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:

Engaging Organizations and Communities

Diagnosing and Framing Dynamic Problems

Designing effective participatory group model building sessions and interventions

Building and managing transdisciplinary teams

Developing computer models

Integrating evidence based practice into system dynamics modeling practice

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

Students are required to take the following courses (9 credit hours):

Designing Sustainable Social Policies and Programs (S65-5660)

Community Based System Dynamics (S65-5050)

System Dynamics Skills Labs I, II, and III


Students who choose the SD Specialization are required to complete one of their five required concentration credits (120 hours) on SD tasks and activities.The student, in consultation with their practicum supervisor, will propose a project to apply SD in the context 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.