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Master of Professional Studies in Security and Terrorism Studies, Online 

START Graduate Programs are housed in the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The programs investigate questions related to terrorism, counterterrorism, and community resilience.

Mentoring and advising are an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the academic program director to ensure that educational goals and career learning and development goals are met. Students should contact the education team, via email:


The Master of Professional Studies in Security and Terrorism Studies, Online (MPTS) has a 36-credit, 12-course curriculum that provides students with advanced education on the causes, dynamics, and impacts of terrorism and wider issues related to human security in a complex world.

  • Uses a "whole of social sciences" approach to prepare students to examine the complex social, political, economic, and psychological underpinnings of terrorist and security threats and is designed to meet the following objectives:
  • Provides a rigorous theoretical background for security, defense, and intelligence professionals.
  • Develops methodological skills as analysts and researchers in security, defense, and intelligence.
  • Fosters cross-cutting student research in security, defense, and intelligence.
  • Inculcates comprehensive ethical standards in security, defense, and intelligence analysis.
  • Introduces students to a variety of data collection, analysis, and interpretation strategies.
  • Appropriate for individuals interested in (and/or currently) working in fields related to intelligence analysis, homeland security analysis, or analysis of other relevant topic areas; and individuals interested in (and/or currently) conducting scholarly research on terrorism and security.
  • Program can be completed in four semesters of continuous full-time enrollment. Part-time enrollment is welcome. See Designation of Full-time/Part-time Status.


Below is a listing of all program courses. For a detailed course description that includes pre-requisites or co-requisites, see The Graduate School Catalog, Course Listing as follows: BSST Course Descriptions.

Course Number Title
BSST630 Terrorist Motivations and Behaviors
BSST631 Societal Impacts of and Responses to Terrorism
BSST633 Research Methods in Terrorism and Counterterrorism
BSST634 Legal and Criminal Approaches to Counterterrorism
BSST635 Countering Violent Extremism: Policy and Practice
BSST636 Quantitative Methods in Terrorism Studies
BSST637 Qualitative Methods in Terrorism Studies
BSST640 Theories of Security and Terrorism Studies
BSST641 U.S. Security Infrastructure
BSST642 Analytic Methods
BSST643 Great Powers & Near-Peer Competition
BSST645 Non-state Actors Threats and Responses
BSST664 Counterproliferation
BSST697 Capstone
BSST698 Seminar in Terrorism Studies
BSST699 Independent Study in Terrorism Studies

Registration Overview

  • See the sample plan of study, below. Students should use this as a guide to develop a plan with the academic program director. 
  • Actual course offerings are determined by the program and may vary semester to semester. Students should note if a course has a pre-requisite or co-requisite. 
  • Specific class meeting information (days and time) is posted on UMD’s interactive web service services, Testudo. Once on that site, select “Schedule of Classes,” then the term/year. Courses are listed by academic unit. 
  • The program uses specific section codes for registration, which are listed on the sample plan of study.

Sample Plan of Study, Full-time

Semester Year Course Number Section Code Credits
Fall 1 BSST630 PWT* 3
Fall 1 BSST634 PWT* 3
Fall 1 BSST640 PWT* 3
Spring 1 BSST631 PWT* 3
Spring 1 BSST633 PWT* 3
Spring 1 BSST641 PWT* 3
Fall 2 BSST635 PWT* 3
Fall 2 BSST642 PWT* 3
Fall 2 BSST*** PWT* 3
Spring 2 BSST643 PWT* 3
Spring 2 BSST636 PWT* 3
Spring 2 BSST697 PWT* 3

Sample Plan of Study, Part-time

Semester Year Course Number Section Code Credits
Fall 1 BSST630 PWT* 3
Fall 1 BSST640 PWT* 3
Spring 1 BSST631 PWT* 3
Spring 1 BSST633 PWT* 3
Fall 2 BSST634 PWT* 3
Fall 2 BSST635 PWT* 3
Spring 2 BSST641 PWT* 3
Spring 2 BSST643 PWT* 3
Fall 3 BSST642 PWT* 3
Fall 3 BSST*** PWT* 3
Spring 3 BSST636 PWT* 3
Spring 3 BSST697 PWT* 3


  • Uses the semester academic calendar with classes held in fall and spring semester (16 weeks each). 
  • Instruction provided by University of Maryland faculty and professionals in the field

Online Learning

  • Features 100% online instruction with engaging and interactive learning.
  • Using advanced audio and video technology, UMD’s online learning environment delivers dynamic and interactive content.
  • Featuring convenience and flexibility, online instruction permits asynchronous or synchronous participation.
  • Lectures are video archived. Students who are unable to attend in real time can review the session through asynchronous participation.

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various roles and responsibilities of security and intelligence agencies at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels.
  • Develop a research design to test hypotheses in a given analytical framework. 
  • Recognize relevant ethical argumentation for and against security and intelligence gathering and analysis activities.
  • Identify and understand key challenges in the analysis of security and terrorism threats.
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