Earth and Planetary Physics - Study line

Learn how to map, model and understand the interior of the Earth and other planets using satellite-, air- and drone-based methods.

Study line: Earth and Planetary Physics

Learn how to map, model and understand the shallow-to-deep interior of the Earth and other planets using satellite-, air- and drone-based methods.

Processes in Earth's interior control the nature and evolution of the Earth's surface, oceans and atmosphere. Understanding these processes, including the underlying physical structures and dynamics is, therefore, of fundamental importance to humanity. Comparisons with other planets can provide crucial insights here; it is a subject where much remains to be discovered.

A wide range of modern technologies today also rely on geophysical methods. Mapping and understanding structures near the surface of the Earth are critical to industries within offshore wind, geothermal energy, hazardous waste removal, large-scale construction (e.g. bridges and tunnels), and raw materials in general.

The study line 'Earth and Planetary Physics' (EPP) encompasses a range of science disciplines and applications dedicated to understanding the Earth's interior, from the near-surface to the core and on both local and global scales.

Mapping the Earth's gravity and magnetic fields from satellites, aircrafts, drones, or ground provides a key to the Earth's interior. Students following the study line EPP are involved in developing and applying new tools and technologies such as drone-borne magnetometer systems, field work in various settings, and advanced data analysis methods, including computational modelling, inverse theory, and machine learning to study processes in the Earth's interior. This EPP study line will teach graduates to engage in industry-standard near-surface physical methods and/or fundamental scientific problems relating to physical processes in the Earth's crust, mantle and core.

Student projects in EPP will focus on satellite, aircraft, drone and ground-based data, mainly gravity and/or magnetic data, as well as computational modelling, inverse and machine learning methods for data analysis. Projects may include data from related disciplines, such as electromagnetic induction and topographic mapping by Lidar or photogrammetry if desired.

Academic focus

The academic focus of this study line is the development and use of instrumentation, observation techniques, and computational modelling and inversion algorithms for investigating structures and processes in the Earth's interior.

The relevant geophysical methods will employ mainly magnetic and gravity as well as electromagnetic, Lidar, Multispectral measurements from satellites, aircraft or drone-based campaigns. Computational methods and techniques such as numerical modelling, inversion, and the analysis and treatment of temporal and spatial data series are included in the study line.

Possible specialisation

Within the study line 'Earth and Planetary Physics' it is possible through the choice of specialisation courses to further specialise primarily in one of the following areas:

  • Instrumentation (No specialisation courses, only project work!)
  • Data processing, e.g. within Inverse problems and Machine Learning
  • Physical and mathematical modelling, e.g. within Earth and Planetary Magnetism

It is also possible to choose a specialisation through the synthesis and/or master projects. 

Requirements for the study line

If you - in addition to the general requirements for the education - meet the following more strict requirements for the selection of courses, the title of the study line 'Earth and Planetary Physics' will be on the diploma in addition to the title of the general programme: 'Earth and Space Physics and Engineering'.

To obtain the MSc degree in Earth and Space Physics and Engineering with the study line in 'Earth and Planetary Physics', you must fulfil the following requirements:

The study lines have all the same requirements as the general curriculum regarding the Polytechnic Foundation and Programme-specific Core competences, including ”Innovation course II”. Each study line only varies from the general curriculum by the specific lists of programme-specific courses and Recommended Elective Courses.

Programme-specific courses in Measurement Technology

To meet the requirements for the programme-specific courses in Measurement Technology for the study line 'Earth and Planetary Physics' a student must achieve at least 15 ECTS from the following list of courses:

02610 Optimization and Data Fitting 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
30554 Global Navigation Satellite Systems 5 point Spring F2B (Thurs 8-12)
30710 Near-surface Crustal Gravity and Magnetism: Drone, Air- and Ground-based measurements 5 point June
30760 Inverse Problems and Machine Learning in Earth and Space Physics 5 point Spring F1B (Thurs 13-17)

Programme-specific courses in Physical Large Scale Structures and Processes

To meet the requirements for the programme-specific courses in Physical Large Scale Structures and Processes for the study line 'Earth and Planetary Physics', a student must choose courses corresponding to at least 15 ECTS from the following list:

30552 Satellite Geodesy 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
30561 Physical Geodesy 5 point Autumn E1B (Thurs 13-17)
30745 Earth and Planetary Magnetism 5 point Spring F3A (Tues 8-12)
30752 Cryosphere physics and observation 5 point Autumn E5B (Wed 13-17)

Programme-specific courses beyond 30 ECTS will count as elective courses.

Recommended Elective Courses

Any course classified as MSc course in DTU's course base may be taken for credit as an elective course. This includes programme-specific courses in excess of the minimal requirements. Master students may choose as much as 10 credit points among the bachelor courses at DTU and courses at an equivalent level from other higher institutions.

We recommend that you use some of your ECTS points for elective courses on either more of the above-mentioned programme-specific courses or some of the courses mentioned in the list below, as these courses are particularly relevant to the study line:

02409 Multivariate Statistics 5 point Autumn E1A (Mon 8-12)
02417 Time Series Analysis 5 point Spring F4B (Fri 8-12)
02450 Introduction to Machine Learning and Data Mining 5 point Spring F4A (Tues 13-17), Autumn E4A (Tues 13-17)
02456 Deep learning 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
02686 Scientific computing for differential equations 5 point Spring F1B (Thurs 13-17)
02687 Scientific Computing for ordinary and partial differential equations 5 point Spring F1A (Mon 8-12)
10314 Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 5 point Spring F5B (Wed 13-17)
10346 Advanced Continuum Physics 5 point Spring F2A (Mon 13-17)
30310 Space Systems Engineering 5 point Spring F5A (Wed 8-12)
30350 Remote Sensing 10 point Autumn E4 (Tues 13-17, Fri 8-12)
30428 Advanced electromagnetics 5 point Spring F4A (Tues 13-17)
30540 Mapping from Aerial and Satellite Images 5 point Autumn E5A (Wed 8-12)
30545 Analysis of spatial and temporal data within geoscience 5 point January
30757 Atmospheric plasmas 5 point Spring F2A (Mon 13-17)
34757 Unmanned autonomous systems 5 point August
41111 Hydrodynamics 2 5 point Autumn E3A (Tues 8-12)

You may be able to find other relevant elective online courses in the EuroTeQ Partner Universities' course catalogue

Topic of 30220 Synthesis Project and Master's Thesis

The topic for both course 30220 Synthesis in Earth and Space Physics and the Master's Thesis must be within the study line's focus area.


Head of Study line