellent foundations for those who wish to pursue a PhD.

Applicant profile

This course is for you if you are interested in deepening your understanding of the debates on the causes and current manifestations of terrorism and other high-profile contemporary security challenges. You will need to be open to engaging with a wide variety of academic perspectives. You will develop your ability to critical assess the broader ramifications and effectiveness of various state responses.

International Students - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at application@salford.ac.uk. If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on Salford-ATAS@salford.ac.uk.

You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academic-technology-approval-scheme


You will be taught through two three-hour sessions per week which consists of introductory lectures and following seminar discussions (one session per week for part-time students).

Distance learning (part-time) modules are run by tutors who provide all materials for student research and reading around particular topics assigned via the virtual Blackboard. You will read set texts; actively contribute to online discussions about questions set by module tutors; write essays and reports; and reflect on podcast lectures.


You will be assessed through two essays per module each weighted at 50% of the overall mark for the module. After the successful completion of 1420 credits (four modules) you will proceed to the 14,000 word dissertation (60 credits) or, for attendance students given permission to do so by the Programme Leader, The Terrorism and Security Practicum.


Graduates from this course follow a range of careers in the civil service, the armed forces, intelligence agencies, consultancies, international or non-governmental organisations, think tanks and research institutions and the media.

Career Prospects

You will develop a wide range of skills on the course (writing skills, communication skills, presentation skills, and analytical skills) that are transferable to a variety of careers. This means that you can follow a range of careers in the civil service, the armed forces, international or non-governmental organisations, think tanks and research institutions, and the media.

Graduates from this course have progressed in careers within Greater Manchester Police, the Home Office, the Lancashire Police Counterterrorism Branch, the security services of other countries, IT companies in the United States as well as international organisations such as the Strategic Police Matters Unit at the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE).You may also pursue further study at doctoral level.

Alumni Profile

Robert Hampshire, MA Terrorism and Security

"Enrolling on the MA Terrorism and Security course at Salford was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made… albeit perhaps not one of the easiest to accomplish by SAT-COM from somewhere in the middle of Afghanistan! However, I received some great support going through the application process. What I found when I joined Salford was an innovative course run by an international team of enthusiastic and very knowledgeable staff. The lecturers presented and discussed contemporary events whilst situating them in their broader context and encouraging debates amongst the students. This made the course very relevant to a practitioner with many years of experience in conflict and post-conflict zones like me. At the same time, our rather spirited discussions in the seminars strongly indicate that the students who entered the course directly after their undergraduate degree found the course as interesting and enjoyable as I did! In addition, I had the opportunity to attend the excellent European Security, Terrorism and Intelligence (ESTI) seminars and conferences with top experts in the field of terrorism and security. For all these reasons, I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in security and terrorism issues to enrol on the MA Terrorism and Security at the University of Salford."

Francis Okpaleke, MA Terrorism and Security (2014/15)

"The MATS postgraduate programme simply exceeded my expectations. The faculty of instructors was very helpful and the course was encompassing. I would highly recommend this programme for prospective students interested in understanding how terrorism, intelligence and security affects the new world order."

Links with Industry

You have the opportunity to attend stimulating guest lectures, seminars, and conferences, which bring researchers and practitioners together. These will make you better informed as to how the industry works and your current or future  place within it.

Further Study

The course’s broad introduction to cutting-edge research and current academic controversies offers an excellent foundation for further in-depth research into terrorism and security issues.

The University's Politics and Contemporary History Research  Centre  builds on the active research programme provided by the Politics and Contemporary History seminar series. 

The dedicated members of our teaching team cover a wide range of potential PhD topics:

Dr James Corum

Dr Brian Hall

Dr Daniel Lomas

Dr David Maher

Dr Christopher J. Murphy

Dr Samantha Newbery

Dr Alaric Searle

Fees and Funding

Fees 2015-16

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,000 per 30 credits
Full-time International£11,310
Full-time PgDip£4,000
Distance Learning£1000 per 30 credits for year 1
International Distance LearningTBC

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,017 per 30 credits
Full-time International£12,500, part-time £2,084 per 30 credits
Full-time PgDip£4,068
Distance Learning£1,017 per 30 credits for year 1
International Distance Learning£2,084 per 30 credits

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section