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Complex systems

Anticipate, control and manage the complexity of the unexpected

Smart cities, infrastructure and ecosystems are complex systems, susceptible to abrupt, large-scale, disruptive dynamics. Gain the expertise to model, analyse and design strategies for crisis forecasting and management.

What are complex systems?

Complex systems are composed of large numbers of diverse interacting parts that can be prone to unexpected and often disruptive dynamics. Small changes can generate large, amplified effects. For example, a single malfunction in a local substation can lead to cascading state-wide electricity grid failures, or the emergence of a new pathogen in a remote village can give rise to a devastating global epidemic.

Systems engineers are tasked with modelling, analysing and designing resilient strategies for crisis forecasting and management in technological, socioeconomic and socioecological systems. You can apply these skills to a wide range of industries.

Why study complex systems with us?

  • Our Master of Complex Systems is the only degree of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It will develop your skills in quantitative modelling and computational simulation of system dynamics.
  • Choose from five specialisations, focusing on biosecurity, ecology, engineering, transport or complex systems research methods.
  • Leverage the research strength of the Centre for Complex Systems and tailor your learning to your professional interests.
  • Undertake an industry-based capstone project focused on modelling a complex problem and delivering a novel solution related to your area of specialisation or vocational objectives.
  • As a Master of Complex Systems graduate, you’ll be able to develop your career in major multinational research and development companies, government and crisis management agencies, or large health, construction and transport organisations.
  • Demand for such expertise is increasing and will allow you to operate across discipline boundaries, in environments outside the experience of most professionals.

Related courses

At the master’s level, this degree will take two years full time to complete (96 credit points). This program can also be taken as a Graduate Diploma of Complex Systems (one year and 48 credit points).

Fast track your Master of Complex Systems

Your prior qualifications or, in some cases, work experience, may enable you to reduce the number of credit points required to complete your degree. See how it works.

Staff profile

Mikhail Prokopenko
Professor Mikhail Prokopenko, Director, Centre for Complex Systems
“My research is about how to alleviate crises by analysing and computationally modelling the critical phenomena intrinsic to self-organisation. Ultimately, this will increase the robustness and resilience of a diverse range of complex systems, from digital circuitry to power grids and social networks, resulting in increased productivity, lower maintenance costs, less downtime and greater overall safety and reliability.”

Academic profile