Worldwide CDIO Initiative Standards

In January 2004, the CDIO Initiative adopted 12 standards to describe CDIO programs. These guiding principles were developed in response to program leaders, alumni, and industry partners who wanted to know how they would recognize CDIO programs and their graduates.

The main role of these 12 CDIO Standards is to serve as a guideline for educational program reform and evaluation, create benchmarks and goals with worldwide application, and provide a framework for continuous improvement. There is no formal certification as a CDIO Program; each institution/institutional department self-certifies using the CDIO Standards and demonstrates certification to its normal accrediting agency or organization. The CDIO Standards allow other academics and industry to identify clearly CDIO Programs and their graduates.

The 12 CDIO Standards:

  • Define the distinguishing features of a CDIO program;
  • Serve as guidelines for educational program reform and evaluation;
  • Create benchmarks and goals with worldwide application; and
  • Provide a framework for continuous improvement.

The 12 CDIO Standards address program philosophy (Standard 1), curriculum development (Standards 2, 3 and 4), design-build experiences and workspaces (Standards 5 and 6), new methods of teaching and learning (Standards 7 and 8), faculty development (Standards 9 and 10), and assessment and evaluation (Standards 11 and 12).

Seven are considered essential because they distinguish CDIO programs from other educational reform initiatives; five supplementary standards significantly enrich a CDIO program and reflect best practice in engineering education.

For each standard, the description explains the meaning of the standard, the rationale highlights reasons for setting the standard, and the rubric is a scoring guide that seeks to evaluate levels of performance.

The CDIO Standards have been updated in 2016 and 2020, in order the keep the Standards up-to-date with respect to innovations in engineering education. In 2020, a first set of CDIO Optional Standards was introduced, providing additional opportunities for a CDIO program to express its’ profile and to guide its’ future development.

The CDIO Initiative is here to help you to adapt, implement, and maintain a CDIO program. The CDIO Initiative includes experts and experienced individuals who can assist you with everything from stakeholder surveys, to assessment studies, to partnering with other CDIO adopters. Contact us here

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