A Study of Complex Behavior in Systems


Program Overview • Dates & Times • Tuition & Fees • Program Goals • Venue • Faculty • Audience • Application Requirements • Outcomes


Program Overview

Complex Systems Summer School (CSSS) offers an intensive four-week introduction to complex behavior in mathematical, physical, living, and social systems. CSSS brings together graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professionals to transcend disciplinary boundaries, take intellectual risks, and ask big questions about complex systems. The residential program comprises a series of lectures and workshops devoted to theory and tools, applications-focused seminars, and discussions with faculty and fellow participants. CSSS participants put what they learn from these didactic sessions into practice through group research projects, conducted throughout the program and often extending into manuscripts and longer-term collaborations. CSSS provides an unparalleled opportunity for early-career researchers to expand their professional networks, produce a novel research product, and gain valuable experience working in transdisciplinary teams.

Dates & Times

June 12 - July 8, 2022

Summer School is a full-time (all-day) commitment. Participants are expected to attend the entire program.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition for participants from academic institutions: $4,500. 

Tuition for participants from the corporate/private sector: $6,000. 

Tuition covers course-related costs, accommodations, and meals. Students are responsible for the cost of travel.

Program Goals
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the theory and methods used to describe and predict the behavior of complex systems.
  • Explore the latest applications of complex systems science to diverse research questions
  • Collaborate on a transdisciplinary research project in complex systems science. Explore past CSSS projects on our Proceedings pages.
  • Connect with future colleagues and collaborators and the SFI research community

The Summer School sessions take place on the campuses of the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Participants are accommodated in student dormitories on the IAIA campus.The IAIA campus is located in a beautiful Southwest high desert setting with mountain views, extensive walking trails, and quiet places for contemplation, and a short drive to the SFI campus.


Program Director Dave Feldman is a professor of physics and mathematics at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. He has been involved in CSSS since 2004. Feldman served as co-director of CSSS Beijing from 2006 to 2008 and has directed CSSS in Santa Fe since 2017. He has published two books, one an introductory textbook on chaos and fractals and a book on dynamical systems that is part of the Primers in Complex Systems series. Feldman is a major contributor to Complexity Explorer, where you can take his courses on Dynamical Systems and Chaos and Fractals and Scaling

Complex Systems Summer School presenters include SFI Faculty and invited experts.


Applications are accepted from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and professionals in any discipline, including fields not traditionally represented in the sciences (eg. the humanities or arts) who feel their work connects to a rigorous study of complex systems. 

Applicants from any country are welcome. Accepted applicants who are not US citizens or permanent residents will receive assistance with visa sponsorship as appropriate to their individual circumstances.


  • SFI policy requires participants to provide proof of complete and up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination prior to beginning the program.

The CSSS team is committed to offering inclusive educational programs in which all participants feel valued and supported in their learning journey. We believe that human diversity in all of its dimensions is essential to meaningful scientific progress. We believe that open discourse and respectful sharing of broad perspectives is essential for understanding our world and worlds beyond. We work to ensure our educational programs reflect and encourage this diversity and inclusivity, and we welcome you to join us.

Application Requirements

While the application period is open, access the SMApply application system through the "Apply now!" button.

Applicants should submit: 

  • Biographical information (filled out directly in the application portal).
  • A current academic cv or résumé, including a list of publications, if any.
  • A statement that describes your scholarly interests in complex systems and your goals in attending Summer School (maximum two pages).
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from a supervisor and one from a collaborator.