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How do we solve our most urgent societal challenges, such as the ecological breakdown, growing inequality, and the spread of misinformation? Solutions include unprecedented societal and technological changes in highly interrelated systems, balancing fairness and other moral principles in the process. To understand and communicate such interdisciplinary problems, we need a common language: Complexity

Complexity refers to a property of many systems – global climate, traffic jams, or our immune system – where their emergent features make them hard to manage. It typically means having multiple different elements interacting and adapting in ways that are not intuitive.

In this course, designed for a broad audience, you will learn about complex systems and hear from different experts (climate, epidemics, and criminal networks). After developing a common language to consolidate and communicate complex concepts, you will learn to quantify them and build a simple but complex system yourself.


Vítor V. Vasconcelos

Entry requirements

Open to second-year and third-year UvA Bachelor's students and other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other Dutch higher education institutions. 

Master's students can only participate if there are still spots available. Please send an email with motivation to to be placed on the waiting list. One week prior to the start of the course, you will hear whether or not you can participate.


You can find the timetable on Datanose.


Prices can be found on the IIS website.


UvA Bachelor's students can register from 4 to 11 December 2023 in the GLASS registration rounds. Master’s students can send a short motivation to

Other interested parties such as ‘Bijvak’ students, contract students and Uva Staff members can register until two weeks prior to the start of the course, by completing the online registration form.

If you have any trouble while registering, please contact us at

SDGs in education

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in our elective courses, honours modules and degree programmes and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDGs website.

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