Small Hydropower for Sustainable Development

Electricity has undoubtedly become an indispensable part of our modern community. The options on how to provide electricity depend mainly on the national availability of the respective resources and have of course different impacts on the environment.

Waiting to be exploited

Electricity from hydropower, focusing on small hydropower, is renewable and environmentally sound. Hydropower contributes 75 % of total global renewable electricity production and in several countries world-wide, hydropower is the backbone of the supply system. Two thirds of the global hydropower potential is still untapped and is waiting to be exploited by well-educated engineers.

    Through completing the training, participants have detailed knowledge of the field of small hydropower and in equally important neighboring fields.
    The educational objective and skills to be achieved can be concretized as follows:

    • a thorough knowledge of all the fundamentals of hydropower utilization
    • specific knowledge of hydromechanics
    • specific knowledge of hydrology and hydrography
    • a thorough knowledge of all components and their function
    • a thorough knowledge of environmental impacts and their compensation
    • ability to assess existing power plants as well as power plant projects in terms of quality and efficiency
    • ability to plan a power plant until concessioning

    Information & Contact


    If you have any questions feel free to contact:

    Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bernhard Pelikan
    BOKU Vienna and CUAS (FH Kärnten)

    +43 5 90500 4302

    Qualification awarded
    Master of Science (MSc) 

    ECTS Credits

    € 4.500,- per semester

    Duration of study
    4 terms

    Mode of study
    Distance Learning Program

    Language of instruction

    Learning Target & Content

    Participants of the master’s degree course "Small Hydropower for Sustainable Development" will not only gain deep knowledge of how to create, design, construct, operate and evaluate small hydropower plants of any kind, but also learn a lot about the context of the hydropower engineering process. Topics including the ecological and social environment and economic considerations are also covered. In several subjects the students will get trained by working on practical examples and applying theoretical content. Two design projects will be carried out under supervision including hydrological and hydraulic calculations, drawings and technical reports describing the project.

    The master’s course “Small Hydropower for Sustainable Development” will be a correspondence course with the lecturers providing the study material via an internet platform. The students will be able to download all the material and have the option to contact the lecturers by email or Skype to ask questions. All the lectures are structured within modules providing the contents in a logical order. In some subjects the latest software will be provided by the lecturers and then directly applied.

    The course is completed with the writing of a master's thesis and a final panel exam. This consists of a telephone oral examination with the defence of the Master's thesis.



    Interviews are organized by telephone via Skype.

    The application documents must be scanned and sent to Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bernhard Pelikan, shsdcuasat. To apply, officially certified copies of all certificates/documents in the original language and, if necessary, appropriate translations into German or English language are to be submitted with the application for admission. 

    Admission Requirements:

    • a completed  relevant bachelor's degree (environmental engineering, electrical engineering, construction) from a university or college
    • a completed  technical diploma or master's degree from a university or technical college
    • a completed magister, diploma or master's degree in natural sciences or economics from a university or college plus a minimum of three years hydropower-related experience
    • a minimum of five years of relevant skilled work involving hydropower
    • In addition:
    • English language ability: minimum - matura level or CEFR Level B2
    • students must be equipped with a powerful internet connection during their studies. In addition, a laptop with integrated camera or equivalent equipment is required.

    The final decision on the fulfillment of the admission requirements lies with the course management.