The world around us is becoming more and more complex. A small change in one variable can have a significant impact, resulting in e.g. traffic jams, a sudden epidemic or a financial crisis. Complex Systems are often the driving force behind these phenomena. As a whole they possess characteristics which cannot be deducted simply from its individual parts, but only from the way in which these are combined together. Predicting a traffic jam is e.g. hardly possible by only studying the behavior of individual drivers. The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.
The Master’s profile Complex Systems is an interdisciplinary profile for students who are interested to broaden their knowledge and expertise within the field of Complex Systems. In this research field societal issues, such as a financial crisis, a sudden epidemic or climate change are studied from a quantitative modelling perspective. Students will get an understanding of the various models used in the complexity field and the behaviour (i.e. transitions, predictability) of these models.
This profile can be fitted into your Master’s programme, 30 EC in total. You will receive a Complex Systems certificate.
In order to qualify for the annotation, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
Courses (15 EC)
Two electives (7.5 EC each) from the following courses (one of these electives need to be from 1-3 below, which are termed as core courses for Complex Systems):
- Introduction to Complex Systems (WISM484)
- Advanced Topics in Climate Physics1 (NS-MO411)
- Computational Aspects of Machine Learning2 (NS-EX426M)
- Mathematical Neuroscience3 (WISL413)
- A Complex Systems labelled course listed under a master programme that is different from the one to which the student is admitted (see list in pdf). Note on this list: some programmes may require one of their own primary elective courses, labelled as Complex Systems course to be taken; the student cannot count them as primary electives as well as Complex Systems master profile courses. More information can be found in the specific programme description section of the Education and Examination Regulations.
Research Project (15 EC)
A Research Project on a Complex Systems topic, for which focus should be on interdisciplinary aspects and at least two supervisors from two different departments/faculties must be involved. The topic should not correspond to the topic of the master thesis, however if the master research project deals with a complex system subject – currently available only for Theoretical Physics, Experimental Physics and Climate Physics Master programmes at Utrecht University – it is permitted to combine the research project of the master’s profile Complex Systems (15 EC) with the master thesis project. In case the master research project deals with a complex system subject, the complex systems aspects must be separately assessed and a supervisor from a different department or faculty other than the department related to the student’s master programme needs to be involved in assessing the complex system aspects of the research project.
The topic must be approved by the coordinator of the profile as well as by the coordinator of the master programme to which the student is admitted.
If you have questions about the profile, please ask your Master’s programme leader for more information. You can apply for this Master profile by sending an email to the coordinator Complex systems, dr. Arie Staal.
For more information about the research on Complex Systems, you can view the Complex Systems website.