GPM508 radicalisation

A 16 point post-graduate subject delivered by the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

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We offer this subject online, with an approximate workload of 15 – 20 hours per week.

We also offer an optional 5-day classroom-based intensive class in Canberra. The times and dates of these classes vary by session.

To find out more, please email terrorismstudies@csu.edu.au.

Radicalisation has become one of the most debated concepts in contemporary security. As a concept, as a process, and as an idea, radicalisation theory has shaped and informed how we understand the terrorist evolution to violence. Deradicalisation and disengagement follow as initiatives which attempt to counter or prevent violent extremism. In this subject, you will explore the theoretical basis for radicalisation and deradicalisation in the framework of contemporary terrorism. You will explore attack and targeting logic, strategies and counter narratives, suicide bombing and female terrorists. You will also investigate the impact of technological advances, including CBRN threats and social media, in order to understand why terrorists do what they do, and how it might be prevented.


Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge of radicalisation in subnational terrorist movements and groups, with reference to concepts, theories, and principles, to provide strategic insight
  • be able to apply deradicalisation and disengagement knowledge effectively, with reference to recent developments, in order to evaluate counteraction approaches
  • be able to critically analyse radicalisation and deradicalisation to assess the validity of recent developments, and provide insight on terrorist disengagement
  • be able to develop research methods and methodologies which provide insight on counter action approaches
  • be able to develop knowledge leadership through professional and objective contributions to ongoing debate, in order to influence change and practice
  • be able to evaluate deradicalisation and disengagement approaches, within the scope of professional and ethical practice

Indicative assessment

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • Key insights and Takeaways - 10%
  • Theoretical analysis - 30%
  • Radicalisation Evaluation – 60%


The set text for this course is:

Horgan, J. (2014). The Psychology of Terrorism, 2nd Ed. London: Routledge.
McCauley, C., & Moskalenko, S. (2011). Friction: How Conflict Radicalizes Them and Us, Revised and Expanded Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Note that all of these texts offer something different and come at the subject from a different perspective, but all are by well-regarded experts in their field. Various chapters from these texts will readings within the subject, and will subsequently be made available electronically.

reading list extract

  • McCauley, C. & Moskalenko, S. (2008). ‘Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways towards Terrorism’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 20(3), 415–33.
  • Kruglanski, , A.W. & Orehek, E. (2011). ‘The
    Role of the Quest for Personal Significance in Motivating Terrorism’, in Forgas, J.P., Kruglanski, A.W. & Williams, K.D. (eds.) The Psychology of Social Conflict and Aggression, Psychology Press, pp. 153-164.
  • Crenshaw, M. (1981). ‘The Causes of Terrorism’, in Horgan, J. & Braddock, K. (eds.) Terrorism Studies: A Reader, Routledge, pp. 99-114.
  • Stern, J. & Berger, J.M. (2015). ‘Jihad Goes
    Social’ & ‘The Electronic Brigades,’ in ISIS:
    The State of Terror, William Collins, pp. 127-177.

subject availability

academic year 2023

Online MODE