Singapore University of Social Sciences

Terrorism and Psychology: The Mind of the Terrorist

Terrorism and Psychology: The Mind of the Terrorist (SEC343)

Applications Open: 01 October 2023

Applications Close: 15 November 2023

Next Available Intake: January 2024

Course Types: Modular Undergraduate Course

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: $1391.78 View More Details on Fees

Area of Interest: Others

Schemes: Alumni Continuing Education (ACE)

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: School of Business


Why do terrorists desire chaos and anarchy? Social scientists point to different variables that surround the terrorist’s mind. Some variables include: a background of personal and emotional problems; early childhood abuse; a history of violence and destruction; and the absence of opportunities for leading a fruitful, productive and peaceful life. The terrorist mind seems to emerge from environments of conflict, chaos and even perpetual war. Is the mind of the terrorist a result of his DNA (nature)? Or is the mind created out of his environment (nurture)? This course helps students examine and evaluate the mind of a terrorist that transcends the traditional confines of Security Studies.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • Terrorism, chaos and anarchy
  • Terrorists and group characteristics
  • The mind of the terrorist
  • Terrorism, terrorists, nature and nurture
  • Evaluating the mind of the terrorist
  • Terrorist activity as a symptom of the terrorist mind

Learning Outcome

  • Construct different approaches to terrorism in terms of chaos.
  • Distinguish the terrorist mind from the anarchical one.
  • Analyse how the terrorist mindset works using concepts in security studies.
  • Propose factors responsible for the development of terrorist mindsets.
  • Arrange the main characteristics of the terrorist mindset.
  • Judge the influence of the terrorist mind in Southeast Asia.
  • Synthesize the meaning of the nature-nurture debate in terms of the terrorist mind.
  • Assess the inter-connectedness of terrorist minds since 9/11.
  • Evaluate the measures used by counterterrorists to investigate terrorist minds.
  • Differentiate the political ideology of Al-Qaeda from Jemaah Islamiyah.
  • Compare and contrast the mind of the terrorist in late modernity.
  • Critique the operationalization of the terrorist mind into political ideology.
  • Apply security studies concepts to seminar discussions.
  • Interpret work-based problems with concepts in security studies.
  • Demonstrate competence in academic writing (political science).
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