Research course

Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment

University of Cambridge · Department of Architecture

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from professionals in the built environment who have the following: At least three years of professional experience in the built environment since graduating. Generally a good first degree (equivalent to a 2.1 or better from a UK university) is required, although each year we have successful applicants from non-standard backgrounds. If you think you are a non-standard applicant (you have alternative experience and qualification requirements), please contact the IDBE Office attaching a copy of your curriculum vitae, and we will give you an initial indication of whether you are likely to be considered favourably.

Months of entry


Course content

IDBE is a transformative part-time master’s course at the University of Cambridge, for global practitioners working in the built environment. Through intensive, themed residential weeks we deliver a bespoke learning experience which develops individual and professional skills in multidisciplinary teamwork, the design process and individual research. For 20 years we have been equipping our graduates with enhanced skills, knowledge and professional networks to solve the challenges facing our industry by becoming innovative, dynamic and successful leaders.

There are seven, separate residential weeks over two years which are structured around key themes which change and develop in response to new challenges. Specific issues covered include technical innovations such as BIM and low carbon energy and materials, political and regulatory changes, and the more intangible issues which form part of our daily lives as professionals working in the complex socio-technical system of the built environment. It is unique in Cambridge as the only course to be offered not just between two departments, but between two schools of study– the School of Technology (the Department of Engineering ) and the School of Arts and Humanities (the Department of Architecture).

The course does not have written exams on the factual content of the lectures. You are asked to produce written assignments, but it is entirely up to you which areas you choose to study in more detail, store to use later in your careers, or just enjoy for the purpose of expanding your general knowledge. Along the way you will develop core skills in critical thinking and reflection, helping you to understand the multiple disciplines and complex structure of the construction industry and professions.

Information for international students

International students must be able to demonstrate a good command of English, reaching the required standard of the University.

Fees and funding

UK students
£7,080 per year
International students
£7,080 per year

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months

Course contact details

IDBE Course Administrator
01223 760117