This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

Discrete and Continuous Simulation covers the main paradigms of simulation modelling; discrete-event simulation and system dynamics. These two approaches have been very widely applied and proved their value in many diverse and significant studies.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£1,925 Concessions available

Course structure

This 5-day course is taught by a mix of lectures and exercises, including computer practicals.

What you will learn

The increasing complexity and unpredictable nature of many systems means that simulation is often the only method of analysis sufficiently powerful to offer any real insight into system behaviour. Whether modelling military, industrial, business, social or other systems, many practitioners regard simulation as the most powerful tool at their disposal.

This course introduces participants to the main paradigms of simulation modelling:

  • discrete-event simulation,
  • system dynamics.

These powerful approaches have been widely and successfully applied and offer different but complementary worldviews.

Core content

Course topics:

  • simulation modelling paradigms,
  • conceptual models,
  • activity cycle diagrams, causal loop diagrams,
  • input modelling (the selection and fitting of appropriate probability distributions for stochastic simulations),
  • output analysis (methods for comparing and analysing the results of simulation experiments),
  • discrete Event Simulation principles and types of software,
  • developing and experimenting with Discrete Event Simulation models using an appropriate software package (currently SIMUL8),
  • system Dynamics principles (variable types, feedback, delays, time-stepping),
  • developing and experimenting with System Dynamics models using an appropriate software package (currently Vensim).

Upgrade to a professional qualification

When taken as a Short Course for Credit, 10 credit points can be put towards the Defence Simulation and Modelling MSc and Military Operational Research MSc.

Find out more about short course credit points.

Who should attend

This course is suitable for scientists, engineers, and numerate analysts and consultants who need to learn about or undertake simulation modelling. There are no formal requirements for the Short Course.


Dr Ken McNaught


A limited number of MOD sponsored places are available.

There are limited places on these modules. You may not receive an offer until places have been confirmed, usually 1 to 2 weeks before the start date.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.