The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course engages students in understanding complexity, and addressing contemporary complex problems. Complex problems are characterized by interconnectedness, unpredictability and uncertainty, and have the potential to continually evolve and change. Contemporary examples include (but are not limited to) climate change, population health in the Majority World (e.g. child nutrition) and the Minority World (e.g. the obesity epidemic in children), global financial system stability, and maintaining robust democracies. Complex problems resist reductive analysis but are amenable to holistic systems thinking: transdisciplinary approaches are particularly suitable for engaging with complexity.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Trimester 3 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate understanding of complex systems, including the fundamental reliance of all complex human systems upon natural systems and the need for sustainability.

2. Apply a transdisciplinary approach to analysis and decision-making which addresses the challenges of a complex issue.

3. Communicate with diverse audiences via digital story-telling about the challenges of a addressing a particular complex problem.


This course uses the strengths of collaboration between multiple disciplines to support strategic, creative and practical approaches which recognize and engage effectively with complexity. The course employs a critical pedagogy and embraces a more-than-disciplinary, emergent and student-centred curriculum design.

Assessment items

Project: Group Project

Portfolio: Reflective Learning Portfolio

Project: Digital Story-telling Communications Project

Contact hours


Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1