Course Meeting Times

Developed for self study, to be completed in 30 weeks

Course Description

This course site includes two sets of resources that are intended as introductions to the field of system dynamics. System dynamics has been pioneered at the MIT Sloan School since 1956, and it is now a world-wide movement with courses taught in many universities and countries. The System Dynamics Society publishes the "System Dynamics Review" and more information can be found at Society Publications.

The collection of documents in the Readings section, entitled "Road Maps," is a self-study introduction to system dynamics. It consists of papers to study and computer exercises. The computer exercises are presented for use with the STELLA or Vensim software applications. We recommend the Vensim version as being more appropriate if the participant expects to go further with the subject in the future. If "Road Maps" is taken seriously and all the papers are carefully studied and the computer exercises are fully done, the series may require upward of 200 hours for completion.

Also included, in the Assignments section, are 30 assignments with corresponding answers. These assignments were originally part of a “Guided Study in System Dynamics" series that was developed for outside professionals.

Both sets of resources were created by MIT undergraduates in the "Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program" with guidance by Professor Jay W. Forrester. For several years the UROP program in system dynamics engaged up to 12 students. Each paper in this series probably represents an academic term of work. A student would propose a topic, the topic and an outline would be criticized by the other students and the faculty supervisor. A first draft would be written and criticized by two of the author's student peers. A second and third draft would receive the same review, and then the paper might be submitted for two or three rounds of suggestions by the faculty supervisor, with those comments going back to the author and to the students who had reviewed the paper.