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System Design for Industrial Ecology


Admission requirements


A core element of industrial ecology is that it requires to look at a problem from a system perspective. This course aims to provide insights necessary to understand and apply the core concepts of system design in the field of Industrial Ecology. The course will introduce, in a weekly basis, the core concepts of system thinking (such as interconnectedness, synthesis, feedback loops, causality) and students will work on their application in small case studies.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the principles of systems design

  • Understand the application of the principles in different contexts

  • Understand how relationships between the elements in a system as well as dynamics related to time and location influence the system development and performance

Cognitive skills (thinking and analysis).

  • Critically deliberate on, set and explain boundary choices along with potential consequences

  • Analysis of systems of small sizes

Communication skills (personal and academic).

  • Be able to present projects

Practical and subject specific skills (Transferable Skills).

  • Plan and undertake a group and individual projects,

  • Prepare and deliver coherent and structured verbal (online) and written (short) reports


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Students are expected to prepare their classes in advance and to actively participate in the lectures and group work.

Assessment method

Five weekly assignments (40% mark), and one large group assignment (60% mark). Within the group assignment, there is a section that should be done individually.


Five group assignments organized on a weekly basis, and one final assignment with the following weighing on the final grade:

  • Assignment 1: Complex systems - Pass / no pass

  • Assignment 2: Connecting the dots – 8%

  • Assignment 3: Causal loop diagram – 12%

  • Assignment 4: Design of value chains – 8%

  • Assignment 5: Stock and flows – 12%

  • Final assignment – 60%

Students can compensate among the weekly and final assignment. Condition: if a group is not present this group will get a fail that week.


Resit is possible for the weekly assignments. Only the weekly assignment that is failed, needs to be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

Oral (summative) feedback is given on a weekly basis. The written grade will be announced before the final assignment.

Reading list

In the course a combination of peer review (articles, book chapters) and non-peer review literature (news clips, reports, youtube videos) will be used.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. D. Xevgenos


MSc Industrial Ecology students can register for the course and exam via MystudyMap. Other students need to contact the study advisors of the programme via