Master's Thesis in System Dynamics

Study facts

Course codeGEO-SD350
ECTS credits60
Teaching semesterSpring, Autumn
Number of semesters2
Teaching language
English
Study levelPostgraduate Courses
Resources
Belongs toDepartment of Geography

Contact

Contact Information

Department of Geography

studieveileder@geog.uib.no

http://www.uib.no/rg/dynamics

Objectives and Content

To practice and develop the skills necessary to do good system dynamics work, as well as developing skills to manage and carry out a research project.

The student should carry out independent research and present it in the form of a written thesis. It is preferable that the student chooses a theme linked to the areas of research in the system dynamics group.

Learning Outcomes

Express knowledge and understanding

If the thesis that the candidates undertake addresses application of system dynamics, then the candidate to should be able to; (1) document their insights into model based problem formulation and policy analysis by way of hypothesis formulation and testing; (2) summarize the inherent challenges in understanding the dynamics of the social system they study; (3) explain the applicability of the system dynamics paradigm and to the study they undertake; (4) explain in stock/flow/feedback terms how the fundamental structures of the system under study produce its behaviours; (5) interpret behaviours emerging from these fundamental structures, with emphasis on the role of delays, nonlinearities, and feedback; (6) describe in detail how the system dynamics modelling process, from problem definition to policy design has been applied in the context of this study; (7) demonstrate proficiency with the equation, simulation, and presentation tools of at the system dynamics software package applied; (8) recognize the political, organizational, and cultural influences on the implementation of policies recommended.

If the thesis work that the candidates undertake addresses the theory, methods, techniques or tools of system dynamics for the purpose of improvements, then the candidate to should be able to; (1) document their insights into model building and analysis; (2) summarize the inherent challenges in understanding the dynamics of the social system they study; (3) explain the applicability of the methods, techniques and tools under investigation; (4) explain the need for improvements in existing methods, techniques or tools and for new ones; (5) explain the process behind the development of such methods, techniques and tools; (6) document and explain their effectiveness and efficiency.

Apply knowledge and understanding

If the thesis that the candidates undertake addresses application of system dynamics, then the candidate to should be able to; (1) transfer and adapt knowledge models across domains and disciplines; (2) translate a stock-and-flow model into a causal loop diagram, and explain; (3) translate a narrative theory as well as empirical evidence of a dynamic process involving delays and feedback into causal loop and stock-and-flow representations of that theory, and explain; (4) define the dynamics of a problem at hand; (5) formulate hypotheses (in words, diagrams, and a set of model equations) as tentative explanations of problematic dynamic behaviour; (6) analyse the structure of the models developed to discover the endogenous source of particular dynamic patterns; (7) analyse and test models developed to improve their reliability and usefulness; (8) test the sensitivity of models to parameter assumptions; (9) identify and evaluate potential leverage points for improving model behaviour through policy parameter analysis; (10) conduct policy design and evaluation with modifications in the structure of the models developed; (11) develop and analyze a simulation models that provides a useful explanation of the behaviour identified as problematic; (12) estimate cost and effectiveness of policy options identified, including feasibility assessments; (13) potentially design interactive learning environments to facilitate communication of policy insights and implementation requirements; (14) potentially design, conduct, analyse, and report results from laboratory experiments; and (15) potentially apply national planning models to socioeconomic problem.

If the thesis work that the candidates undertake addresses the theory, methods, techniques or tools of system dynamics for the purpose of improvements, then the candidate to should be able to; (1) apply their insights into model building and analysis; (2) identify the inherent challenges in understanding the dynamics of the social system they study; (3) investigate the applicability of the methods, techniques and tools under investigation and identify their shortfalls; (4) identify and specify the need for improvements in existing methods, techniques or tools and the need for new ones; (5) develop such methods, techniques and tools; (6) measure and demonstrate their effectiveness and efficiency.

Make judgments

If the thesis that the candidates undertake addresses application of system dynamics, then the candidate to should be able to; (1) to compare the benefits and limitations of simple analogies; (2) adopt a client´s perspective to assess the definition of the problem at hand, the boundary of a model, and the model´s reliability and usefulness; (3) establish and evaluate criteria for assessing how well a model structure contributes to the explanation of dynamic behaviour under investigation; (4) assess data requirements in light of a model´s sensitivity to parameter estimates; (5) assess whether the identified policy options are cost-effective and feasible in reality; (6) evaluate policy implementation obstacles and modify expected benefits accordingly; (7) potentially evaluate the impact of an interactive learning environment as a tool for communicating policy insights and implementation requirements; (8) potentially evaluate the results of experiments in terms of both internal and external validity; and (9) take ethical considerations into account when conducting research and developing models, and when interacting with clients, stakeholders, and colleagues.

If the thesis work that the candidates undertake addresses the theory, methods, techniques or tools of system dynamics for the purpose of improvements, then the candidate to should be able to; (1) compare the application of methods, techniques and tools; (2) assess the nature of the challenges in applying various methods, techniques and tools; (3) evaluate improvements in existing methods, techniques and tools or new ones developed, particularly their effectiveness and efficiency.

Communicate

Candidates should be able to (1) ask and answer questions and engage in discussion and debate in a presentation / demonstration setting; (2a) organize a written discussion of a modelling project in a way that highlights the research problem or question, the hypothesis, the method of analyzing and testing the hypothesis, and the policy implications of the investigation; (2b) organize a written discussion of a method, technique or tool for model development and analysis in a way that highlights the research problem or question, identifies its solutions an demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed solution; (3) make oral presentations of their work; (4) design and present models in a way that facilitates communication and understanding; and (5) translate technical information into language that clients understand.

Develop learning skills

Candidates should be able to (1) conduct research and engage in other projects with a high degree of independence, responsibility, and reliability; (2) function as a constructive member of a team; (3) access and interpret relevant scientific and policy literature; and (4) write and speak effectively about their work and relevant issues.

Required Previous Knowledge

An average result of C or better after the completion of all mandatory coursework at the end of the first year.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEO-SD302, GEO-SD303, GEO-SD304, GEO-SD308, GEO-SD306 and GEO-SD321

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Personal guidance from advisor, seminars

Forms of Assessment

Master thesis and presentation

Forms of Assessment

Master thesis