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FMF3035 System thinking and modelling of complex dynamic systems 6.0 credits

The course provides an introduction to system thinking and modelling of complex, dynamic sociotechnical systems by using the modelling framework system dynamics.

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus FMF3035 (Spring 2021–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course includes literature studies, lectures, seminars (discussions), hand-in exercises, a project work, and presentation. During the course, the students will continuously give feedback on each other’s work. Course literature comprises standard literature within the field as well as recent research articles.

 Areas covered:

  • Formulation of dynamic problems
  • Fundamental concepts within system thinking and system design (e.g. causality, Little’s Law, feedback)
  • Causal Loop Diagrams
  • Mental models
  • System structures and system archetypes
  • Naming convention and ”good practice” with modelling with system dynamics.
  • The modelling process
  • Validation of system dynamics modell
  • Communication using system dynamics models

Intended learning outcomes

The course gives the students an introduction to systems thinking and modelling of complex dynamic sociotechnical systems by using the methodology System Dynamics.

 After the course, the student should be able to:

  1. Describe central terms and concepts within system thinking
  2. Use these concepts to describe events, phenomena, and structures from the real world,
  3.  Understand and explain basic system archetypes, including which system behavior that these causes.
  4. Describe and analyze systems from a sustainability perspective.
  5. Understand how System Dynamics can be used to model information flows and mental models, and to evaluate policies.
  6.  Build, validate and analyze System Dynamics models by using Vensim (or another similar software)
  7. Formulate complex dynamic problems, and analyze them by using System Dynamics
  8. Argue for the results validity
  9. Use system thinking and System Dynamics modelling to communicate results to stakeholders and actors

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Admitted to PhD studies in a relevant field.

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • INL1 - Hand in exercise, 2.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • SEM1 - Seminars, 0.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • SEM2 - Seminars, 0.5 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

To pass the course, attendance at at least 80% of seminars is required.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FMF3035

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Anna Pernestål (

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at ITM/Machine Design