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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice by Universiteit Leiden

3,099 ratings

About the Course

Delve into the research behind terrorism as you unpack the assumptions and impacts of both terrorism and counterterrorism. Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private businesses, and ordinary citizens. In many parts of the world, it has been one of the most important threats to peace, security, and stability – but what does this mean exactly? On this six-week course from Leiden University, you’ll explore the essence of terrorism and discover why it is so difficult to define. Unpacking its history and the theory of the waves of terrorism, you’ll analyse both the theoretical approaches and practical applications of terrorism and counterterrorism in the real world. There are many assumptions that cloud the subjects of terrorism and counterterrorism. These myths are often created and intensified by individual bias, the government, and the media. On this course, you’ll discover different assumptions about terrorist identities and motivations, as well as the efficiencies of various counterterrorism efforts. You’ll then compare this with academic research to investigate the truth behind these assumptions. In your exploration of the impact of terrorism, you’ll delve into the culture of fear created by terrorism, as well as the success of counterterrorism policies to limit and manage its impact on society. In the final stage of this course, you’ll reflect on trends and developments in terrorism and counterterrorism. You’ll assess current academic research as well as what could be studied in the future to help....

Top reviews


Aug 28, 2021

Not all the reading materials are opening. The course content is old . There is a need for new and latest issues to be included in the course. There is also a need for advance level of another course.


Feb 24, 2021

Among the most informative courses i have taken, the material and videos provided are so detailed and specific to this field. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest matters terrorism.

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51 - 75 of 731 Reviews for Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice

By Scott S S S

Jan 5, 2016

I am enjoying this course very much, it is informative and very well organized and presented. I highly recommend it to anyone with an internet in the topic as it provides an excellent overview and includes current academic and non academic (mass media, world leaders. etc). perspectives. The video lectures are exciting and I look forward to the time I spend viewing them, the core readings are relevant and there are good suggestions for those wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the material. Dr Edwin Bakker the professor for this course is an excellent educator.

By Ruben D

Mar 13, 2017

Excelente curso. Creo que es una muy buena manera de aprender sobre uno de los temas más importantes en las agendas políticas del mundo. Lecciones que se caracterizan por su claridad y concisión, y que brindan la posibilidad de acceder a una amplia bibliografía sobre terrorismo y contraterrorismo. En mi opinión, es un curso que debería ser tomado por todos aquellos que trabajan en relación con los medios de comunicación, ya que ayuda a conocer mejor este fenómeno y dejar de lado muchos mitos que distorsionan la visión que las sociedades tienen del mismo.

By Débora B e S

Oct 21, 2017

The course "Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice" provides important subsidies for those who would like to better understand these phenomena, with a strong theoretical background and excellent didactics. I was interested in the course because I am finishing my degree in International Relations and my monograph required me to understand better about it.

I can say that this goal has been achieved. I read the articles suggested by Professor Bakker and attest to the great quality of the course.

Thank you and until next time!

By Leandro D M

Apr 27, 2024

Exclente enseñanza y especialización con actualizaciones científicas teóricas y prácticas con la realidad y evidenci referenciada y histórica de posiciónes intelectuales en nível de comprensiones y significados globales del enfoque, objetivos y contenidos de la materia y sus interrelaciones internacionales actuales y futuras del trabajo aplicado y motivador en ciencia politica, guerras , conflictos, sociedad, gobernanza y ciencia de la inteligencia moderna y intermultidisciplaridad academica en investigación y acción CT y apoyo mundial. Gracias

By Anthony R

Feb 12, 2023

The course is very helpful and enlightening on the different trends, challenges and studies on terrorism and counterterrorism. Highly recommended for other Terrorism-related researchers and Counterterrorism practitioners. Most of my learning objectives in taking this course were achieved, especially in providing me significant insights and analysis on possible research topics on security studies. Moreso, I truly appreciate the kind gesture of the Leiden University for granting my financial aid request in taking this great course.

By Anfisa R

Mar 22, 2017

The course is extremely well organized. Theoretical part is presented in a comprehensible way. Mainstream views, their flaws and possible solutions are given, the author always mentions counteragruments and does not try to impose his personal thoughts. Individual tasks allow to get deeper into the studied cases. I also admire external invited partisipants of the lectures, as it provides more diverse perspectives. And last, but not least, it`s great that the course evolves with current agenda.

Thank You for this wonderful work!

By sagnik g

Sep 8, 2015

An extremely informative and well designed course, I had a wonderful experience learning from Prof. dr. Bakker, his team and colleagues and all the guest scholars who gave their valuable time to this course. I think this curse is a shining example of the wonderful novelty of coursera in providing quality education to people literally across the globe!

It's been a pleasure doing this course and I recommend it to all my friends interested in this field and look forward to working on many other courses in the future!

By Greg Y

Feb 29, 2016

I found this course to be very interesting. In the US you hear many things from our politicians and media but very little of it has to do with actual numbers and statistics. Now understandably some of those numbers have changed since this course was put together but I think the general idea that terrorism is a constantly evolving entity was presented well. Although I had several distractions tugging at me during this course the information presented has motivated me to continue my study in this area. Thank you.

By Anatolii S

May 14, 2017

Dear sirs and madams! Thank you very much for this interesting and useful course. It contains a lot of information and reading materials which help to get deeper understanding of phenomenon of terrorism. It helps to aproach to different acts of violence from different perspectives. Also for for those course participant whoes country is ivolved in some armed conflict it helps to get deeper and more attantive aproach to classification of people being involved in conflict and deal respectively with them.

By Alan M D

Nov 23, 2020

Really enjoyed the course and the concepts covered. The amount of reading was daunting but very helpful overall to understand what was being taught. Professor Bakker was excellent and I enjoyed his insights along with Professor Schmid and all the other interviewees. Thank you for all the rok on the course/ The extra week on foreign fighters was a great call and very much needed. Perhaps some of the other earlier material can be updated more to 2020/21. Thank you and all the contributors again.

