PhD in System Dynamics

Doctor of Philosophy

WPI’s Interdisciplinary PhD in System Dynamics builds on your extensive system dynamics experience so you can advance your original research in this rapidly growing field. With our world-class program, you’ll delve deeper into understanding complex systems, identifying underlying challenges, and applying your research to real-world use.

Diverse, online coursework helps students discover complex business solutions using computer-aided modeling programs. On-campus research offers a multidisciplinary perspective as you work with expert and practicing faculty to form a committee and develop a plan of study. The degree is granted by the Social Sciences & Policy Studies Department and a separate PhD-granting department at WPI.


The flexible Interdisciplinary PhD in System Dynamics program lets you develop your individually tailored plan of study with highly regarded faculty and other advisors across disciplines. The rigorous plan includes high-level system dynamics classes and courses in your degree-granting department, passing qualifying exams, and both dissertation proposal and defense.

Combining all the resources at your disposal, you will fine tune your professional and technical knowledge to understand and solve the complex issues organizations face. Complete course descriptions can be found in the Course Catalog. The current graduate course schedule has up-to-date offerings.


Program candidates in residence say ideas are “cooked” in the close research environment and innovation blooms. Working collaboratively with faculty who are system dynamics leaders and practitioners, students take classes online while developing innovative thinking and the entrepreneurial spirit needed to rethink traditional models and implement new solutions.

Some current research:

  • Dynamics of quality improvement in healthcare organizations, including the dynamics of implementation of electronic health records, and lean training and implementation in the Veterans Health Administration
  • Dissent within higher education
  • Using computational modeling to study insurgency groups like ISIS

Using cutting-edge approaches with computer simulation and system dynamics modeling, students in WPI’s system dynamics program work on challenging social and technical issues.

The system dynamics program offers an academic path in areas as varied as national security, organizational design, economic development, Lean deployment, or healthcare. Students investigate, understand, predict, and model improved outcomes of the complex and nuanced behaviors that are at the basis of systems around the globe.