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UCL’s flagship counter-terrorism course trains serving officers from around the world

University College London’s Department of Security and Crime Science is home to some of the UK’s premier courses in crime and security including the MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism Crime, the MSc in Crime and Forensic Science, and the MSc in Policing. The MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism Crime has been particularly relevant over the past few years and this is reflected in its enduring popularity and the calibre of students enrolling on the programme each year.

Dr Noemie Bouhana, director of the programme and a world-respected academic whose work centres on preventing and mitigating extremism and radicalisation, explains what makes the course so distinct: “This course aims to train a new generation of people who are able to draw upon scientific knowledge across a range of disciplines to tackle terrorism and organised crime. Our students learn how to turn an intractable problem into an answerable question, and how to choose the best approach to answer it. The course is unique in paying equal attention to fundamental questions, such as the causes of terrorism and organised crime, and to applied concerns, such as how do we use this knowledge to prevent these crimes on the ground. That emphasis on problem-solving explains why the MSc is the first of its kind to be hosted in an engineering faculty. It also explains why the course suits equally students with no prior background in security as well as practitioners with several years of experience.”  

Swee Sake Lee, Assistant Superintendent of Police in the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) says of the course “I chose this course based on the worldwide reputation of UCL and the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science (JDI). I have been privileged to learn from world-renowned authorities on crime science such as Prof Shane Johnson, Prof Richard Wortley, Prof Nick Tilley, Prof Kate Bowers, and many more at UCL. The JDI provides a truly international learning environment where I formed good friendships with course colleagues hailing from various parts of the world. I have resumed my service at the RMP after completing this course. Hopefully, I can contribute my experience and knowledge gained at UCL towards countering organised crime and terrorism threats in Malaysia.”

By the end of the programme, graduates can set out or progress along various career paths, such as research, crime analysis, policy-making, private security industry and of course public sector careers in policing, law enforcement, defence and the security agencies.

Students have the opportunity to specialise by way of their dissertations, which are often work-related. For example on the MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism recent projects included: “Investigating Human Trafficking in the Off-Street Sex Industry in Bristol”; “Assessing the Strategic Efficiency of Leadership Decapitation in Countering Terrorism” and “Paedophile Use of Online Forums on the Hidden Internet.” On the MSc in Crime and Forensic Science, last year’s projects included “Persistence of DNA from bodily fluids within the context of internal child sex trafficking investigations” and “Can Forensic Transferable Markers be used to track criminal contacts via secondary transfer?”

The Department of Security and Crime Science is the teaching arm of the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science (the JDI). Our courses attract a strong mix of serving police officers as well as first time students, and this has been a key reason for their outstanding success.  In the last Research Excellence Framework exercise (REF 2014) 100% of research submissions by the department were considered world-leading in terms of impact, placing the department 1st out of 62 institutions in the unit of assessment. The department is based at University College London, regularly ranked in the top ten universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings.


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