By Malik S

Nov 13, 2021

It is an excellent course that provides a basic understanding of terrorism and counterterrorism studies. The teaching method of the teacher is also convincing and illuminate about many theories. if someone wants to understand the phenomenon of terrorism, he/she must take this course. This course has also removed my confusion about theories of terrorism and counterterrorism. I would like to request Dr. Edwin Bakker and his team to introduce a more advanced-level course on the issue.


By Dr. N F (

Feb 11, 2018

You MUST take this course, if:

If you want to know the Academic approach of the modern counterterrorism

If you need to have a concentrated knowledge about the historical facts

If you want to know about the best bibliography and know about modern scholars

if you are working in counterterrorism


or if you are curious to know what is terrorism according to scientists and experts.

I recommend this course.

My congratulations to Professor Edwin Bakker and to his team for this excellent work.

By vannie c

Oct 15, 2016

When i started this course i did not know what to expect but as i progress i became very impress with the materials provided and the dept of information available on the subject. Terrorism has now moved from an item on the news to me to an intimate subject worth exploring further. I became intimately connected with this subject and vowed to continue exploring the phenomenon deeper. Thank you very much for the wealth of knowledge presented.

Vannie Curwen

By Wemerson B R

Jun 14, 2021

Excellent course, very interesting and dynamic. It makes us dive into the complex world of terrorism, its evolution and current reality. Efficient in providing explanations and showing us how theory and practice work, in connection with the future of terrorism and its fight. As a master in Criminology, student and admirer of the Dutch language, I have already bought my book Elementaire Deeltjes 20 - Terrorisme, and I am grateful for the teachings.

By Alessandra V

Oct 9, 2015

I really like the professor, all the material given, and of course the topic. It's a very interesting course and I love that the professor provides names of important authors in the field, books, films and also schools specialized in studies on terrorism and counterterrorism. I started considering counterterrorism as a career path after my Law degree, we will see how the course will go, but so far (week threem, about to start week four) so good!

By Zenathnara N

Aug 27, 2023

The materials given were of high quality. A good attempt at covering aspects of terrorism and counter-terrorism from various angles, especially towards the end, with many experts interviews that really shows the work done in this field. Common views of terrorism were put to the test and were rebutted with empirical data. I just hope the course does not get longer than it already is! The assessment were tough! Be prepared for rote memorisation.

By Mavy S

Feb 8, 2021

I appreciated the scientific value of the materials, the accuracy of the video lessons and mostly the opportunity to discuss the topics with peers from all around the world. This truly gave me new insights and helped me widening my perspectives! Also the mutual evaluation is considered a plus. The main perk remains the course's flexibility and the possibility to take the classes at your convenience or reschedule the exam's date wether needed!

By Carla d M A

Jan 7, 2017

I liked very much the course and I would like to get enrolled in others courses related. It helped me a lot to much better develop my work of inter-faith's dialogue and i think important my institution to include the theme of counterterrorism and foreign fighters at our magazine as prevention to avoid conflicts and wrong decision by youngers. As christian, to better understand the muslim and islam world to promote peace is fundamental.

By Mouktar B

Sep 16, 2016

J'ai vraiment adoré cette formation. Ce cours m'a permis d'apprendre beaucoup des choses et m'a permis de mieux comprendre les dessous des conflits et les motivations des Groupes terroristes dans le monde. Vraiment un magnifique contenu!!!!. je remercie beaucoup les responsables de ce cours bien élaboré. Et J'ai hâte de suivre une autre formation sur ce sujet si passionnant qu'est le terrorisme. Merci encore.


Jan 5, 2018

This was my first course on Coursera. After completing the START course from the University of Maryland, I can say with confidence that this course is a much deeper look at the concepts of terrorism and counter-terrorism (vs analysis of data and statics from the GTD). The exams were harder but the level of understanding is also deeper than the START course. Also, Dr. Bakker is very engaging and interesting.

By Antonio

Nov 21, 2018

Very good Introductory course to get familiar with the academic research and main authors towards Terrorism and Counterterrorism. The course is well organized and the content is very punctual and was well selected and prepared. I recommend it for students of International Relations, Political Science, Public Policy and Governance, Law and most related in Social Sciences but not limited only to them.

By Rodrigo S M M

Jan 17, 2020

This course was perfect; I took so long to finish it, because as it happens with a good book, I feared turning the last page and never seeing it again. This course has been as close as I have been to coming into contact with the incredibly enticing and perennial issue of international security and I cannot thank Coursera and the University of Leiden enough for this wonderful opportunity.

Thank you.

By Francisco J G M

Feb 26, 2017

An extraordinary course !! with key foundations, historical and current information on the subject, masterfully explained by Mr. Edwin Bakker.

A course full of relevant and valuable information to understand the phenomena and changes that are occurring in our world.

A course that we should all take to know the role we play in this world so changing and so scourged by wars and misunderstandings.

By Halil A

Nov 14, 2016

It's good see an excellent teacher who shows us to look at the terrorism not via his perspective but wants us to use our own. Techniques he is using is also nice and not boring. As a student, i would take this course(and Edwin Bakker if could be possible) if this could be a lesson in my university. I have learned many things and he aroused my interest about the terrorism subject more than ever.

By Paulo J R V

Feb 22, 2017

Fantastic MOOC! This course is great for the ones who want to learn more about Terrorism studies and Terrorism History. It's not a easy one, if you are commited to read all the sugested readings, However it does give you a solid backgorund in this area of study, and it's a nice beggining for the ones, like me, that intend to continue to study Terrorism & Counterterrorism at a University level.