Traditional Terrorism Studies and Online Terrorism Studies Programs Complement Military Training and Field Experience

Due to the changing face of terrorism and related threats to the security of the United States, the field of strategic security will continue to hire employees with specific skill sets and knowledge bases to help combat terrorism and protect the United States. Military officers and enlisted personnel have developed a better understanding of cultures and threat dynamics through their deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. While many soldiers will remain within the military, officers and enlisted personnel are also disengaging from the military and looking for new careers. With their field and cultural experience, these individuals will be even more prepared for a career in the strategic security sector by furthering their education. Further academic work in traditional terrorism studies or online terrorism studies programs will enable these former military personnel to hone their academic skills and prepare for a career in federal law enforcement or government agencies such as the DIA, NSA, or CIA

What is “terrorism studies”?

Terrorism studies seek to educate those interested in understanding, and eventually offsetting, the use of terrorism tactics in global warfare. Unlike traditional acts of violence, terrorists use asymmetric methods to achieve their objectives. Both traditional and online terrorism studies programs introduce students to the basic concepts of terrorism and counterterrorism so that students can better understand the motivations of terrorists among other concepts. Terrorism studies programs range from certificate programs to Masters Degree programs. To fully understand and effectively counter terrorist activity, future practitioners in this field need a highly-specialized education in terrorism studies – an education that mixes theory with practical classes.

Why terrorism studies?

While a basic level of military or enforcement training will provide a solid foundation on which to build, courses in terrorism studies will hone students’ expertise and prepare them to succeed in the field. The following points are just a few of the many benefits one can receive from a terrorism studies program.

– Cultivate critical thinking skills: Most job descriptions for intelligence analysts, among other related jobs, mention that applicants must possess analytical, critical, thinking, or problem-solving skills. Critical thinking skills enable analysts to remove personal bias and analytically or methodically evaluate a particular situation.

Analysts sift through a large amount of unfiltered information in order to make sense of a particular situation and advise policy-makers. Without these skills, intelligence analysts would fail to accurately ascertain the often nuanced situations surrounding threats. Advanced education in terrorism studies provides a perfect opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills through coursework and research.

– Develop an understanding of terrorism from an academic perspective: In order to succeed in this field, practitioners need to have an understanding of the history and theory behind terrorism, as well as how it affects foreign policy and other disciplines. Practitioners need to learn how to understand and predict an enemy’s motivations, goals, tactics, and strategies in order to effectively combat terrorism.

Terrorism studies programs seek to educate students in these areas.

– Learn to speak the language of the policy community: In order to learn how to work effectively within the strategic security sector, it is important to learn the “language” spoken by the policy community. By learning this “language” or “lingo,” a practitioner will be better prepared to effectively communicate his or her experience and findings to the larger policy community.

– Check off the “degree” box: Future employers often require bachelor’s if not an advanced degree in a related field. While military experience is valuable, often large employers and/or bureaucratic organizations will not examine a candidate unless this specification has been met.


One’s value as a counterterrorism professional directly correlates to his or her ability to foresee or intuit situations from a global perspective. Beyond operational or tactical field training, a degree or coursework in terrorism studies paves the way to the most challenging and meaningful counterterrorism careers. Traditional and online terrorism studies programs, as a subset of strategic security studies, can help military personnel with practical and field experience also gain academic knowledge and skills to be prepared for a career with a government agency when retiring from the military. Whether obtaining a full degree or a certificate, students will benefit from the content provided in a terrorism studies program via an accredited University.

Henley-Putnam University’s highly targeted education in terrorism studies can take you one step closer to pursuing a meaningful career as a terrorism studies, counterterrorism professional.

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