The TRSS Program

Study Online

The TRSS Professional Master’s Program is a unique and flexible cohort-based professional program delivered completely online. Seminars, class discussions, and individual meetings are conducted via secure video conferencing. Should a student, for operational reasons, be unable to attend a lesson, the lessons are recorded and a link will be sent to the student in order for view the missed lesson.

SFU's learning management system provides a dynamic, user-friendly interface for students to access seminars, lessons, readings, assignments, examinations, grades, as well as instructor and peer feedback.

In consideration of the professional responsibilities of the students enrolled, TRSS allows students to take a manageable course load. As a rough guide, students should expect to commit (on average) about seven hours a week, that includes weekly pre-module reading (2-3 hours), weekly module attendance (3 hours), and course written work including final term paper (about 13 hours within the 13-week class).

Course Offerings

Typically, a new TRSS cohort will begin each January, and attend courses in line with the SFU’s annual tri-semester system (January, May, and September).

The TRSS Program requires the completion of twenty-four (24) credits of coursework and a six (6) credit project. Final projects are conducted after consultation with, and under the supervision of, a faculty member.

The following courses will comprise the coursework and project requirement for the program:

CRIM 710 - Current Issues in Terrorism (3)

The dynamic nature of terrorism creates multiple issues around understanding the threat environment, the perpetrators, causes, and solutions. As an advanced introduction to contemporary terrorism, specific emphasis will be placed on understanding: the specific threat environment (e.g. right wing terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism); emergent issues (e.g. homegrown terrorism, foreign fighters, lone wolves, women in terrorism); particularly salient issues (e.g. cyberterrorism); the dynamics of terrorism (radicalization, social media, social networks). These issues are all addressed in the context how they relate to, and can inform, methods of preventing and responding to terrorism. Themes and specific topics will be updated every year to reflect the dynamic nature of contemporary terrorism.

CRIM 711 - Radicalization and Recruitment to Terrorism (3)

Among the most important questions for terrorism studies are “Why and how do individuals become involved in terrorism?” The mechanisms of radicalization and recruitment are varied and diverse, and may be influenced by the interplay of psychology, social psychology, group dynamics, and broader cultural contexts. This course will provide an introduction to the wide variety of perspectives. Regardless of the specific motivational dynamics, contemporary theorizing conceptualizes radicalization as a process. This course will review these approaches. Finally, this course will examine the policy implications of the various approaches to radicalization. How can what we know about radicalization be used to arrest or reverse the process?

CRIM 720 - Fundamentals of Security Risk Management (3)

This course introduces students to the basics of risk management, which includes both risk assessment and risk treatment. Risk management will be approached from a broad perspective, and terrorism will be considered as one possible context for the application of risk management principles. Students will gain an appreciation of a wide variety of risk assessment methodologies, and learn how to evaluate these methodologies in varying contexts. This course will also highlight other important aspects of the risk management process, including understanding organizational risk culture, risk communications, risk monitoring, and reporting to governance.

CRIM 721 - Psychological Assessment of Risk for Terrorism and Group-Based Violence (3)

Reviews psychological theory, research, and practice as it relates to assessment of risk for terrorism and other forms of group-based violence. The overarching goal is to help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct evidence-based assessments of group-based violence, as well as to critically evaluate, interpret, and act on assessments conducted by others.

CRIM 730 - Terrorism and Civil Liberties: Canadian, Comparative and International Perspectives (3)

This course addresses the tensions between individual rights and national security. It attempts to address how democracies attempt to balance civil liberties against concerns raised by global terrorism. Various legal responses to terrorism are analyzed in the domestic, comparative and international contexts.

TRSS 731 - Policy Making and Decision Analysis in Counter-Terrorism and Security Studies (3)

Decisions involve trade-offs among optimal rationality, legal and political acceptability, and managerial and operational feasibility. The incomplete, ambiguous, and at times contradictory nature of information forms a growing challenge given the often fluid developments of threats in this policy area. The values and interests at stake for the decision maker constitute a second layer of challenge as threats blend between domestic and international and values compete among security and democratic liberty. The cognitive, small-group, and diverse organizational environments that manage these layers of challenge are themselves subject to bias and competition and may add potential distortions at both the policy and implementation levels. Impediments to optimal decision making include insufficient range of alternatives considered, false consensus, selection bias, rigid option selection, outdated standard operation procedures, conflation of parochial and policy goals, analogical reasoning, wishful thinking, bureaucratic rivalry, and low-probed choice.

TRSS 740 - Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods and Statistical Modeling (3)

This is an introductory course designed to familiarize students with the fundamentals of quantitative analysis. Students will become familiar with the basic quantitative approaches that are used in social science research, with an emphasis on analysis and interpretation. Students will hand-in assignments based on a dataset that will be supplied by the professor. In this course, students will be expected to apply a variety of analytic techniques. Lab periods will be devoted primarily to learning to code, analyze, interpret and represent data using SPSS.

CRIM 742 - Cybersecurity (3)

The cyber domain is a new environment where we see both security threats and terrorist activities taking place. Indeed, addressing these threats through the lens cyber security will be of utmost importance. This course will introduce students to online communities of extremists and hackers, on both web-forums and social media, where threats/attacks against Canada, Canadians, and critical infrastructure are discussed. This course will also introduce methods for analyzing data from online communities, in particular text data and social network data. This course is for social science students and as such does not require a background in computing science.

TRSS 798 - MA Project (Research Report) (6)

Taken during the final semester of study, the Master’s Project (Research Report) is required for graduation. The PRP is an extended essay conducted under the auspices of a cohort supervisor. Students are expected to conduct a comprehensive and critical review of pertinent literature. The Project is reviewed by two readers, who will provide feedback as well as a final grade. Prerequisite: Successful completion of 24 credit hours in TRSS program.

Advisory Board

An important aspect of the TRSS Program is its Advisory Board, which is comprised of representatives from Canadian intelligence, police, and security services. The Advisory Board ensures that current issues are being addressed and that course content – and the program as a whole – remains relevant to the needs of industry professionals.