Profile Complex Systems

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 profile Complex Systems is an interdisciplinary profile for ambitious students from different Master’s programmes, who want to work on modelling solutions within the field of Complex Systems. The profile gives you the opportunity to broaden your view and knowledge from an interdisciplinary angle and widens your opportunities for further development. It prepares you for a career in interdisciplinary fields at, for instance, financial companies.

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)

Having passed the examinations of two (elective) courses:

  1. Systems thinking, Scenarios & Indicators for SD (GEO4-2331; 7,5 EC)
  2. a choice of one from the following courses:
  • Introduction to Complex Systems (WISM484)
  • Applying Mathematics in Finance (WISM410)
  • Seminar Modelling Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation (WISM409)
  • Understanding Complexity: Economy and the Planet (NS-MO450M)

Or a course from a Master’s programme, other than your own, that is labelled as a Complex Systems course.

Research project on a Complex Systems topic (15 EC)

Focus should be on interdisciplinary aspects and at least two supervisors from different departments/faculties should be involved. The topic should not correspond to the topic of the master thesis. The topic should be approved by the steering group member of the Foundations of Complex systems focus area who is involved and by the programme director of the master programme for which the student is admitted.

Annotation Sustainable Entrepeneurship & Innovation

The Master Annotation Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation is a university wide Master track that aims to deliver world leading change agents in the area of sustainability. Students enrolled in the Master’s programme Sustainable Development can qualify themselves for the annotation Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation next to their Master’s degree SUSD and will obtain an additional certificate. In order to qualify for the annotation, the following three requirements must be fulfilled:

1. having passed the examinations of one of these two elective courses:

  • Technology Related Venturing (GEO4-2268; 7,5 EC) with an assignment regarding a sustainability subject; or:
  • Sustainable Entrepreneurship (ECMSE; 7,5 EC).

2. having passed the examinations of one of these elective courses, which may not be the same course as the course passed for fulfillment of requirement 1 mentioned above:

  • GEO4-2521: Bio-based economy
  • GEO4-2514: Energy in the Context of Sustainability
  • GEO4-2312:  Energy Supply Technologies
  • GEO4-2604: Governance and Change Management for Sustainability
  • GEO4-2268: Technology Related Venturing
  • GEO4-5501: Techniques of Futuring
  • ECMSE: Sustainable Entrepreneurship

3. having conducted a research project of 15 EC related to the subject of Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This can only be achieved with the Master’s Thesis (GEO4-2321; 30 EC) on a subject related to Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

The requirements for the research component are:

• It is about newly developed or to be developed sustainable production processes, products, and/or services created by firms (within established and/or new start-ups);
• These activities need to be new to the current business activities of these firms;
• It needs to include some form of data collection about these new business activities;
• This research component should be at least 15 EC of the Master’s programme.

If you have met all requirements for the annotation, you will be awarded an annotation certificate together with your Master’s degree certificate.

Climate-KIC Scholar programme

For a small number of selected excellent students, the Climate-KIC Scholar programme at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) offers a complementary Climate-KIC Scholar programme. For Utrecht University Master's students, this programme consists of:

  • the Contextual Learning Journey, a six-week summer school held at two European universities (University of Zürich, University of London, University of Paris, Berlin University of Technology, Wageningen University/Utrecht University/Delft University of Technology);
  • International mobility: Students must complete a period of geographical international mobility (min. 15 EC) at another university (academic semester/year, for instance) or by doing an internship abroad (applied research internship, industrial internship, for instance) 
  • Real-life work experience mobility. Students must complete a period of real-life work experience (min. 15 EC) outside their home university (applied research internship, industrial internship, development of their own start-up, for instance) 
  • 5 SPARK lectures; and
  • annotation Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
  • Master’s thesis on a topic related to climate innovation and/or sustainable entrepreneurship.

Students who complete the Climate-KIC Scholar programme will receive an EIT certificate. It is not possible to receive both the EIT certificate and the annotation certificate. More about Climate-KIC.

Young Innovators

Are you curious, entrepreneurial, intellectually versatile, socially responsible? Do you want to get more out of your Master's programme, and learn to work across disciplinary boundaries to both research and actively (co-)create innovative initiatives that will make the world a slightly better place? Then the Young Innovators honoursprogramme (15 ECTS on top of your master programme) might be of interest to you!

Three core areas of research and innovation

The programme will focus on exploring and designing innovations in three areas:

  • Sustainable innovations in health
  • Sustainable innovations in the economy
  • Sustainable innovations in urban living

Think outside your discipline

These multifaceted themes demand the joint efforts of experts from the sciences and humanities alike. They require knowledge of energy, climate dynamics, food, technology, and health. But insights into the dynamics of societies, law and economics, languages and cultures, or history and philosophy are just as essential.

The issues transcend national and cultural borders. Therefore, the programme aims at a substantial participation of international students and is taught in English.

Learn more about the Young Innovators.

Graduate Honours Interdisciplinary Seminars

Are you an ambitious Master’s student looking for an intellectual challenge? Then apply to join our Graduate Honours Interdisciplinary Seminars!

This is a series of small-scale seminars, three to four meetings each, about the focus areas of research at Utrecht University. The topics will be diverse; ranging from global health issues and transition towards sustainability, to trends in youth culture and the philosophy of science. The seminars are hosted by distinguished researchers. Through close discussions with these researchers, you will get a better understanding of what it means to carry out interdisciplinary research, what obstacles researchers face, how to create a good research set-up and how to communicate about it with researchers from other disciplines as well as laymen.

The programme takes one year (7.5 ECTS on top of your master programme). Would you like to know more about this programme? Read more about the Graduate Honours Interdisciplinary Seminars.