Short courses

Complexity Theory & Systems Thinking

Increasingly across the globe sustainability is being understood via complexity perspectives that seem most capable of handling the transdisciplinary nature of sustainability. This course provides the primary conceptual framework that students will require to fully understand sustainability in general and sustainable development in particular.

The main aim of this course is to make it possible for participants to develop a general, albeit basic, understanding of complexity and complex systems. This understanding should not only be technical, but should help in the analysis of our complex world. Complexity theory has implications for our conceptions of knowledge, ethics and of course, sustainability.

To view the brochure for this course, please click here.

Postgraduate students and practitioners seeking an introduction understanding and studying complex adaptive systems. This course will help you to develop your understanding of the nature of complex problems and how they can be tackled.Systems thinking enables you to grasp and manage situations of complexity and uncertainty in which there are no simple answers. It's a way of learning your way towards effective action by looking at connected wholes rather than separate parts. It's sometimes called practical holism.


Rika Preiser is based at the Centre for Studies in Complexity since 2009 and has been a part-time lecturer in the Department of Philosophy since 2008 at the Stellenbosch University, South Africa.