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HSEC 690
Countering Violent Extremism

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Course Title: Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism 

San Diego State University Graduate Program in Homeland Security 

Semester: Spring 2024

Class Day/Time: Thursdays 4:00 pm to 6:40 pm

Class Location: TBA


Professor: Nathanael Hicks


Office Hours: by appointment



The focus of this course is violent extremist group ideologies, their origin, their evolution, and their current forms. Students will study, develop, and apply essential critical thinking skills to deconstruct violent extremist doctrines. We will employ these skills to analyze a spectrum of methods used by those seeking to radicalize persons or a group of persons. Students will individually and collectively develop a working definition of extremism and discern how state authorities, extremist associations, and ethnic and religious organizations practice emotional exploitation to forge a narrative through propaganda and rhetoric. Students will learn from guest speakers presently combatting violent extremists who will present real-world perspectives and experiences.

Learning Outcomes: 

• Critical thinking skills
• 24 Logical Fallacies and 25 Cognitive Biases 
• Identifying these fallacies and biases in violent extremism 
• Historical context for today’s violent extremist ideologies
• Understanding of political spectrum
• Discuss today’s relevant violent extremist groups
• Case studies for violent extremist attacks
• Learn from guest speakers with real-world knowledge and experience identifying and confronting violent extremists.