Meet our MA Cyber Crime and Terrorism Graduate, Sam

My name is Sam Williams and I have recently completed the Cyber Crime and Terrorism MA at Swansea University. I am originally from Swansea and completed my GCSEs and A Levels at Gowerton School before studying Law at Swansea University.

The Cyber Crime and Terrorism MA at Swansea was extremely enjoyable for a number of reasons. This includes the unique nature of the course. Terrorism is of growing academic interest and whilst more academic institutions are developing courses that reflect this, the MA at Swansea is relatively unique due to its focus on terrorists and their use of the Internet.

Swansea’s Cyber Threats Research Centre (CYTREC) specialises in this area, and its partnerships with non-academic organisations allowed us to listen to various external speakers. This included Erin Saltman, who manages Facebook’s counterterrorism policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It was excellent to be given an insight into the challenges of regulating online terrorist content by the people that are attempting to do so.

A head shot of Sam

The variety of topics the course covers is also what made it extremely interesting and means that the MA appeals to students from various backgrounds. For example, I am a law graduate whilst my fellow students came from backgrounds such as criminology, psychology and history. Studying various disciplines not only allows for a wide range of interesting topics but is also extremely useful in extending the range of potential future career opportunities.

The MA also provides a number of opportunities to gain professional experience. I saw this first-hand during a summer research internship with Dr Katy Vaughan which involved examining the UK’s counterterrorism law in relation to far-right terrorist groups. Many of the other lecturers involved in teaching the course offered similar opportunities which again are vital in future applications.

Since completing the MA, I have held a Research Analyst position for NextGen 5.0, a virtual think tank specialising in terrorism-related research. Subsequently, I have obtained ESRC funding to study a Criminology PhD at Cardiff University. My topic is titled ‘how misinformation in the aftermath of terror attacks has been used to influence public reactions by the UK far-right’. This will involve studying social media interactions in the aftermath of terrorist attacks to analyse how misinformation develops and is exploited by far-right adherents. Successfully obtaining the funding would not have been possible without the knowledge and experience the MA provided me and more importantly the support the various academics at Swansea were willing to provide.