Earth Observation - Study line

Learn how to monitor, understand and predict Earth’s environment, hydro- and cryosphere.

Study line: Earth Observation

Learn how to monitor, understand and predict Earth’s environment, hydro- and cryosphere.

The effects of global climate change have an ever-increasing impact across the planet, affecting both human societies and ecosystems. In addition, human activities are affecting the environment on local, regional, and global scale. Efficient climate and environmental monitoring, understanding and prediction is essential to provide a scientific basis for decision-makers dealing with climate and environment issues.

Students following the study line 'Earth Observation' will learn to develop and use instruments, observation techniques, and data processing methods to monitor and study the oceans, groundwater, landmasses, and ice from satellites and aircraft, as well as detection and classification of objects in such data using, e.g. advanced machine-learning methods.

Areas of study include ocean currents, water levels, the height of ice sheets, mapping of sea ice, crop types, vegetation, and soil moisture on land, as well as monitoring of objects such as ships, icebergs, and vehicles.

Graduates will be able to develop and use instruments and methods, which will help improve our ability to monitor Earth’s climate and environment as well as perform monitoring for security applications, e.g. for national and international civil authorities (e.g. the European Union), meteorological institutions, as well as engineering consultancy companies.

Academic focus

The academic focus of this study line is design, development and use of instrumentation, observation techniques, models, methods, systems, services, and decision-making support tools in the monitoring of marine and water resources, climate, land, atmosphere, environment and cryosphere, i.e. sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets as well as monitoring of objects of relevance for security applications.

Observation techniques include multispectral satellite images, radar and microwave radiometer data, and gravimetric and electromagnetic measurements. Also, methods and techniques such as numerical modelling, inversion, data assimilation, analysis, and processing of temporal and spatial datasets, and geographic information systems (GIS) are included as part of the specialisation.

Possible specialisation

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

  •  Instrumentation
  •  Data processing
  •  Physical and mathematical modelling

It is also possible to choose a specialization 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 Observation' 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 Observation,' 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 Observation', a student must take the following course, which is mandatory for the study line:

30350 Remote Sensing 10 point Autumn E4 (Tues 13-17, Fri 8-12)

In addition, students must choose at least one course from the following list:

02456 Deep learning 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
02506 Advanced Image Analysis 5 point Spring F5B (Wed 13-17)
30340 Radar and Radiometer Systems 10 point Spring F3 (Tues 8-12, Fri 13-17)
30540 Mapping from Aerial and Satellite Images 5 point Autumn E5A (Wed 8-12)
30574 Earth observations for monitoring changes (EO4Change) 5 point June

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 Observation', a student must choose courses corresponding to at least 5 ECTS from the following list:

25302 Physical oceanography 5 point Autumn E5B (Wed 13-17)
30552 Satellite Geodesy 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 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)
30755 Climate change - physics and observations 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 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)
02471 Machine learning for signal processing 5 point Autumn E1B (Thurs 13-17)
12320 Hydrology 10 point Spring F2 (Mon 13-17, Thurs 8-12)
30510 GPS, GIS and Setting out 5 point June
30545 Analysis of spatial and temporal data within geoscience 5 point January
30760 Inverse Problems and Machine Learning in Earth and Space Physics 5 point Spring F1B (Thurs 13-17)

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. 

Examples of M.Sc. projects

  • Detection of ships and icebergs in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data
  • Convolutional neural networks for ice concentration retrieval from SAR data
  • Parameter retrieval from microwave radiometer satellite observations of polar oceans
  • Speckle reduction in SAR images
  • Mapping of objects in SAR images
  • Design and Implementation of a Microwave Radiometer for C-band
  • Modelling the present day and future climate of Antarctica
  • Satellite remote sensing for water management in agriculture


Head of Study line

John Peter Merryman Boncori

John Peter Merryman Boncori Head of Microwaves and Remote Sensing Phone: +45 45253755