System Dynamics, Master's, 2 years

In our complex world, facing numerous sustainability, resilience and security challenges, appropriate theories, methods and tools are essential. System dynamics, a model-based approach, explores the dynamics of complex systems, enabling us to understand change, and identify leverage points for solutions. The approach also allows us to design effective learning and communication tools.
  • TuitionFor non eu/eea citizens
  • Years2 Years
  • Intake25
  • Grade requirementsMinimum C
  • LanguageEnglish
  • ECTS120
  • StartAutumn

Main content

Since the autumn 2022 semester, the Master’s programme in System Dynamics has offered a distance learning programme, as well as a campus programme, for all students. Please note that if you are admitted to the distance learning programme, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration will not grant you a residence permit based on your studies. 

What will you learn? 

With a Master’s degree in System Dynamics, you will:  

  • Master the endogenous (closed loop) conceptualisation and explanation of the root causes of undesirable change over time.  
  • Understand the structural elements of dynamic complexity that drive change in dynamic systems.  
  • Tackle the inherent difficulties in understanding the structure and behaviour of dynamic social systems.  
  • Excel in the development, simulation, validation and analysis of computer models for policy design.  
  • Engage clients and communities in problem identification and policy design.  
  • Lead the building and implementation of interactive simulators as learning and experimentation platforms.  
  • Apply system dynamics in communities, as well as public and private sectors, addressing sustainability, resilience and security problems.  

This Master’s degree empowers you to develop computer models that represent cause-and-effect structures. Through simulation, you explore the behaviour space of your model and assess consequences and long-term impacts of interventions, avoiding misconceptions and conflicts. You will also learn to enhance acceptance of proposed interventions, assess uncertainty and sensitivity, and thus gain the skills for impactful decision support.  

Student life

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

In a typical week, both online and on campus, you will be busy discussing and interacting with your fellow students and professors in classes and outside of class. There are lectures, labs and assignments throughout the week. We use client-based case studies and state-of-the-art learning technology. You are expected to work in collaboration with your fellow students, but in many cases, assignments are written on an individual basis.   

As a campus student you will spend most of your time at or in the vicinity of the Department of Geography, which is situated in the city centre of Bergen. There are reading rooms dedicated to Master’s students.   

As an online learning student you will be offered online collaboration forums. The syllabus literature will be available digitally through UiB’s library agreements.  

We offer a vibrant, international student life and a unique programme for the study of system dynamics, with faculty and staff comprehensively engaged in system dynamics theory and its applications for sustainability transformations.  

More information on what System Dynamics is 

More information below

Master’s in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen


Our students go on to work in academia and research organisations, international organisations and agencies, NGOs and consulting companies, and larger private and public enterprises. These are typically organisations facing complex, dynamic sustainability 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, and knowledge organisation and storage, as well as analysis.  

More information below

Meet our alumni


Semester 1

  • GEO-SD302 Fundamentals of System Dynamics (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD303 System Dynamics Modelling and Analysis (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD304 System Dynamics Modelling Process (10 ECTS)

Semester 2

  • GEO-SD308 Model-based Policy Design and Analysis (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD311 Analytical Methods and Advanced Modelling (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD325 Client Based Modelling Project (10 ECTS)

The following courses may substitute a second and third semester course, with the permission of the Department: 

  • GEO-SD322 Special Topics in System Dynamics, Policy (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD323 Special Topics in System Dynamics, Applications (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD324 Special Topics in System Dynamics, Methodology (10 ECTS)

Semester 3

  • GEO-SD306 Dynamic Complexity and Decision Experiments (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD309 Model Based Interactive Learning Environments (10 ECTS)
  • GEO-SD310 Writing course and project description (10 ECTS)

Semester 4

In your final semester, you will write your Master’s thesis (GEO-SD351, 30 ECTS). You are assigned a supervisor to guide you through the writing process. You are also included in the activities of the System Dynamics research group

In your thesis. you get the chance to specialise even further in your chosen field.  

See our list of previous Master’s topics to get an idea of the variations and possibilities.   

If your Master’s project requires substantial, time-consuming empirical work, you may apply for the 60 ECTS Master’s thesis. The coursework in semester 3 will then be replaced by a Master’s Thesis in System Dynamics (GEO-SD350, 60 ECTS) in semesters 3 and 4.  

See full list of courses

Study period abroad 

In the second or third semester you can go on an exchange to Palermo, Lisbon or Nijmegen.  

The deadline for application is 15 October  for the upcoming autumn semester and 15 March for the upcoming spring semester.  

Further studies 

A Master’s degree in System Dynamics qualifies for PhD studies.  

Questions about the study? 

Phone: + 47 55 58 30 89

Mail: anne-kathrin.thomassen@uib.no

Study plan

Full list of learning outcomes