Online Master of Science in Complex Systems Science

Arizona State University’s Master of Science in complex systems science focuses on theoretical foundations, modeling, problem solving, critical thinking and the importance of direct experience through research in the context of complex systems science. This program is the first of its kind and, through the curriculum, you’ll gain the ability to understand the interconnections within and between technological, economic, societal, biomedical and environmental systems. Upon graduation, you’ll have the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to practical and theoretical solutions in a vast number of areas.

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Quick facts

Next start date: 01/10/2022


Total classes: 9

Weeks per class: 7.5

Total credit hours: 30

Degree questions, answered.

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What is complex systems science?

We are surrounded by systems that are essential to our life and well being. Living organisms, ecosystems, corporations, societies, cities and even our bodies are complex adaptive systems. Complex systems are formed when different types of components interact in networks to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In our bodies, skin cells, blood cells, nerve cells, bone cells and other kinds of cells all interact to form an individual who does not behave like any of the cells they are made from. Plant and animal species interact as predators or prey to cycle nutrients and inhibit or encourage each other's growth in an ecosystem. Individuals, neighborhoods, businesses, utilities and local governments interact in cities.

Complex adaptive systems are organized as groups of components nested within components. In our bodies, different kinds of bone cells are organized into individual bones, which are organized in our skeletal system. The components of complex adaptive systems also transmit and process information, like the nervous system and immune system in our bodies. This enables complex adaptive systems to grow, evolve, adapt and die. Complex systems are at the core of all real-world challenges, ranging from health care and sustainability to engineering, economics and social systems. Learning about the interactions that create complex adaptive systems is key to understanding our world and creating solutions to our most pressing issues.

What is complex systems science?

 

The science of complex systems is a study of interactions. It is the interactions among our cells that enables them to collectively form an individual, the interactions among diverse plants and animals that produce a rich ecosystem. A complexity scientist studies these interactions, among genes, cells, species and people. In a complex adaptive system, the interactions among components within components are many and diverse. Complex adaptive system scientists use advanced information technologies like network science and computational modeling to help them understand how these interactions create emergent properties and enable complex adaptive systems to grow and adapt to a constantly changing environment.

What skills will I learn with a complex systems science master's degree?

 

Through the Master of Science in complex systems science’s curriculum, you’ll learn about the fundamental properties that underlie all complex adaptive systems and how interactions among system components determine how these systems grow and change. You’ll develop cutting-edge digital skills like modeling and network science that are needed to understand and manage complex adaptive systems. A master’s in complex system science will equip you with unique insights and tools for problem solving and critical thinking.

Is a master’s in complex systems science degree worth it?

 

Yes. Even though complex adaptive systems are such an important part of our lives, few people yet have the knowledge and skills to understand the interactions needed to fully understand them. For this reason, complex systems science can help you develop innovative solutions in a wide range of areas, including sustainability, finance, social sciences, biomedical sciences, computer science, public policy, political science and psychology. This program’s unique subject matter gives you an edge over other job candidates and many of the skills developed in this program are foundational to a large number of employment opportunities.

Complex systems science master's degree courses

Although all of the complex systems science courses have unique and exciting learning opportunities, an extremely relevant one in today’s world is Disease as a Complex System. Disease is a complex problem and this course analyzes multiple interconnected dimensions of disease. Some of what you’ll explore includes looking at disease from the molecular to the socio-economic, as well as the life of disease from causation to treatment and health care solutions from a complex systems science perspective. Program courses include:


Required

Fundamentals of Complex Systems Science: Collectives


Required

Fundamentals of Complex Systems Science: Computation


Required

Fundamentals of Complex Systems Science: Evolution


Core

Methods for Complex Systems Science: Agent Based Modeling


Core

Methods for Complex Systems Science: Dynamical Systems


Core

Methods for Complex Systems Science: Network Analysis


Core

Methods for Complex Systems Science: Statistics and Dimensionality Reduction


Elective

Bio-Inspired AI and Optimization


What can I do with a complex systems science master's degree?

The need to better understand complex systems is widely recognized. When you graduate with an advanced degree in complex systems science, you’ll have a multitude of career opportunities.

Complex systems science is foundational for all attempts to understand risk and security. As such, career options are available in fields including, but not limited to:

Computer and mathematical sciences

Life, physical and social sciences

Health care

Public policy

Economics

Engineering

Study with leading experts to develop transdisciplinary solutions for environmental challenges

This degree has been developed jointly between ASU and the Santa Fe Institute. At ASU, complex adaptive systems research has been developed for over 15 years in an extensive network of interdisciplinary research centers and is now centered in the new School of Complex Adaptive Systems. The transdisciplinary faculty of this innovative new school are applying complex adaptive systems approaches and methods in anthropology, astrobiology, bioinformatics, biology, biomimicry, computer science, data science, economics, physics, education, engineering, mathematics, modeling, public policy and sustainability.

Study with leading experts to develop transdisciplinary solutions for environmental challenges

This degree has been developed jointly between ASU and the Santa Fe Institute. At ASU, complex adaptive systems research has been developed for over 15 years in an extensive network of interdisciplinary research centers and is now centered in the new School of Complex Adaptive Systems. The transdisciplinary faculty of this innovative new school are applying complex adaptive systems approaches and methods in anthropology, astrobiology, bioinformatics, biology, biomimicry, computer science, data science, economics, physics, education, engineering, mathematics, modeling, public policy and sustainability.

Master of Science in complex systems science admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the College of Global Futures. Applicants are eligible to apply for this program after earning a bachelor's or master's degree in STEM, economics, social sciences, humanities or a related field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Application requirements

Additional admission information

Creating tomorrow’s solutions, today

The College of Global Futures is dedicated to building a sustainable and equitable future for the planet and society. These initiatives are a crucial part of ASU’s commitment to innovation, research and high-quality academic programs. ASU has been recognized with peer-reviewed honors from U.S. News & World Report. We’ve also received accolades from other prestigious organizations, showcasing our commitment to excellence across all disciplines.

#1


in innovation for 7 consecutive years, ahead of Stanford and MIT.

#1


university in the U.S. in pursuit of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Top 10


best online bachelor’s programs.

Top 10%


best global universities

Tuition calculator

Our tuition calculator can help you estimate full-time tuition fees for this program without financial aid. Keep in mind: More than 80% of our students receive financial aid.

Tuition calculator

Our tuition calculator can help you estimate full-time tuition fees for this program without financial aid. Keep in mind: More than 80% of our students receive financial aid.

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