Purpose: The objective of the paper is to identify and model the relevant enablers related to the issue of adoption and implementation of project-based learning (PjBL) in higher educational institutions. Design/methodology/approach: The present study has developed an integrated model using interpretive structural modeling (ISM) and the Fuzzy Matrice d' Impacts Croises Multiplication Appliqué an Classement (FMICMAC) approach, which helps to identify and classify the important enablers and reveal the direct and indirect effects of each enabler on the PjBL implementation in higher educational institutions. Findings: The paper has identified the key enablers and presented an integrated model using ISM and FMICMAC. The result shows that there exists a group of enablers having a high driving power and low dependence requiring maximum attention and strategic importance, while another group consists of those enablers that have high dependence and are the resultant actions. Research limitations/implications: The study proposes a scientific way to model the relevant enablers to implementation of PjBL. This would help higher educational institutions to prioritize the enablers as these are hierarchically structured. The model is based on the experts' opinions, which may be biased, influencing the final output of the structural model. Originality/value: Enablers are building blocks for the adoption of PjBL. The study presents an integrated model using ISM and FMICMAC to identify and categorize various key enablers of PjBL adoption in higher education institutions. The results will help higher educational institutions to focus on the right enablers for the successful implementation of PjBL in their programs. © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.