Program Description

The Systems Science program provides qualified students with the opportunity for master's-level study in a broad range of areas that emphasize transdisciplinary work in the context of general systems analysis. The emphasis in Systems Science is on the development of analytical and integration skills for use in the resolution of complex applied problems that require a broad-based perspective.

Many professors in Information Technology and Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Administration, Economics, and other disciplines are active in the Systems Science program as instructors, student advisers and thesis directors. Others are interested in ongoing Systems Science activities including the seminar series, and Systems Science applications days.

The graduate program in System Science is an interdisciplinary program specially designed for those who are interested in the analysis and modelling (mathematical and computer) of natural and man-made systems. It provides the professional with skills and knowledge required to understand, control, predict and optimize behaviour in a variety of fields from engineering and computer science to management and applied economics. The program is supervised by a Committee composed of representatives from the Department of Economics, the School of Information Technology and Engineering, the Telfer School of Management, and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

To accommodate part-time students, the core courses are usually offered in the late afternoon or evening.

Main Areas of Research

Their areas of research, both theoretical and applied, span a wide variety of fields:

  • Operations research
  • Deterministic and probabilistic modelling
  • Optimization
  • Computer science
  • Information systems
  • Control
  • Economic modelling

Other Programs Offered Within the Same Discipline or in a Related Area

  • Graduate Diploma Systems Science
  • Master of Systems Science (MSysSc)
  • Master of Science Systems Science Specialization in Environmental Sustainability (MSc)

Fees and Funding

  • Program fees:

The estimated amount for university fees associated with this program are available under the section Finance your studies.

International students enrolled in a French-language program of study may be eligible for a differential tuition fee exemption.


  • Programs are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies.
  • In accordance with the University of Ottawa regulation, students have the right to complete their assignments, examinations, research papers, and theses in French or in English. Research activities can be conducted either in English, French or both, depending on the language used by the professor and the members of his or her research group.

Program Contact Information

Graduate Studies Office, Faculty of Engineering

STE 1024

800 King Edward Ave.

Ottawa ON Canada

K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5347

Fax.: 613-562-5129


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For the most accurate and up to date information on application deadlines, language tests and other admission requirements, please visit the specific requirements webpage.

To be eligible, candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Mathematics, Operations Research, Science or a related area with a minimum average of B (70%).

Note: International candidates must check the admission equivalencies for the diploma they received in their country of origin.

  • Undergraduate courses in probability, linear algebra, differential equations and computer programming are prerequisites for the core courses of the Program. Details regarding the level and content of prerequisite courses are included in the information package which is sent to all applicants. If a student lacks any of these courses, he will normally be required to complete them as a condition of admission. Entering students who lack the required undergraduate preparation may be permitted to enter a qualifying program.
  • Identify at least one professor who is willing to supervise your research and thesis. We recommend that you contact potential thesis supervisors as soon as possible.

Language Requirements

Applicants must be able to understand and fluently speak the language of instruction (French or English) in the program to which they are applying. Proof of linguistic proficiency may be required.

Applicants whose first language is neither French nor English must provide proof of proficiency in the language of instruction.

Note: Candidates are responsible for any fees associated with the language tests.


  • The admission requirements listed above are minimum requirements and do not guarantee admission to the program.
  • Admissions are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies.
  • No equivalencies or advanced standing are granted. A student who has already successfully completed some of the compulsory units, may be allowed to replace those units with elective units. For details, see the general regulations in effect for graduate studies, section B 2.7 c).

Master’s with Thesis

Students must meet the following requirements:

Compulsory Courses: 1
SYS 5160Systems Integration3 Units
12 course units from the following:12 Units
Systems Engineering
Foundation of Modelling and Simulation
Applied Probability
Systems Optimization and Management
Economic System Design
3 elective course units at the graduate level 23 Units
Thesis Proposal:
SYS 7990Master Thesis Proposal 3
THM 7999Master's Thesis 4


Minimum Requirements

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 units) must withdraw from the program.

