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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.

When they arrive, students will be allocated a Director of Studies for the duration of the course, who are academic staff closely involved in the course. In addition, they will be allocated a Tutor for the group project and an individual supervisor for each piece of coursework. These will come from the group of Tutors and Supervisors (or from the core team). For the second-year thesis, supervisors will come from across the University, depending on the topic chosen. For more information on the academic support offered to students throughout the course, please see Support for students.

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

Your Director of Studies is responsible for overseeing your overall journey through the programme and responding to any substantive issues that might arise.

Tutors and supervisors

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

Dissertation supervisors for Master’s students

A 15,000-word research dissertation is the main assessed item produced during the second year if you are on the Master’s Programme. While undertaking their research towards the dissertation, you 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. The dissertation is marked by two independent assessors.


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

  • virtual tutorials and 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 you 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.


University and college information

Study resources

As members of the University, IDBE students are entitled to make use of the University Library.

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. 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

Join a webinar session hosted by the Directors of our part-time postgraduate courses as they give you an overview of our programmes and admissions process for 2023 applications and can answer your questions.


Blog: A day in the life of an IDBE student:

Hear from students as they share their experience of the programme and detail what an average day looks like on one of the residential workshops in Cambridge, UK. Read here.


Quick links

Built Environment home

Delivery format

Who should apply?

Course assignments and dissertation

Dissertation supervisors

Built Environment testimonials

Admissions requirements

Built Environment sources of funding

Information for employers

Professional networks

Support for students

What's the difference between an MSc and an MSt?


Course Enquiries

Becky Stanley, Senior Project Manager