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Students in the environmental social science program may select a concentration in complex adaptive systems (CAS) science.
CAS science is the study of highly interactive and dynamic systems that change over individual and evolutionary time scales. The spread of epidemics, society-biology interactions of obesity, impacts of agriculture on land degradation, ecological impacts of urban growth and social responses to natural disasters all involve CAS.
Human societies have made the modern world more complex than ever before, with over 6 billion individuals living in urban centers of millions of inhabitants, divided into innumerable social and economic roles and organized into hierarchies many levels deep. As a result, the simple cause-and-effect thinking that has served our species well for so long may no longer offer reliable predictions of the outcomes of social action – even when systematized in the careful trial and error learning that has made Western science so successful.
Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability offer a concentration in complex adaptive systems that provides doctoral students with a solid, transdisciplinary foundation in this field.
The complex adaptive systems science concentration is also available in the following degree programs:
The recent recognition of the value of CAS approaches is leading to a growing demand for researchers who are able to apply the concepts and methods of complex systems approaches to the study of dynamic socio-natural systems, as well as relevant policy decisions – demand that will grow in coming decades. Moreover, most of the few graduate programs that offer training in complex systems approaches are aimed at computation and computer science, physical systems or engineering rather than the self-organized, dynamic CAS that characterize living organisms, ecosystems and human societies.
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 clear and growing need for young scientists to be able to work and collaborate in an increasingly interdisciplinary context.
Academic units that students might engage with in order to fulfill the requirements of the complexity concentration include:
See the environmental social science PhD page for further information on the degree program.
Learn more about the complex adaptive systems science concentration at ASU.
For the concentration in complex adaptive systems science, 12 credit hours will be selected from an approved list of applicable courses related to complexity. These courses are:
An additional 3 credit hours of CAS-related research credit will also be required. At least one member of the student's doctoral supervisory committee must be a CAS faculty member, and the dissertation must include CAS approaches.
Students without a master's degree apply to phase I of the program, where they will receive a master's-in-passing.
Students with a master's degree in a related field begin in phase II of the doctoral program, where they receive training to become expert scholars able to contribute not only to their chosen field, but to finding solutions to humankind's greatest challenges.
For more information, please contact email@example.com or 480-965-6215.