Research Fields & Facilities

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, a few steps away from Parliament Hill, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top 10 research universities.

uOttawa focuses research strengths and efforts in four Strategic Areas of Development in Research (SADRs):

  • Canada and the World
  • Health
  • e-Society
  • Molecular and Environmental Sciences

With cutting-edge research, our graduate students, researchers and educators strongly influence national and international priorities.

Research at the Faculty of Engineering

Areas of research:

  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Mechanical Engineering

For more information, refer to the list of faculty members and their research fields on Uniweb

IMPORTANT: Candidates and students looking for professors to supervise their thesis or research project can also consult the website of the faculty or department of their program of choice. Uniweb does not list all professors authorized to supervise research projects at the University of Ottawa.

SYS 5010 Foundations of Simulation (2 crédits / 2 units)

Volet / Course Component: Cours magistral / Lecture

SYS 5100 Systems Engineering (3 units)

Controllability and observability, Euler-Lagrange equations, Pontryagin maximum principle, dynamic programming, linear quadratic regulator problem, matrix Ricatti differential equations and properties of their solution, design of optimal regulator based on steady state solution of the Ricatti differential equation, time optimal control, LaSalle bang-bang principle, applications to motor speed control, satellite attitude control, etc.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisites: CSI 1100 and MAT 2341 and (MAT 2324 or MAT 2331) and MAT 2371 and MAT 2375.

SYS 5110 Foundation of Modelling and Simulation (3 units)

Fundamental aspects of systems modelling and the simulation process. Elements of continuous system simulation. Issues relating to the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations. Elements of discrete event simulation Generation of random numbers and variates. Simulation validation and quality assurance. Introduction to simulation languages.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisites: CSI 1100 and MAT 2341 and (MAT 2324 or MAT 2331) and MAT 2371 and MAT 2375.

SYS 5120 Applied Probability (3 units)

An introduction to stochastic processes, with emphasis on regenerative phenomena. Review of limit theorems and conditioning. The Poisson process. Renewal theory and limit theorems for regenerative processes; Discrete-time and continuous-time Markov processes with countable state space. Applications to queueing.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisites: MAT 2341 and MAT 2371 and MAT 2375.

SYS 5130 Systems Optimization and Management (3 units)

Analysis of user requirements and model design. Data mining. Use of optimization software. Systems thinking and its application to economic systems and hierarchical systems. Applications to economic systems simulation, modeling, optimization and management.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisites: CSI 1100 and MAT 2341 and (MAT 2324 or MAT 2331).

SYS 5140 Economic System Design (3 units)

Introduction to the epistemology of systems thinking and its application to economic systems. Basic concepts of complex systems thinking including hierarchical systems and economic systems simulation and behaviour. Soft systems thinking. Examples from other fields of application will be reviewed from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisites: CSI 1100 and MAT 2341 and (MAT 2324 or MAT 2331) and MAT 2371 and MAT 2375.

SYS 5160 Systems Integration (3 units)

Planning, design of complex systems from continuous to discrete time. Synthesis of systems methodology. State estimation. Parameters indentification. Discretization and stochastic effects. Dynamic, logic control. Modelling, discrete event, simulation examples.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisites: Two of the following: SYS 5100, SY S5110, SYS 5120, SYS 5130, SYS 5140.

SYS 5180 Topics in Systems Science (3 units)

Course Component: Research

SYS 5190 Directed Readings in Systems Science (3 units)

Course Component: Lecture

SYS 5580 Thèmes en science des systèmes (3 crédits)

Volet : Cours magistral

Prerequisite: SYS 5180

SYS 5590 Lectures dirigées en science des systèmes (3 crédits)

Volet : Cours magistral

SYS 5901 Séminaire de recherche sur les systèmes environnementaux / Research Seminar on Environmental Systems

Volet / Course Component: Cours magistral / Lecture

SYS 5975 Projet en science des systèmes / Project in Systems Science (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

SYS 5980 Thèmes en science des systèmes / Topics in Systems Science (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

SYS 7990 Proposition de thèse de maîtrise / Master Thesis Proposal

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research