Undergraduate Program Systems Minor

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Systems Minor Overview

Systems Science is the study of general principles governing systems of widely differing types, and the use of systems ideas and methods in research and socio-technical system design and management. Systems science draws on the natural and social sciences, mathematics, computer science, and engineering to address complex problems in the public and private sectors.

Systems ideas and methods offer valuable insights into and fundamental ways to think about a wide range of phenomena. They will help you to better understand and address problems in such diverse areas as climate change, resource use, renewable energy, and public health and biomedicine, and shed new light on the challenges and opportunities of new technologies.

The systems minor offers coursework in methods for approaching complex systems including opportunities to design conceptual models using graphical understanding, computational models to simulate system behaviors, dynamics of biological or ecological systems, the evolution of cooperation, and networks in society.

Learning systems ideas and methods will enhance the knowledge and skills you gain in any specific program, making the minor a perfect complement to any major. Our systems minor has been designed to be entirely cross-disciplinary, meaning engineering or biology majors can take systems just as comfortably as a philosophy or geography major. The classes can also help you fulfill requirements for a number of core curriculum courses.

Degree Details

Systems Minor: Why PSU?

We offer the only systems science program in the state of Oregon. Our systems classes will teach you methods for approaching complex systems both conceptually and quantitatively.

The Portland metro region is home to some of the world’s top companies including Nike, Intel, Adidas, Columbia, Underarmour, Daimler, and Oregon Health and Sciences University. Many of our students intern and get jobs for local, state, and federal agencies. Being in Portland is a major advantage for PSU students, as they have access to internships at large companies that are just a Max ride away, where they are able to get real experience before graduating and go on to work for the companies after graduation.

What can I do with a minor in Systems?

Systems concepts and techniques are extensively used for both applied and research purposes. In industry and government, considerable demand exists for professionals who are skilled in modern methods of decision making and systems design and who are capable of managing complex social and technical systems. Systems theorists also continue to make important contributions to the growth of knowledge within academic disciplines and to the application of knowledge across disciplinary boundaries.

You'll find that the skills you learn with PSU's systems minor will be useful in just about any field: research, business, non-profit, public service, or in creative work such as writing and storytelling. Our program can help prepare you for successful careers in academia, industry, government, and nonprofits.


A minor in Systems is an ideal complement to majors in the Natural and Social Sciences, Philosophy, Mathematics, Computer Science, Engineering, Public Administration and Business, and to anyone with an interdisciplinary focus.

The Systems minor is 24 credits, students can select from the list of approved courses. At least two of the six required courses must be taken at the SySc 410-SySc 499 level. A maximum of 4 SySc 405 and/or SySc 409 credits can apply. All courses must be graded and passed with a B- or higher.

Featured Courses

  • SYSC 330U Models in Science
  • SYSC 332U Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling
  • SYSC 334U Modeling Social-Ecological Systems
  • SYSC 336U Networks and Society
  • SYSC 338U Decision Making in Complex Environments
  • SYSC 340U Big Data and the Modern World
  • SYSC 342U Systems Thinking for Social Change
  • CS 346U Exploring Complexity in Science & Technology
  • SYSC 350U Indigenous and Systems Perspectives on Sustainability
  • SYSC 423 Systems Ideas & Sustainability: Limits, Structural Change, & Resilience
  • SYSC 431 Data Mining with Information Theory



Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).