• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Political Sciences, Human Rights, Politics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Michael Zekulin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

Terrorism, in the contemporary study of International Relations and Security Studies is a congested area of analysis. This has resulted in a growing program of study to understand this phenomenon and its place in today’s international system. This course examines the principal issues associated with modern international terrorism and efforts to counter it.  The objective of the course is to provide the student with a broad understanding of international terrorism, and to enhance the ability to engage knowledgeably in discussion and debate on the subject.

The course considers a wide range of questions to provide students with a deeper understanding of the threat of terrorism today.  Among the questions it examines are:

- What is terrorism?
- How has the threat of terrorism changed over time?
- What motivates different types of terrorist groups?
- When does terrorism succeed and fail?
- How can terrorism best be fought?

Specifically, the course will analyze both terrorism’s effectiveness as a means to achieve political change and the challenges faced by the liberal democratic state in responding to domestic and/or international terrorist campaigns.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. demonstrate an historical familiarity with the origins and uses of terrorism and its re-emergence at different times in different locales;
  2. demonstrate a critical awareness of the key concepts and attempts to theorize terrorism and counter-terrorism in history, most especially in the modern period. Within this, the student will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the role of terrorism as a common, if not universal, feature of state formation;
  3. comprehend, as IR and Strategic analysts, the need to contextualize terrorism so that both an intellectual understanding and sound policy advice (if required) might emerge.  This is not to apologise for terrorism but to plead the case for the understanding which must precede all discussion of it; and
  4. reflect critically on arrangements conducted in the name of counter-terrorism which are currently at the core of national security in general and numerous wars and/or interventions more particularly.

Indicative Assessment

Participation (15%) Learning outcomes 1, 2, 4
Article reviews, 6 x 400 words each for a total of 2400 words (5% each for a total of 30%) Learning outcomes 1-4
Research Proposal, 500 words (5%) Learning outcomes 1-4
Research Paper, 2500 words (50%) Learning outcomes 1-4 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 24 hours of seminars  over 12 weeks; and
b) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed POLS4047.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2976 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person N/A

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