Senior Seminars


Senior Seminars

Students are awarded letter grades for Senior Seminars, with S/U Option
UTC-coded ==> Senior Seminar (SS) modules | UTS-coded ==> Senior Seminar Singapore Studies (SSU) modules
Click here (the timetable for SS/SSU will be uploaded later) to view the timetable for Sem 1 AY2019/2020.

Senior Seminars to be offered in Semester 1 AY2019/2020

UTC2700 - An Undefeated Mind: An Experiential Inner Re-engineering Approach

This module adopts an experiential learning approach to shape students’ psychological well-being and mental resilience through mind-body practices. Students will cultivate four skills/capacities for well-being namely: Faculty of Attention, Art of Listening, Emotional Balance and Self-Awareness. Students will translate their practices and personal experiences into reflective texts as well as system diagrams. They will then engage in fieldwork at elderly care organizations in Singapore where they will dialogue with caregivers to understand their emotions and experiences. This will provide them an opportunity to personally experience and share the benefits of awareness of their mental processes while engaging in delicate conversations.


UTC2703 - Infectious Diseases: Dynamics, Strategies and Policies

Waves of infectious diseases like Ebola, SARS, and avian flu have shaken countries in recent years. The complex unpredictable nature of infectious diseases has also been a source of fear and threat to humans and other life forms for several centuries. The origin, spread, prevention and control of infectious diseases involve actors including animals, birds, insects, humans, environment, society and economics. This module will explore the interconnections and interdependencies between these actors as models that involve a “system of systems”. Besides helping to relate model structure to dynamic behaviour, the models will be used to design optimal vaccination and control policies.

bacterial intruder cells causing sickness

UTC2704 - Projects in Systems Thinking and System Dynamics

by lecturers in RC4

This module will foster deeper anchoring in Residential College 4’s (RC4s’) theme “Systems Thinking and System Dynamics” through diverse projects related to systems such as energy, environment, health, society, and business. It builds upon the skill sets that RC4 students acquired in junior seminar and senior seminar 1. Students will do individual projects supervised by RC4 fellows; some of them may involve external collaborations, and field work. Intellectual exchanges between supervisors, collaborators, practitioners on the field, and peers will provide a unique experience to students.

Many Caucasian People And Hands Holding Red Letters Or Characters Building The Isolated English Word Projects On White Background

UTC2706/GEM2911X - Committed to Changing Our World: Dana Meadows’ Legacy

For those seeking mastery of systems thinking and system dynamics modeling, to serve our human species, Donella (Dana) Meadows’ life and work seem uniquely suited to inspire and guide. Her work sets disciplined high standards in multiple areas: systems modeling, systems thinking, modeling methodologies and environmental journalism. She created resilient communities that embodied her values. Mastering skills and practices her work exemplifies will empower students to become proficient, disciplined, humane systems citizens, capable of envisioning and traversing life paths that make a difference.


UTC2707/UTS2701 - Understanding Health and Social Care in Singapore

The rapid growth of the elderly population in Singapore is a source of concern due to the health implications of aging. While people are increasingly avoiding fatal events, they are often not avoiding the physiological changes associated with aging and the accumulation of chronic conditions and functional disability. Keeping pace with rising healthcare demand poses a key challenge for policymakers. This module explores the complex relationships between health and social care in the context of an aging society, with Singapore as a case. Students will be introduced to concepts and tools for health system-wide analysis of health and social care policies and strategies.

Hand in people encouragement help. Vector support moral. Life insurance of family. Health care. Social person.

UTC2708/UTS2702 Singapore – A Smart Nation in Context : IoT & Big Data

Singapore as a Smart Nation – where its citizens enjoy a high quality of life, seamlessly enabled by technology and opening up new opportunities for innovation and creativity. This module will provide students a high level overview and basic understanding of what constitutes a “smart nation” in the Singaporean context. The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and ‘Big Data’ are essential ingredients to such a “smart nation”.  The module will provide insights into what these terms mean, why they are important, what the business drivers are all from a systems viewpoint. Students will understand how do all the above tie into the concept of “Singapore as a Smart Nation”, through experiential learning, practical examples and case studies.

