A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Through curricular and experiential learning, START educates, mentors and trains the next generation of national security scholars and practitioners.

Summer/Winter Courses

Summer/Winter Courses

START offers fully online summer and winter courses each year which are open to any current degree seeking student or non-degree seeking individual. Current University of Maryland students may register through Testudo. Non-University of Maryland Students must apply as visiting students. 

To Apply as a Visiting Student

Undergraduate Online Application (processed within 48 hours)

Graduate Paper Application (processed within seven business days of receipt)

Tuition & Fees



Current Course Offerings


  • Terrorist Financing Analysis and Counterterrorist Finance (BSST370/BSST338Z) Analytical Reasoning

This course provides an introduction to terrorists’ financial activities and counterterrorism finance and sanctions policy. The course examines how terrorist groups finance their operations and also emphasizes current policy approaches designed to curb terrorist financing through the application of U.S. and international sanctions.

Students will explore how multilateral forces, such as the United Nations and Financial Action Task Force counter terrorist finance. At the completion of the course, students will have a better understanding of the key tools, including law enforcement, diplomatic, or intelligence that are deployed to disrupt and deter terrorist finance.

Formerly listed as “From Dollars to Designations: Terrorist Finance and the Methods Deployed To Counter Terrorist Finance”. Credit will be granted only for one iteration of this course. This course will be taught during the full summer term (May 31-August 19) in person, in College Park. There may be an online version as an option for non-College Park located students this summer. Please contact education@start.umd.edu for information about distance learning options.

  • Understanding the Principles and Perils of CBRN Weapons  (BSST242) Natural Science Lab

This 4-credit, General Education Lab Science course, co-taught by Dr. Gary Ackerman and Dr. Cory Davenport, and Steven Sin, dives into the science and science policy behind the threat and use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. Through the exploration of the scientific method and fundamental principles of the hard sciences, students will bring together multiple scientific fields into one classroom. By the end of the course, students will be able to test hypotheses, use basic statistics, interpret results and apply their new knowledge through discussions of practical applications in the domains of public health, emergency management, epidemiology, and threat assessment. This course will meet in person, in College Park, during the Summer I term.

  • The Novel and Countering Violent Extremism (BSST338N)

This course dives into themes of moderation and Countering Violent Extremism found in modern fiction from the Islamic world, with Dr. Jennifer Bryson as an expert guide. This course will meet, completely online, during the Summer I term.  

  • Terrorist Hostage Taking (BSST372/BSST338A): Scholarship in Practice

This course will be taught completely online during the Summer II term by Dr. Margaret Wilson, of the Imperial College London. This course will examine different forms of hostage taking and consider approaches to studying behavior, along with the problems inherent in such research. Weekly topics will include issues such as scripts and patterned behavior, victim resistance, what the Stockholm syndrome might really mean. This course explores the tactical choices of terrorist groups, the responses of the other players and how the combinations might impact the end results.

  • Experiential Learning in Terrorism Studies (BSST386)

Students interested in earning academic credit for interning at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) can now do so through the Terrorism Studies program at the University of Maryland. Starting this summer, undergraduates from UMD and other institutions can enroll in BSST386 to earn from 1-5 experiential learning credits for interning with START.

Please contact Elizabeth Wasden for questions about the course enrollment and earning credit for your internship with START (education@start.umd.edu) or Marcella Morris for questions regarding the internship program (internships@start.umd.edu).


Topical Three-Credit Course:

  • The Rise of the Islamic State (ISIL)

The quick rise of the terrorist group self-described as the Islamic State, also known as the ISIL has surprised policymakers and foreign policymakers worldwide. This course provides a comprehensive look at the Islamic State and will discuss key concepts and terms in Islamic history in an effort to establish an understanding of Islamic jurisprudence, meaning of a caliphate, the five pillars of Islam and Shar’ia law. The course will trace the history of the Islamic State’s rise and will examine the leadership figures/personalities behind the group and look in depth at ISIL’s connection to and divorce from al-Qa’ida. Students will examine how the group finances its operations as well as the rise of its affiliates. Students will also explore the group’s use of foreign fighters and social media to further its agenda and explore the U.S. and global responses to counter the Islamic State. At the completion of this course, students will have an in depth understanding of the Islamic State and a better understanding of the key tools, including law enforcement, diplomatic, or intelligence, that are deployed to counter the group.

Skills Based One-Credit Courses:

  • Geospatial Analysis for Terrorism (BSST399F)

Are you interested in learning more about GIS, and how it can be applied to terrorism studies? In this one-credit Winter 2015 course, students will be introduced to Geospatial Information Systems and the technology’s specific applications to terrorism studies. No previous experience with GIS or terrorism data is necessary. Students will leave the course with a firm grasp of GIS technologies and the ways in which they may implemented in terrorism studies.

  • Social Network Analysis for Terrorism (BSST399N)

Have you heard of Social Network Analysis (SNA)? Are you interested in learning more about this emerging technique and how it can be utilized to study terrorism? The concept of “network” has become central to many discussions of terrorism and political violence research. However, use of the term is rarely backed with theoretical and empirical analysis of actual networks. This one-credit course will instruct students in the basics of social network analysis and how to apply SNA methods in the field of terrorism studies. Specifically, this course will:

1.    Explore the theoretical underpinnings of the network-related concepts;

2.    Review existing terrorism and political violence research utilizing SNA in order to understand its research applications;

3.    Introduce the basic methods needed to collect and analyze network data;

4.    Practice the process of initiating and completing a network analysis using a terrorism network data set; and

5.    Instruct students on ways to use SNA as a research technique in their own terrorism and political violence research

  • Criminal Behavior Profiling (BSST399P)

What do terrorism, cybercrime and violent/financial crimes all have in common? They are all perpetrated by people or groups of people who have unique motivations, intentions, allegiances, ideologies, and psychological make ups. But how can the characteristics of a crime indicate characteristics of the perpetrator(s)? Criminal profiling has been in use for decades and has evolved over time. This individual study will give you an understanding of the premise of criminal profiling methodologies, how and when it can be useful, ethical boundaries, and how social science research supports those methods.