Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Princeton University

Global Systemic Risk

Princeton University via Coursera


What is globalization and how does it work? How can we understand the process as a whole? How are the parts of the world linked? What are the risks of living in a world where “no one is in charge”? This course introduces students to systems thinking, network theory, and risk analysis and uses these tools to better understand the process of globalization. Focusing on trade, finance, and epidemiology, it analyzes potential challenges to the current global order. The course will be of interest to those studying global affairs, system dynamics, and world governance. It offers a set of heuristics that students can use to analyze contemporary global challenges. Linking the recording of Abbey Road to the COVID-19 pandemic provides new insights into the apparently chaotic world around us. Complex systems form the backbone of our increasingly interconnected and interdependent society. What were once more localized economies, supply chains, and social-ecological systems are now rapidly globalizing, and interacting with one another across countless spatial and temporal scales as technologies expand at ever greater velocities. These tightly coupled systems deliver greater efficiency and prosperity, but at the cost of greater fragility and the threat of catastrophic failure. This “global systemic risk” has implications in all functional domains affecting our daily lives—from the global financial system to healthcare, to critical infrastructure networks. Organized with 7-10 minute classes grouped together into longer modules, the course will have a linear “core” curriculum presented at the introductory level, with the potential for optional offshoots that give learners a more in-depth look into certain areas with more technical content.


  • Week 1: Introduction, What is Globalization, Debating Globalization
    • Welcome to Week 1 in which we define and analyze what we mean by globalization. In these lectures, you will be introduced to the origins, benefits, and costs of globalization.
  • Week 2: Systems and Networks
    • In Week 2, we learn about the concept of systems analysis and the insights it provides into a complex world.
  • Week 3: Risk and GSR
    • Welcome to Week 3! At the end of this week, you will be better able to identify the sources of risk in our contemporary world and to integrate the concepts of globalization, systems, networks, and risk.
  • Week 4: Trade and Finance
    • Money and trade make the world go round, but the system is fragile.
  • Week 5: COVID-19 and Governance
    • In Week 5, we analyze COVID-19 through a GSR lens and discuss the challenge of governing a global system.
  • Week 6: Collapse
    • In this last unit, we finish with a discussion of what the worst that could happen is.

Taught by

Miguel A. Centeno


4.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 286 ratings

Start your review of Global Systemic Risk

  • This audit-only/no-certificate course could never be more timely than right now, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensibility of the material is improved substantially by a living, immersive example: the current global situation hit…
  • Profile image for Garuba Ojo Fredericks
    Garuba Ojo Fredericks
    We live in an increasingly interdependent world that revolves around complex systems where the outcome of happenings in one part has its effect on other parts, and the term used to describe this phenomenon is globalization. Global systemic risk has…

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.