Many device media (tablet, pc, cellphone, laptop, smart tv) with the map and flag of Singapore.

UTC2712/UTS2704 - Hard to Secure Easy to Waste - Singapore’s Food Story

A growing population, changing dietary habits and climate change are contributing to the challenge of securing food for Singapore. Singapore imports over 90% of its food supply and uses under 1% of its land area for agriculture. In 2015, Singapore was ranked the second most food secure country in the world. On the other hand, Singapore’s food wastage has increased by 50% since 2005 and 1 in 10 people in Singapore is food insecure. This module takes a systems thinking and systems dynamics perspective to analyse and understand this apparent paradox between food security and food waste in Singapore.


UTC2713/UTS2705 - Modelling Singlehood, Marriage & Fertility in Singapore

Singapore has a shrinking and ageing citizen population, owing to its declining fertility rates and longer lifespans, rising singlehood and divorce rates, delay in marriages and family formation. Policies designed to lift its fertility rates have had little success. This module will use system dynamics modelling to gain insights into the dynamics and outcomes of population transitions in Singapore and countries facing similar or contrasting demographic challenges. It will also explore changing attitudes and expectations associated with singlehood, marriage and childbearing in Singapore and the region, and seek to understand the interplay of factors creating policy resistance in the city-state.


UTC2714/UTS2706 – A Social Critique of Markets in Singapore

This module is a social critique of markets and market behaviour in Singapore. Markets are often explained with methodological individualism as opposed to broader social systems that underscore behavioural and motivational determinants. This module presents an inter-disciplinary reading of selected economic concepts and critiques them from a social and holistic angle. It is principally a sociohistorical reading of how markets perform. In its application side, the module will reinterpret the success of Singapore using conceptual tools such as objective value theory, social productivity, the leisure class, and the historically determined social wage.


UTC2715/UTS2707 Decoding Complexity

The world today is not only more interconnected and richer in content than ever before, but also more sensitive to disruption. Just as the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado, can a small disturbance in a distant connection result in destruction elsewhere? This module focuses on such phenomena that seem to pervade a wide variety of complex issues in sociology, economics, finance, epidemics, terrorism, and science to name a few. Students will be able to debate through complex issues that Singapore and the world faces, model them, and in the process find handles to manage such complexities.


UTC2717/UTS2708 - Navigation in Singapore Waters - Bridges and Barriers

Asia, with its populous river basins, poses a global challenge for water resource management. Currently, many of these basins suffer from water scarcity, flood and resource conflicts. In this aspect, Singapore’s impressive progress can offer lessons for water governance. This module will employ a systems perspective to analyse the dynamic linkages between the city-state’s water resource management, its transformation from a third world to a first world country and future risks for sustaining its development. The module will explore pathways for resilience in Singapore’s water sector, draw lessons for Asia and deepen students’ understanding of water governance.


UTC2718/UTS2709 - Energy and Singapore: Dynamics, Dilemmas and Decisions

Energy in Singapore depends mainly on imported fossil fuels/ petroleum/ natural gas. Obviously, in the quest for alternatives, future energy demand and mix, some challenges/dilemmas arise naturally in Singapore context: would nuclear energy deployment be feasible? Is wind energy a viable option? would a complete switch to solar, biofuels, and waste-to-energy technologies be possible? This module offers a systems and system dynamics approach to deal with such issues and the corresponding dynamics, dilemmas and decisions that arise while addressing them. Students gain insights into the political, socio-economic and environmental aspects of these challenges through relevant case studies/models.


UTC2719/UTS2710 - Society and Economy in Singapore: A Systems View

This module provides a systems reading of social and economic thought with emphasis on the experience of Singapore. This module will outline the major contributions and weaknesses of received theory and critique them from an interdisciplinary or systems angle. It will contrast the methodological differences between the price-led systems and demand-led systems. Lastly, it will draw on the historical experience of Singapore to illustrate the differences between the behavioural-deductive and systems-inductive approaches to studying social and economic performance.


Senior Seminars Not Offered

UTC2701 - Business Systems: Dynamics and Policy Making

Many of us recognize that the world we live in is growing in dynamic complexity. Accelerating economic, technological, social, and environmental change requires managers and policy makers to: (i) expand the boundaries of their mental models, and (ii) develop and work with tools to understand how the structure of complex systems influences their behaviour. This module intends to equip students with the ability to model a wide range of business systems, understand the structure-behaviour links and use such understanding to analyse policy and strategy. System Dynamics modelling will be employed as the vehicle to build these desired skills and abilities.

Global Management Training Vision World Map Concept

UTC2702 - Foundations in System Dynamics Thinking and Modelling

This course provides an opportunity to learn about system dynamics, consisting of systems thinking, modelling, and analysis. Since its inception in the 1960s, system dynamics has been used to analyse and solve problems in development (economic, political, social, sustainable, and urban), management (business, environmental, health care, and project), and public policy. The role of systems thinking and system dynamics modelling in shaping issues of sustainable development, local, national and global, has been transformative.

pile of stones over white

UTC2705/UTS2700 - Housing, Healthcare and Harmony in Singapore: A Critical Perspective

Singapore, in the last 50 years, has evolved from a colonial port to a global city-state. Overcoming unanticipated, unprecedented, multifaceted challenges and severe resource constraints, it has emerged as a successful model-city through flexible and pragmatic policies arguably guided by systems thinking or the “whole-of-nation” approach. This module will use numbers and simple systems models to understand the dynamics of Singapore with special attention on the evolving demographics, housing, healthcare and social harmony aspects. Students will also examine the impact of policy changes, generate scenarios and use them to make policy recommendations and projections for the near future. Students will employ qualitative and quantitative modelling tools learnt from a RC4 JS in this module.

Home and Stethoscope

UTC2709 - Questioning Common Sense

What have been your most significant learning experiences? When have you realised you needed to question your own assumptions, that what had appeared like common-sense truths no longer seemed so certain? How has learning changed the way you view issues? Focusing on questions such as these, in this course we will study the transformative potential of learning. We will focus not only on formal education at secondary and tertiary levels, but also consider informal learning experiences so as to investigate how ideas – whether in the classroom, through reading or travel, or in conversations with others – have changed us.

For further information or if you have any questions about this module, please contact the lecturers A/P Chng Huang Hoon or A/P Johan Geertsema

common sense text write on paper

UTC2716 - Mapping Hidden Connections with Network Science

Networks are powerful representations of real-world systems due to their ability to encapsulate micro-relationships, yet eliciting powerful insights when observed at the macro-level. These capabilities allow network analysis and modelling to be employed at the best technology companies like Google and Facebook. This course is a gentle introduction to network concepts, how it is changing the way we look at the world, and how it can be leveraged to make decisions.


UTC2711 - Heavenly Mathematics and Cultural Astronomy

Students will study astronomy in a cultural context and look at questions like: How is the date of Chinese New Year determined? Why do the Muslim and Chinese months start on different days? Why was the date of Deepavali moved some years ago? Will the Moon ever look like it does on the Singapore flag? This module will help students appreciate mankind’s effort to understand the mathematics of heavens and how the sky modulates culture.


UTC2720 - Income Inequality: A Teleological Perspective*

Many feel that the current level of income inequality is unfair and that capitalism is not functioning well for a vast majority of the population in several countries. Yet, some amount of inequality is inevitable as different people make different contributions in society. This begs the question: what is a fair level of inequality? This module synthesizes concepts from economics, political philosophy, game theory, information theory, systems engineering and statistical mechanics to provide a mathematical framework to analyse the income inequality problem and suggests options for tax policy, social programs and executive compensation.


* new module