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Complexity Science, Global Systems and Policy

Contact: Jeffrey Johnson (j.h.johnson ‘at’ open.ac.uk)

The Virtual MPhil on Complexity Science, Global Systems and Policy is part of a Postgraduate Programme on Complex Systems Science and its applications to solve local and global policy problems. It is designed to make high-quality open postgraduate education available to everyone worldwide.

Complex Systems Science deals with systems whose behaviour is unpredictable or poorly understood. For example earthquakes, market crashes, traffic jams, computer failure, terrorism and crime, epidemics, and climate change. Mostly it is applications-driven science, driven by a desire to make systems as they ought to be - it is science motivated by the creation of new and better systems. It is science for policy and a better world.

Global Systems Science has the vision to provide scientific evidence to support policy-making, public action and civic society to collectively engage in societal action.

Policy makers suffer from an intrinsic difficulty when addressing challenges like climate change, financial crises, governance of pandemics, or energy sufficiency: the impact and unintended consequences of public action are increasingly hard to anticipate. Such challenges are global and connect policies across different sectors. When faced with such highly interconnected challenges, societies still tend to address subsystems and so fail to achieve systemic change.

GSS can drive change by helping develop an integrated policy perspective on global challenges; and developing a research agenda that will tackle the fundamental research challenges.

The Open Postgraduate Certificate in Complexity Science, Global Systems and Policy, awarded by the UNESCO UniTwin Complex Systems Digital Campus, can be studied at no cost.

The MPhil in Complexity Science, Global Systems and Policy involves coursework tailored to the needs of the individual students, a research project in the student’s area of interest, and writing a dissertation. It can be studied at a distance in any country. This masters degree is awarded by the Open University.

The PhD in Complexity Science, Global Systems and Policy assumes knowledge and skills to the level of our MPhil, and involves research in the student’s area of interest. It can be studied at a distance in any country. The PhD degree is awarded by the Open University.

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