Syllabus for Complex Systems in Technology and Society - Technology

Komplexa system i teknik och samhälle - teknik


  • 10 credits
  • Course code: 1FA455
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Technology A1F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2020-02-25
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2021-03-26
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2022
  • Entry requirements:

    145 credits including Thesis Project STS and 90 credits in engineering. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • use probabilistic methods and tools for safety assessment,
  • conduct comprehensive analyses of complex systems taking humans, technology and organisation into account,
  • identify, apply and assess different models for PSA and MTO risk analysis in real situations,
  • discuss the possibilities of technology, its risks and the interaction between technology and humans,
  • orally and in writing present and discuss problems, solutions and conclusions,
  • review and provide constructive criticism on a technical report.


The course is a project based course where students do a risk analysis of a complex dynamic system. Students work in groups to implement a Probabilistic Safety Analysis (PSA) and a Man, Technology and Organisation (MTO) analysis. Depending on project selection and supervisor access, projects can be made in nuclear activities, IT systems, industry, transport, or any other complex system.

PSA: risk, risk assessment, risk management, event trees, fault trees, basic and top events, minimal cut and path sets, reliability block diagram, structure function, reliability and unreliability, failure distributions, common cause failure, uncertainties in PSA, databases.

MTO: systems concept, human reliability analysis, safety culture, organisational security, sharp-end blunt end, human errors and violations, barriers, behaviour, cognitive ergonomics, human factors engineering, human cognition, cognitive system, resilience engineering.


Lectures, computer lab, group and project work.


Written project reports of PSA (4 credits) and MTO (4 credits). Oral project presentation (1 credit). Written opposition (1 credit).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2022

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Web-based material from NASA - Probabilistic Risk Assessment - Fault Tree Handbook Accompanying literature and articles will be provided during the course depending on the selected projects.

Last modified: 2022-04-26