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Our doctoral students can choose to pursue the Complex Adaptive Systems Science concentration, which is designed to train the next generation of scientists in advanced concepts and methods needed for approaching diverse phenomena in the social and life sciences. Students’ career opportunities will be enhanced by combining fluency in the common language of complexity with a solid foundation in the domain knowledge of existing academic disciplines. There is a growing need for scientists to be able to work and collaborate in an increasingly interdisciplinary context.
The concentration is integrated with diverse university-wide research and emphasizes the value of a complex adaptive systems perspective when seeking solutions to critical societal issues. Complex adaptive systems science is the study of interactive and dynamic systems that learn and change over time.
Complex system behaviors are often said to be emergent and subject to self-organization, which makes them more difficult to predict. Such examples can include studying the long-term changes in epidemics, land degradation, urban growth, and natural disasters and their resulting impacts.
Complex adaptive system concepts and tools can serve as bridges between disciplines, providing a common language, and thereby promoting the interdisciplinary collaborations needed to come to grips with the intellectual and societal challenges of the 21st century. Students will be fluent in the language of complexity while also ensuring they receive a solid foundation in the domain knowledge of existing academic disciplines.
By broadly embedding an understanding of complex adaptive system-relevant approaches into the practice of normal science, students will gain the ability to transform science. The CASS program promotes the development and testing of more robust theory and sophisticated methods in a wider array of research settings. This is needed to develop a deeper understanding of the nature and dynamics of complex adaptive systems, grounded in concrete examples and applications.
A minimum of 15 credits is required for a PhD concentration in Complex Adaptive Systems Science. The required core courses will bring students together in an integrated learning environment to form a cadre of diverse backgrounds. The core courses are designed to provide students with methods and theory appropriate to the study of complex adaptive system science. They will explore the link between concepts of sustainability and systems approaches to knowledge, and will develop the integrative methods needed to work on sustainability problems.
Choose one from the following foundational courses (3 credits):
Choose one from the following mathematics courses (3 credits):
Choose one from the following modeling courses (3 credits):
One course in applying CASS approaches as approved by committee (3 credits)
Research or reading and conference with a CASS faculty member (3 credits)