The Systems Dynamics (SD) Specialization prepares students to apply system dynamics modeling and computer simulation tools to solving problems in organizations and communities.

Students in the SD Specialization bring their interests, (e.g., international development, social entrepreneurship, urban education, violence against women, mental health) and learn to apply system dynamics within their practice area.

The overall aim of the specialization is to provide students with system dynamics knowledge and skills in:

  • Engaging organizations and communities         
  • Diagnosing and framing dynamic problems
  • Building and managing transdisciplinary teams
  • Designing effective participatory group model building sessions and interventions
  • Integrating evidence based practice into system dynamics modeling practice
  • Developing computer simulation models
  • Using models to design sustainable programs, policies, and business models
  • Analyzing system dynamics models for program and policy evaluation
  • Evaluating the impact of system dynamics interventions

The SD Specialization is an elective option above and beyond the foundation and concentration requirements. It consists of a structure set of required courses in the curricula, which are combined with the system dynamics content in the concentration practicum.

Course Requirements

SD Specialization students are required to complete the following course requirements:

Designing Sustainable Social Policies and Programs (S65-5660)

Community Based System Dynamics (S65-5050)

System Dynamics Skills Labs I, II, and III (S81-550x)

Introduction to System Dynamics for Advancing Equity (S81-5504) – Optional


Students who choose the SD Specialization are required to complete one of their five required concentration credits (120hours) on SD tasks and activities. The student, in consultation with their practicum supervisor, will propose a project to apply SD in the conext of the practicum.  In order for students to be approved for the practicum requirement for the SD specialization, they must submit a project proposal for feedback from faculty at the SSDL, and must submit a project report at the close of the practicum that documents the process and outcomes of the SD project.