Joint European Master's Programme in System Dynamics (EMSD)

Providing students with the opportunity to solve real world problems, while studying abroad and broadening their horizons.
  • TuitionFee
  • Years2 Years
  • Grade requirementsMinimum C
  • LanguageEnglish
  • ECTS120
  • StartAutumn

Main content

The Joint European Master's Programme in System Dynamics (EMSD) is offered by Radboud University in the Netherlands, the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, the University of Palermo in Italy, and the University of Bergen. 

System dynamics studies how and why things change over time:

  • In a complex and developing world, which theories, methods and tools do we need to help us understand, manage, and communicate effectively? 
  • How do we avoid shaping strategies, policies and decisions based on misperceptions? And how do we assess their consequences effectively before implementing them in our social context? 
  • What is the wider impact of our decisions over a longer time span?

We can offer a vibrant, international student life focusing on the study of System Dynamics - a study available to very few students across the world. 

This is a joint European master’s degree, so spending time at the partner universities is an essential part of the programme and integrated in the curriculum. You will also be exposed to state-of-the-art learning technology, the frontiers of research, and client-based case studies.

Currently System Dynamics is used for research and education in a large number of separate fields as well as analysis by large companies, governments, international agencies, and consulting companies. 

See examples of System Dynamics and test yourself in SD thinking


Our students typically go on to work in academia and research organizations, international organizations and agencies, NGOs and consulting companies and larger private and public enterprises. In short, all organisations facing complex, dynamic challenges.

With this degree, you will have a remarkably wide set of skills in methods, techniques and tools that reach across disciplines and sectors. You will be able to apply these skills to enhance communication through knowledge elicitation and dissemination; knowledge organization and storage, as well as analysis. 

More information below


This is a full-time, two-year master’s programme which starts in August.

The programme has two components: a course part (90 ECTS), and a master’s thesis (30 ECTS). The total work load is 120 ECTS.

Semester 1: Bergen

  • GEO-SD302 Fundamentals of Dynamic Social Systems (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD303 Model-based Analysis and Policy Design (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD304 System Dynamics Modelling Process (10 ECTS)

Semester 2: Spring 2022 and spring 2024 Palermo

  • Dynamic Performance Management for Public Sector Organizations (8 ECTS)
  • Dynamic Performance Management (10 ECTS)
  • Dynamic Performance Governance (12 ECTS)

Semester 2: Spring 2023 and spring 2025 Lisboa

  • Sustainability Science (10 ECTS)
  • Integrative Modelling (10 ECTS)
  • Sustainability Strategies (10 ECTS)

Semester 3: Nijmegen

You spend your third semester at Radboud University.

  • Computer simulation models and organizational decision-making (6 ECTS)
  • Group Model Building I (6 ECTS)
  • Decision making and knowledge (6 ECTS)
  • Group Model Building II (6 ECTS)
  • Dynamics of business strategy (6 ECTS)

Semester 4

You spend the last semester writing your master’s thesis at one of the three Universities you studied at in semester 1-3. 

  • Master’s thesis in System Dynamics (30 ECTS)

Student life

As this degree is offered by four institutions, you will get to spend time at several different universities in different countries during your time in the master’s programme.  

In a typical week, you will be busy discussing and interacting with your fellow students and professors in and out of class. There are lectures, labs and assignments throughout the week. We use client-based case studies and state-of-the-art learning technology.

Other teaching forms we use are lectures, labs, computer exercises, weekly assignments, Interactive learning environments (ILEs), literature studies and presentations. The lectures and literature is in English.

You are expected to work in collaboration with your fellow students, but in many cases, assignments are written on an individual basis. The distribution between reading and practical work is about 35/65.

This is a full-time study that will require dedication and focus, but it also offers a vibrant student community with informal gatherings and new friends.

Master’s thesis

Your final semester is spent writing your master’s thesis. The thesis is an independent scientific work that you develop with the guidance and support of a supervisor. When you choose a topic for your thesis, you can find one yourself, or choose among available master’s thesis topics

What you will learn

At this master’s programme you will learn

  • inherent challenges in understanding the dynamics of social systems
  • the system dynamics paradigm and alternative methods of analysis
  • system dynamics applications to problems in public and private sectors

Read the full list of learning outcomes

Study period abroad

This programme is offered jointly by Radboud University in the Netherlands, New University of Lisbon in Portugal, University of Palermo in Italy, and the University of Bergen. You will study at three of the universities, depending on your interests and master’s topic.

Admission Requirements

In order to apply for the Master's Programme in System Dynamics you need a bachelor's degree of 3-4 years' duration, or an equivalent educational background. The degree must include 1,5 years (80-90 ECTS) of full-time studies in relevant courses in either social sciences, including management, or natural sciences, including engineering.

You also need to document:

How to apply

Follow these links to find the general entry requirements and guidelines on how to apply: