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Transnational organised crime and the future of global security


Admission requirements

This course is only available to Honours students.

Maximum number of students: 20


The accelerated pace of globalisation since the 1980s not only increased global trade along with the flow of private capital and investment but also led to the creation of a global shadow economy without borders. Transnational organised crime arguably constitutes a greater threat than terrorism and has certainty resulted in more deaths through the flow of weapons, financing of violent conflict, and increasingly urban warfare. The global operations of arms traders, international criminals, and drug barons combined with the insidious corruption of state institutions and international frameworks have created unprecedented challenges for the modern state and its citizens, particularly in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The shifting security landscape of transnational organised crime has emerged as an issue of critical concern across global and regional organisations along with national governments resulting in a wide array of policy prescriptions and treaties. However, the increasing complexity of transnational organised crime and borderless security threats have outpaced the ability of international organisations, national governments, and their security forces to curb illicit trades.

In this course, outstanding honours students will study, analyse, and evaluate the impact of transnational organised crime on security in the Global South together with global and local policy responses. Using case study analysis, students will examine drug production and trafficking, proliferation of arms, and human smuggling, along with how such illicit trades interact with globalisation, regional security dynamics, and the changing nature of security in the Global South.

Students are encouraged to engage with policy and academic literature from the observed countries to gain an understanding of competing interests and fault lines in the local and global efforts to counter transnational organised crime.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students are able to:

  1. Explain and analyse core concepts and issues related to themes of ‘globalisation’ and ‘security’ in a multi-level perspective, i.e.: global, regional, and national, with a particular emphasis on the Global South.
  2. Explain and critically analyse the principal policy responses to transnational organised crime in a multi-level perspective, i.e.: global, regional, and national, with a particular emphasis on the Global South.
  3. Deploy basic case study methods to explain how and why transnational organised crime has impacted the observed countries.
  4. Combine existing knowledge from the wider programme with theoretical and practical insights in this course.
  5. Reflect on the global challenge of transnational organised in a multidisciplinary manner, i.e.: Security Studies, Political Science, Area Studies, and Criminology.


On the right side of the programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

Contact hours: 25
Self-study: 115

Assessment method

Students will be assessed on the basis of:

Assignment 1: In-class group presentation (40%)
Assignment 2: Non-assessed research paper plan
Assignment 3: Research paper (60%)

Each component should receive a sufficient grade in order for students to pass the course.

Reading list

Literature will be announced on Brightspace


Brightspace will be used in this course. Registration will be done centrally.
TGC coordinator/administration will take care of enrolment.


Teacher: Dr. Zakia Shiraz, Assistant Professor Intelligence & Security
Institute of Security and Global Affairs
Faculty of Global Governance and Global Affairs