Syllabus for SOS-440



The phenomenon of terrorism is explored along thematic and chronological lines that focus mainly on the American experience and perspective. The course delves into the evolution of terrorism, its impact on U.S. domestic and foreign policies, some pertinent international dimensions, and the prospects for non-conventional terrorism in the future.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify basic characteristics and classifications of terrorism and describe relevant individuals, groups, and events.
  2. Discuss the role of factors such as religion, poverty, nationalism, greed, racism, etc., in the processes that contribute to terrorism.
  3. Distinguish facts from myths.
  4. Select assumptions and hypotheses regarding terrorism to recognize broad patterns.
  5. Apply theory to analyze selected cases of terrorism.
  6. Evaluate, critique, and rank the relative usefulness of some hypotheses for explaining certain case studies.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  1. Combs, Cindy C, Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2013).

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-85165-2

  1. Mahan, S. and Griest, Pamela L., Terrorism in Perspective, 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013).

ISBN-13: 978-1-4522-2545-6

  1. Kegley, Charles W, The New Global Terrorism: Characteristics, Causes, Controls, (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003).

ISBN-13: 978-0130494139

  1. Simonsen, Clifford E. and Jeremy R. Spindlove, Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future, 5th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2013).

ISBN-13: 978-0-13-268311-1


Suggested websites will accompany each topic. Please note: 'suggested' does not mean 'endorsed' or 'recommended.' The purpose of listing these Web sites (many of which can be found in the Simonsen & Spindlove textbook) is to help direct students who wish to read more about particular topics towards additional sources. During the course, students will also be expected to read excerpts from newspapers, postings from the Internet, and relevant magazine articles.


Terrorism is a three-credit online course, consisting of twelve (12) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Definitions and a Historical Perspective

  1. Module 2: Sources of Modern Terrorism: Psychological and Sociological Motives

  1. Module 3: Sources of Modern Terrorism: Ideological and Religious Causes of Terrorism

  1. Module 4: Domestic and Anti-U.S. Terrorism: Home Grown Terrorism

  1. Module 5: Domestic and Anti-U.S. Terrorism: Targeting America

  1. Module 6: Global Terrorism: International Terrorism - The Story of Four Continents

  1. Module 7: Global Terrorism: The Role of Women

  1. Module 8: Global Terrorism: The Media

  1. Module 9: From Traditional to Non-Conventional Terrorism: From Traditional to Non-conventional Terrorism
  2. Module 10: Countering Terrorism - The Home Front and Abroad: Homeland Security and Law Enforcement - Challenges to an Open Society

  1. Module 11: Countering Terrorism - The Home Front and Abroad: The U.S. War on Terrorism at the International Level

  1. Module 12: The Future: Lessons and Challenges


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Terrorism requires you to participate in weekly (12) graded online discussion activities, in addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum in Week 1.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted activity and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

The five (5) written assignments require students to demonstrate knowledge of both the reading materials and the vital aspects within the respective learning topics, and to compose an essay that expresses aptitude for putting the issue into the broader context.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Final Project

Terrorism requires you to complete a final project in the form of an essay between 6-8 pages in length. In this essay you will analyse three separate cases involving ideological terrorism, nationalist terrorism, and religious terrorism.

The final project requires you to prove your knowledge of the facts, to apply this knowledge to analyze cases and processes related to terrorism, and to demonstrate your ability to critically integrate this knowledge of the cases with theory. Significantly, this final project requires you to investigate the soundness of one terrorism-related assumption or hypothesis when applied to your case studies.

For details about this project see the Final Project area of the course.  For due dates consult the course Calendar.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (12)—20 percent
  2. Written assignments (5)—40 percent
  3. Final project—40 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a non-area of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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