Client-based modeling project

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

In this course, students gain practical experience in modeling with and for a client. The course works with organizations outside the University of Bergen (the clients) who furnish students with an applied context and specific problems they are currently dealing with. Students will develop simulation models that help solve these problems.

Client organizations vary from year to year. The specific challenge for students consists in the fact that participating organizations have no in-house capacity for implementing system dynamic modeling projects. From the problems that the client organizations present, students therefore first need to distill those aspects that lend themselves to the system dynamics method and agree with the clients on relevant deliverables. Students then need to interact with the organizations to develop, calibrate and validate a simulation model and eventually present model findings in a way that is appealing to these organizations.

The course provides practical guidance, theory, methods and techniques for following the system dynamics modeling process in a variety of complex, dynamic natural and socio-economic domains.

Learning Outcomes

Express knowledge and understanding

Students have an overview of the most frequently used knowledge elicitation and analysis methods used in the system dynamics modeling process.

Apply knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to apply different methods for knowledge elicitation and translate this knowledge into robust and valid simulation models.

Make judgments

Students should be able to adopt a client's perspective to distill problems that lend themselves to the system dynamics method from broad and/or more general problem descriptions by a client.


Students should be able to adopt a client's perspective to effectively summarize the problem, the method for solving that problem and the implications of the analysis. They should be able to translate technical information into language that clients understand.

Learning skills

This course has a strong focus on communication and collaboration skills. In particular, students should be able to (1) organize efficient and effective communication with the client; (2) engage in the modeling project with a high degree of independence and responsibility.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
GEO-SD302; GEO-SD303; GEO-SD304, or other adequate background in modeling
Recommended Previous Knowledge
GEO-SD302; GEO-SD303; GEO-SD304, or other adequate background in modeling
Access to the Course
The course is open to graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Bergen if they have taken GEO-SD302, GEO-SD303, and GEO-SD304, or other courses that provide an adequate background in System Dynamics.
Teaching and learning methods

Live-streamed, recorded and stored lectures, seminars, and data labs with active participation by students; individual and group assignments as well as project modelling; individual and group support in-person or remotely from teaching assistants and professors.

Pre-scheduled interactions with the client organizations.

Major project requiring a simulation model, written report and recorded presentation.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment with portfolio consisting two products from a team project:

1) Modeling project consisting of a simulation model and a written report.

2) Presentation of main project findings and implications in the form of a recorded video clip.

All parts of portfolio must be passed in the same semester. The portfolio will be assessed as a whole, and one final grade will be given.

The exam assignment will be given in the language of instruction in the course.

The exam answer must be submitted in the same language as the exam assignment.

Grading Scale
An ECTS grade is provided to the student at the end of the course according to the A-F scale.
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Programme Committee
The System Dynamics Group, Department of Geography, is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the M.Phil program in system dynamics, including GEO-SD325.
Course Coordinator
Birgit Kopainsky
Course Administrator
The Department of Geography at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course