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Systems and Systems Theory in Design




Systems Thinking

Credit Hours


Understanding the structure and behavior of different types of systems.

The course investigates principles and methods for representing and understanding the structure and behavior of different types of systems. Various forms of theoretical and philosophical frameworks and methodologies are introduced to model and understand the fundamental characteristics of domains of concern from different perspectives. Topics include general systems theory, system modeling, causality, and formalisms. The class will also explore example applications of system concepts and modeling methods in design research.

Learning Objectives

The primary goal of this course is to develop a capability for understanding subjects of design and design research through frameworks of system theories and philosophy and also for applying system modeling methods to specific purposes in design research.

Learning Outcomes

  • Readings of seminal work in system science
  • Basic knowledge and skills of system thinking and methodologies
  • Example studies of applying system modeling methods to design research

Format & Grading

  • Typical classes will be a combination of lecture + discussion + assignment presentation
  • Weekly assignment –reading and exercise (individual -4 weeks)
  • Final assignment –a small-scale case study (individual –3 weeks overlapping with weekly assignments)
  • Grades will be based on attendance, weekly assignments, final assignment report, and contributions to class discussions

Enrollment Constraints

Open to all students of the Institute of Design