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Unit of study_

PMGT5886: System Dynamics Modelling for PM

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal evening] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

System dynamics modelling focuses on the relationships and interactions between the parts of a complex system, and has demonstrated considerable value in assisting decision makers to understand and predict the dynamic nature of complex systems.  System dynamics modelling is introduced in the context of complex adaptive systems (CAS), which studies and models the relationships between parts of a system that give rise to collective and dynamic system-level behaviours. Effectively implemented, the methods can dramatically improve a manager's effectiveness in today's complex and interconnected business world, by helping to predict and evaluate indirect effects of actions and policies. This course provides managers with practical quantitative tools to enhance individual, team, and organisational learning, change, and performance. 

Unit details and rules

Unit code PMGT5886
Academic unit Project Management
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Mikhail Prokopenko,
Lecturer(s) Mikhail Prokopenko,
Sheryl Chang,
Tutor(s) Sheryl Chang,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Simple model
An individual project: a simple model in Vensim
15% Week 05
Due date: 27 Aug 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4
Assignment Individual Assignment
An individual project: a model in Vensim, a report (3000 words maximum)
35% Week 08
Due date: 17 Sep 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Group presentation
A group project: a presentation of the model developed in Group Report
20% Week 12
Due date: 29 Oct 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment group assignment Group report
A group project: a model in Vensim, a report (3000 words maximum)
30% Week 13
Due date: 03 Nov 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Simple model (individual assignment): only Vensim model required.
  • Individual assignment: a Vensim model and a report for a more complex scenario.
  • Group presentation: a presentation either live or by video summarising the project.
  • Group report: a professionally written technical report outlining the project modelling, analysis and outcomes, including methodologies selected, assumptions, sensitivity analysis, design decisions, implementation details, observations and results, and recommendations for future work.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The Assessment Procedures 2011 provide that any written work submitted after 11:59pm on the due date will be penalised by 5% of the maximum awardable mark for each calendar day after the due date. If the assessment is submitted more than ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Independent study guided by the online content and lectures (Week 1-12). You are expected to undertake 8-10 hours per week of independent study in addition to the workshops. Independent study (96 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 01 Introduction and Background Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 02 System dynamics: Modelling challenges and Vensim software Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 03 Causal loops and stock-flows diagrams Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Modelling for project management Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 System Dynamics of Decision-making Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Guest Lecture (Measuring the impacts of disaster) Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Game-theoretic modelling and PM Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 System dynamics modelling case study Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Assignment 1 review; case studies Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Complex dynamical systems: Predator-Prey model Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 Advanced Predator-Prey model, Overview and Q & A Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Group Presentations Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Workshops: Attendance is compulsory and your participation will contribute to the course assessment. 
  • Independant study: It is expected that students will spend an average of 8 hours on additional work per week of the semester. This time will include course readings (textbook and articles), researching and writing assignments, learning software tools, and reviewing workshop materials. In periods where assignments need to be prepared the required workload may be greater than average.

    Study Commitment:
    Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

    Text-matching software for Assignment Submission:
    As part of the assessment process, text matching software such as Turnitin will be used to identify plagiarism and/or be used for providing feedback. 

    Confidential Peer Evaluation:
    As part of the group contribution assessment process, collaborative & self-peer evaluation tools (e.g. SparkPlus, CATME, etc.) may be used, either on a confidential or non-confidential basis, to understand contributions and interactions amongst group members. Marks may be adjusted for an individual team member, following on from the peer evaluation process.

    Mark Moderation:
    Mark moderation: There may be statistically defensible moderation when combining the marks from each component to ensure consistency of marking between markers, and alignment of final grades with unit outcomes.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. recognise complex scenarios
  • LO2. understand the differences between project management style, situations, and context
  • LO3. build the bridge between system theory and project management
  • LO4. analyse the impact of different scenarios and how they are impacted by the stakeholders decisions
  • LO5. map the the skills needed in a complex project and identify possible gaps
  • LO6. gather and reflect on lessons learnt at the end of the group and individual assignment

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Removed 10% participation score Increased Assignment 1 score from 40% to 50%


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.