skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Support for students

Students are supported in a number of different ways throughout the course to help develop the skills needed to successfully complete the programme. 

Programme staff

The programme is designed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which has over 30 years' experience of designing and delivering leadership programmes on sustainability. The CISL team is responsible for all elements of the programme design, management, administration and oversight of the academic process.  

The programme is delivered by a faculty of academic and industry tutors, professionals and practitioners. Dissertation supervisors are drawn from key departments within the University of Cambridge. 

Directors of Studies 

The Director of Studies is responsible for overseeing student’s overall journey through the programme and responding to any substantive issues that might arise. 

Assignment Supervisors 

Supervisors play a central role in guiding and supporting completion of the written assignments. They facilitate the Group Research Project and supervise individual assignments through face-to-face and virtual supervisions. 

Dissertation supervisors for Master’s students 

A 15,000-word research dissertation is the main assessed item produced during the second year of the Master’s Programme. While undertaking their search towards the dissertation, students receive oversight from an academic supervisor. Supervisors are selected for their topic-specific and research expertise. A broad spectrum of topics and research methodologies can be accommodated by drawing on academics from across the University and, if necessary, leading external experts.  


Virtual learning

Virtual learning is an important part of the programme experience, providing opportunities for students to learn from each other as they engage with the latest thinking, applied to critical built environment issues. 

Between the residential workshops, students participate in an e-learning programme and other non-residential learning activities, designed to complement the workshop themes and support the learning journey. This includes: 

  • virtual supervisions to support the assignments and dissertation process 

  • content-based e-modules 

  • working through preparatory documents, including prescribed readings/videos/audios, in advance of each workshop. 

The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) 

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is the main platform through which these activities are facilitated. The VLE also provides an avenue for communications between students and the Programme team, and to make available supplementary material, such as slides used by presenters and links to useful websites, articles, and other resources. The VLE has been developed using Moodle. This robust and user-friendly open-source software is widely used by providers of online learning, including the UK’s Open University. 

The password protected VLE can be accessed via the internet using a standard internet browser. 

Study resources

As members of the University, IDBE students are entitled to make use of the University Library digital collection and have access to the University Librarians.  Master’s students have access to the physical libraries and may borrow books if required, although as part-time students who are not often in Cambridge, almost all students conduct their work using the University’s extensive electronic resources. 


University and college information for Master’s students 

College membership

Master's students joining IDBE will become members of Wolfson College, a college specifically established for mature and postgraduate students. Wolfson College offers many opportunities for informal association between IDBE course members and members of the college from other academic and disciplines and provides an extension of the cross-discipline links that underlines the IDBE ethos.  They offer a number of virtual and in person events to support their students and have a dedicated College library and librarian. Membership is lifelong. 

University life

As matriculated students of the University of Cambridge, IDBE Master's students automatically become members of the University Centre which has bars, restaurants, cafes, computer and reading rooms. This membership will continue after completion of the course. 


For information on obtaining a life-long cantab university email address, worldwide alumni groups and much more, visit the University's Alumni website


Meet the Directors webinars

Join a live webinar session hosted by the Directors of our part-time postgraduate courses as they give you an overview of our programmes and admissions process and answer your questions.


More information

Sustainable Built Environment Courses Overview

Who should apply? 

Email the team

If you can't find the answer to your query on the website please get in touch with the team here: