University of Primorska Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies

Sustainable Built Environments


General information

Name of the programme: Sustainable Built Environments
Type of programme: Master's, 2nd Bologna cycle
Degree awarded: "magister inženir trajnostnega grajenega okolja" equiv. to a Master's degree in built environment engineering
Duration: 2 years (4 semesters)
ECTS-credits: 120
Programme structure: 15 courses (90 ECTS), Master's Thesis (30 ECTS)
Mode of study: full-time
Language of study: Slovene and English

Programme coordinatortop

Assist. Prof. Matthew John Schwarzkopf, PhD

Assoc. Prof. Andreja Kutnar, PhD, Deputy Coordinator

For information regarding application, enrolment and other administrative procedures please contact Student Services.

About the programmetop

The study programme offers a complete set of skills and knowledge in the fields of engineering, wood, and architectural science. These skills not only have the advantage of being highly applicative in the natural environment, but offer an interdisciplinary approach that is necessary to keep up with the development of contemporary construction science, or successfully work in the academic sector, public administration, or the economy.

The main goal of the study programme is to train and educate students to develop, construct, and renovate buildings and structures that take into consideration human health as well as environmental and social impacts. This programme is intended for civil engineering and wood science graduates who wish to deepen their knowledge of sustainable building design as well as obtain new knowledge.

Graduates will be able to solve complicated problems and face challenges that arise in the field of the sustainable built environment. They will also be able to cooperate in research and development work within construction, building, and civil engineering institutions or begin independent scientific research work at research institutes.

Educational and professional goalstop

  • To enable a deeper knowledge of the sustainable built environment
  • To present to students the importance of analytical thinking and arguing, as well as the usefulness of a variety of problem-solving methods within the field of sustainable built environments
  • To educate and train students, and encourage them to use their obtained expertise in practice
  • To develop the ability to reason, prove and form arguments within the field of sustainable built environments
  • To recognize the relationships between different scientific disciplines that play a role in designing the built environment
  • To develop the skill of analyzing given data to form new conclusions
  • To develop a collaborative spirit for problem-solving
  • To educate students in using modern technology to solve and present problems and concepts related to the sustainable built environment
  • To develop a positive attitude toward gaining further knowledge of topics in the field of sustainable built environments
  • To emphasize the importance of proper communication and expression, either with symbols or through speech and writing
  • To develop a sense for correctly identifying a given situation and selecting the appropriate skills, knowledge and techniques to address it

Course structuretop

During their studies, students must take a total of 15 courses and prepare and defend their Master's thesis. The courses are divided into compulsory courses (12) and elective courses (3).

Internally elective courses are those that fall within the professional field of sustainable built environments. Within the externally elective courses, students can select courses that are a part of postgraduate study programmes in the fields of construction and sustainable management. Students may select these externally elective courses within the framework of accredited study programmes offered by higher education institutions in Slovenia and abroad. Considering the student’s specific interests, generally related to their Master’s thesis,  students may select their electives from study programmes in other academic fields. Students may decide to select internally elective courses instead of externally elective courses.

Short descriptions of courses are available here.

Table 1: Structure of the study programme
Year of study  Study obligation Number  ECTS-credits (ECTS)
ECTS ECTS/Year of study
1. Compulsory Course 9 54 60
Internal Elective Course 1 6
2. Compulsory Course 3 18 60
Extrenal / internal Elective Course 1 6
Extrenal Elective Course 1 6
Master's Thesis 1 30
Table 2: First year of study
No. Courses ECTS Forms of contact hours
L SE T LW FW Total
1. Mathematics 6 35 - 20 - - 55
2. Building Physics 6 35 - 20 - - 55
3. Construction Materials 6 35 - 15 20 5 75
4. Wood Science and Technology 6 30 10 15 - - 55
5. Renewable and Wood-based Materials in Construction 6 30 10 15 - 5 60
6. Statistics 6 45 - - 30 - 75
7. Wood Composites 6 30 10 10 - - 50
8. Forest Products Value Chain 6 30 10 15 - - 55
9. Building Energy Simulation 6 25 - - 25 - 50
10. Internal Elective Course 6            

L = lecture, SE = seminar
T = tutorial, LW = laboratory work, FW = field work
ECTS  = ECTS-credits

Table 3: Second year of study
No. Courses ECTS Forms of contact hours
L SE T LW FW Total
1. Energy Efficient Building Design 6 30 10 10 - 5 55
2. Wood Design and Structural Analysis 6 30 10 15 - - 55
3. Sustainable and Restorative Environments 6 30 10 15 - 5 60
4. Elective Course 2 - Internally or Externally Selected 6            
5. Elective Course 3 - Externally Selected 6            
6. Master's Thesis 30            
Table 4: Internal Elective Course
(The list shows only elective courses offered in the last two academic years.)
No. Courses ECTS Forms of contact hours
L SE T LW FW Total
1. Energy Refurbishment of Buildings 6 30 10 10 - 5 55
2. Ergonomics and Built Environment 6 30 10 15 - - 55
3. Non-destructive Testing 3 20 - 10 - - 30
4. Modern History of Sustainable Architecture 6 25 10 - - - 35
5. Forest Products Marketing 3 15 5 10 - - 30
6. The Industrial Ecology of Timber 6 30 10 10 - 5 55
7. Principles of Innovation and Creativity 3 20 - 10 - - 30
8. Advanced Construction Products 6 25 10 10 - 5 50
9. Structural Systems of Timber Building 6 30 15 10 - 5 60
10. Sustainable Geotechnics 6 30 15 20 - - 65
11. Recycled Waste in Construction 6 30 - - 30 - 60

Elective Coursestop

During their study, students have to choose 3 elective courses (1 internal, 1 external and 1 internal or external). All courses are awarded 6 ECTS-credits.

INTERNAL elective courses are courses within the study programme; the list of all internal elective courses is available in the section (table 4). 

EXTERNAL elective courses: students may select external elective courses from study programmes provided by other institutions of higher education in Slovenia and internationally. The courses selected may fall within the fields of construction and sustainable management. Regarding to students' specific interest, a student can choose external elective courses from other study programmes too.
Students may also choose a course from the set of internal elective courses as an external elective course.

Every academic year, the Faculty offers a different selection of elective courses from the internal elective courses listed. The Faculty tries to meet student interests within the limits of the Faculty’s resources. The final selection of elective courses for the next academic year is published in July. The coordinator will help guide students when choosing their elective courses.

Admission requirementstop

Admission to the 1st year shall be granted to applicants having:

  1. completed an undergraduate degree in the field of civil engineering or wood science; or
  2. completed a professional study programme (recognized prior to June 11th, 2004) in the field of civil engineering or wood science; or
  3. completed a study programme in other professional fields equivalent to the study programmes mentioned under 1) and 2) in terms of duration and credit points, on the condition that the candidate completes additional examinations in the SBE subject matter essential for continuing their studies (up to 30 ECTS), the content and credit points of which depend on the study programme the candidate has already completed. Additional study obligations are assigned to the student by a Study Committee.

If additional study obligations are required, candidates complete these during their undergraduate degree through special training courses or by taking exams prior to their enrolment in the study programme.

Admission may also be gained by an applicant having completed a comparable study abroad. Prior to enrolment, the applicant must apply for the recognition of completed education.

If there are enrolment restrictions, candidates will be selected on the basis of grade point average and diploma thesis from their undergraduate study programme.

Continuation of studies according to the transfer criteriatop

Transferring between study programmes is possible based on the stipulations of the Slovene Higher Education Act, Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes and in accordance with other subject regulations.

A transfer between programmes means the cessation of a student’s education at the institution the student is transferring from and the continuation of education at the institution the student is transferring to. When transferring, the comparability of study programmes and study obligations completed during the first study programme are taken into consideration and are evaluated on an individual basis.

According to the criteria for transferring, a student in a postgraduate study programme can enrol in the 2nd year of the study programme, if the following requirements are met:

  1. the student fulfils the requirements for admission in the postgraduate study programme, Sustainable Built Environments;
  2. the study programme the student is transferring from ensures the acquisition of competencies comparable to those of the Sustainable Built Environments study programme;
  3. other criteria are met, according to the criteria for transferring (comparable curriculum, comparable study requirements, which the student has successfully completed in the first study programme).

