CDIO Syllabus

The CDIO Syllabus

The CDIO Syllabus is the cornerstone of CDIO. It offers rational, complete, universal and generalizable goals for undergraduate engineering education.

Whether in its complete version or a condensed version, the CDIO Syllabus focuses on personal, interpersonal and system building skills, and leaves a placeholder for the disciplinary fundamentals appropriate for any specific field of engineering. It complements and significantly expands on ABET’s criteria.

With rationale, detail and broad applicability, the CDIO Syllabus’ principal value is that it can be generalized to serve as a model from which any university’s engineering programs may derive specific learning outcomes.

CDIO Syllabus 1.0

The first version of the CDIO Syllabus - CDIO Syllabus 1.0 - was presented in 2001. The  CDIO Syllabus Report is the definitive report on the creation of the Syllabus and offers useful ancillary information (e.g., taxonomy, sample stakeholder survey). New collaborators are recommended to familiarise themselves with the report. As a reference, the CDIO Syllabus 1.0 can be found in the menu to the right.

CDIO Syllabus 2.0

In 2011 a revised and updated CDIO Syllabus was presented, the CDIO Syllabus 2.0. The updates and revisions were based on comparisons with the UNESCO Four Pillars of Learning, with which it is aligned at a high level, national accreditation and evaluation standards of several nations and input received over the last decade since the Syllabus was originally written in 2001. The main work done was in part to add missing skills and in part to clarify nomenclature and make the Syllabus more explicit and more consistent with national standards. The result is called the CDIO Syllabus version 2.0. (Follow the link to read the study.)

CDIO Syllabus 3.0

The current version of the Syllabus was published in 2022 and considers three change drivers in particular that have affected what competences are desired of graduating engineers. One change driver is the growing awareness and evidence of the impact of human activities on our planetary system and ecosystems and the urgent needs for societal transformations to ensure sustainable living conditions for ourselves and future generations. Another change driver is digitalization as a key technology enabling engineers to address novel problems and existing problems in more effective ways, which also brings along new risks to mitigate. The third change driver is the conception of the world as accelerating, rapidly changing, and increasingly complex which is embodied in narratives about Industry 4.0, Society 5.0, and the VUCA world., requiring decision-makers to continually be ready to reconsider and adapt. In addition to these external driving forces, there is also within the international CDIO community extensive experience of the use and customization of the CDIO Syllabus. A fourth, internal change driver is thus to take into account the lessons learned from using the Syllabus in curriculum and course development. The result is called the CDIO Syllabus version 3.0. (Follow the link to read the study.)

CDIO Syllabus in foreign languages

The CDIO Syllabus has been translated into the following languages:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese


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