The Footnotes

GOVERNMENT & DEFENCE

Is a degree in counter terrorism worth it?

A round table discussion with a criminology student, a counter terrorism graduate and an intelligence agent.

Welcome, to another Footnotes Round Table Discussion.

Hey Footnotes,

I got offer letters from two different universities.

1) Bachelor of Social Science With a Major in Security and Counter Terrorism @ Swinburne University

2) Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Security, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies @ Murdoch University.

Can you help me choose between these two online courses/universities?

Which one is better?

Want your question answered? Click here to submit

For this round table discussion we called in:

  • Expert one: Counter Terrorism Undergraduate (CT Grad)
  • Expert two: Data analyst at a Counter Terrorism Agency (Agent Boy 82)
  • Expert three: Criminology Student (Still Studying)

The Footnotes:

Who wants to go first?

Agent Boy 91:

Firstly, I’d be hesitant to specialise in something so niche.

I can’t think of any agency that would employ you on the basis of doing an online course in counter terrorism. You need to have practical experience (along with squeaky clean background) to land these roles.

If you are interested in counter terrorism you would do much better to run through some feeder job, like at a State or Federal police role or a Government agency. You probably won’t get into a (relevant) Government agency doing an online course though.

Still Studying:

You might not like my advice, because it probably isn’t what you want to hear but I completely agree with Agent Boy 91. What I have (sadly) realised is that niche “degrees” are to make the institutions money, not to get you a job.

I am currently majoring my Arts degree in Criminology and I consider it to be too niche in terms of employment outcomes after graduation.

Agent Boy 91:

Yeah, criminology is one of those degrees that sounds ‘cool’ but has little real world application.

The Footnotes:

Besides what you think the ‘value’ of this degree is; can anyone help him choose between these two courses/universities?

Terror Grad:

Just to give my two cents, perhaps you’ve already thought about this, but I’m really intrigued as to what you actually want to achieve with this degree? As in, what job would you like with what agency?

I have a ‘Counter Terrorism’ degree and it has done nothing for me career wise even with an extensive military and law enforcement background.

Please don’t go into it thinking it will open up doors left and right, I did and I was bitterly disappointed.  My personal reccomendation would be to study something that qualifies you professionally, and highlights the real skills applicable to an agency, in retrospect I wish I had.

Agencies are after people with skills in data, language, technology and science.

But, in answer to your question, Murdoch has a better reputation in the field than Swinburne (but that is just my opinion). I can’t comment on which university is better to study with online though, and that is the most important element to your question.

The Footnotes:

Not what you expected? Want to know how to get a job at an agency?

We’ve done the research, find out here.

Disclosure: It’s important to remember these are just opinions of the panel, and that this article’s advice shouldn’t be used in isolation when making your decision about studying Counter Terrorism. Remember, opinions are limited to a person’s own experience. 

Is a degree in counter terrorism worth it?
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