According to the criteria for transferring between study programmes, students of a comparable foreign study programme can enrol, providing they have been, in accordance with the law, granted the right to continue their educational training in the study programme of Sustainable Built Environments.

In the case of enrolment restrictions, candidates are selected on the basis of grade point average of the study programme from which the candidate is transferring.

Individual applications for enrolment according to the criteria for transferring are examined by a Study Committee. During the examination the commission will consider both the relatedness of the professional fields and the comparability of the study programmes in accordance with the Criteria for Transferring between Study Programmes. The Committee can also assign additional prerequisite exams.

Advancement requirementstop

To enrol in the second year of the study programme, a student must gain a minimum of 48 ECTS from courses and requirements in the first year.

A student may be admitted to the second year of study without meeting the aforementioned progression requirements, but must have justifiable reasons for doing so, including: maternity, illness, extenuating family and social circumstances, special needs status, active participation in top-level professional, cultural, and sporting events, active participation in university bodies, etc. on the condition that they have gained at least 42 ECTS in the first year. In such cases, individual applications are processed by a Study Committee.

In accordance with the provisions of the Slovenian Higher Education Act, a student who fails to meet the progression criteria determined by the study programme may repeat a year only once during their studies, on the condition that they gained at least 24 ECTS during the first year of enrolment.

By advancing or repeating a year, students maintain their student status and with it the rights and benefits, as stipulated by the Act and the Statute of the University of Primorska. In accordance with the Act and Statute of the University of Primorska, students may apply for an extension of their student status for a maximum of one year.

To complete the study programme, all study requirements, as defined by the curricula and the study programme, need to be completed. Students write their Master’s thesis under the guidance of their mentor, chosen in the second year of study. Preparation of the thesis and the thesis itself must be undertaken in accordance with the guidelines for the preparation of the Master’s thesis.

Graduate competenciestop

General competencies

  • Ability to employ critical thinking and self-assessment
  • Ability to generate new and creative ideas
  • Ability to use acquired knowledge and skills in practice
  • Capacity to conduct scientific research on an adequate level
  • Ability to constructively interact with others, regardless of their cultural background, respecting diversity
  • Capacity to take initiative and promote entrepreneurial and intellectual curiosity
  • Ability to assess and maintain a high quality of work
  • Competence to conduct work in an international environment

Subject-specific competencies

  • Ability to describe a given situation using correct symbols, units, and statements
  • Demonstrate an understanding of concepts and principles of the sustainable built environment
  • Ability to solve construction-related problems (and problems in general) using modern technology
  • Ability to critically analyse a given problem
  • Deduction of new logical conclusions from a given dataset
  • Capacity to face problems related to the sustainable built environment with confidence and to find solutions
  • Capacity to analyse, synthesise, and predict solutions and consequences of factors within the field of construction with regard to sustainable development
  • Critical judgement of events and developments within the field of sustainable built environments
  • Ability to seek, obtain, and incorporate new knowledge independently
  • Ability to seek out and interpret new information and place it within the context of civil engineering
  • Ability to perform independent work
  • Understanding of the applicative value of mathematics and statistics
  • Understanding construction materials from a microscopic to a macroscopic level
  • Capacity to characterize material properties
  • Ability to design wooden structures
  • Knowledge and understanding of the themes of health preservation in the built environment, as well as understanding risk factors in this context
  • Ability to assess the environmental impact of construction materials and buildings
  • Ability to analyse an existing building and to design a building energy renovation project
  • Understanding the importance of alternative material sources within the field of sustainable construction

Graduate employment opportunitiestop

Graduates will be able to find employment in the building sector concerned with sustainable building construction, especially wood construction companies. Graduates will also be able to find employment in other fields where knowledge of sustainable development and wood science are required, such as strategic and logistic departments of larger companies.

Employment opportunities await graduates in other industry sectors as well, including the biotechnology sector. These opportunities are enhanced if the graduate gains additional skills and knowledge through elective courses.

Graduates can be involved in research and development work in a variety of institutions or begin independent scientific research.