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Master of Studies in Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment (IDBE)

Applications for 2018 are open. Apply for a place here.


Two years, part-time

Tuition fee

£9,960 per year which includes college membership and tuition fees. This does not include accommodation and meals, but you will benefit from reduced rates at Wolfson College.

Residential workshop dates (2017 intake)

10–16 September 2017; 3–9 December 2017; 18–24 March 2018; 9–15 December 2018; 24–30 March 2019; 16–22 June 2019

Entry requirements

• At least a 2.1 honours degree from a UK University or an equivalent standard from an overseas institution
• A minimum of three years' post-qualification work experience in the built environment
• Good ability in written and spoken English language to the required University standard


About the IDBE

The Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment (IDBE) is a two-year part-time Master's course for built environment professionals, offered by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and supported by the Departments of Architecture and Engineering. It is structured around emerging trends, opportunities, and challenges within the built environment such as building information modelling and low carbon energy and materials, political and regulatory changes.

The Master’s attracts candidates looking to expand their understanding of global challenges and opportunities facing the industry. The programme equips professionals for strategic decision-making, inventive problem solving and evidence-based design and provides the skills and confidence to support and lead interdisciplinary design teams.

Visit the IDBE website to discover how previous IDBE graduates have used the course to accelerate their career.

For further information, download a brochure. To register your interest in the 2018 course, please .


Who should attend?

IDBE is for all those involved in the commissioning, design, construction and management of projects in the built environment. Previous students have included architects, engineers, surveyors, planners, landscape designers, project managers, building economists, urban designers, client representatives, contractors, facility managers and construction litigators, amongst others.


What will I learn?

The six residential weeks are structured around current global challenges and opportunities facing the production of the built environment. Previous themes have included; sustainable construction and climate change; urbanism, change and future communities; the client, the user and the design team; retrofit, conservation and adaptation; innovation, new technologies and materials; and personal development, teamwork and leadership.

Students are supported in their research assignments through dedicated individual supervisions. IDBE has a large pool of tutors with expertise in a wide range of areas including, but not limited to, retrofit, BIM, life cycle analysis, policy impacts and integrated design management.

You will also develop your network of cross-disciplinary, international, and like-minded professionals from previous IDBE cohorts as well as joining the CISL Network of nearly 8,000 sustainability professionals who represent business, the public sector and civil society in every industry and on every continent. 

Find out more about the course content, tutors and supervisors and examples of previous dissertations.


Why should I attend?

The Master’s is accredited by the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Highway Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation as meeting the requirements for further learning and by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors under their project management pathway.

Read testimonials from previous Master's students.


Interested in CISL’s work on resilient cities?

Visit the Cities Knowledge Hub for relevant case studies, publications and reports.


More information

if you'd like to discuss the Master's.

Visit the IDBE website and discover how previous IDBE graduates have used the course to accelerate their career.

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"IDBE has helped to reinvigorate my career both in academic and vocational terms and allowed me to establish a great network of similarly motivated professionals."

Paul Stanton, Transport Planner, Cohort IDBE 17

"We have sponsored almost 50 students to do IDBE over the 20 years of the course, many of whom are now in senior leadership positions. We value the broadening of thinking that the course demands of students, leading to an increased confidence in questioning and leading design decisions in the professional arena."

Deb Thomas, Director, Arup


Newport Mariner's Quay; credit: TECU Consulting UK; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic